The Sweet Science is the world’s foremost online boxing publication. It rewards the best of the best as it appears on its website with the CJ Award, and it’s no small feat to win it – the most accomplished group of writers in the world is assembled at TheSweetScience.com.
British-based journalist and author Jonathan Rendall is one of the best in the business at chronicling his “up close and personal” experiences with the fight game. And his interaction with one of the sport’s past greats serves as material for the piece that has captured the first-ever CJ Award for excellence in boxing writing, instituted by the world’s foremost online boxing publication, The Sweet Science (http://www.thesweetscience.com).
Rendall’s winning story, “Jack ‘Kid’ Berg: This Is The Guy,” detailed his relationship with Berg, who held the world junior welterweight title from 1930-31. Among Berg’s accomplishments was a victory over Cuba’s legendary Kid Chocolate in 1930, which was, in Rendall’s words, “a huge, if forgotten, fight. He received a purse of $66,000, a massive payday at the time, and one that set him up for life.”
Rendall, a regular columnist for The Guardian, a daily newspaper in London, was the manager of former WBO featherweight champion Colin McMillan, an undertaking that provided inspiration for his book, “This Bloody Mary is The Last Thing I Own,” for which he won the prestigious Somerset Maugham Award.
The CJ Award is a monthly honor named for Charles Jay, Editor-in-Chief of The Sweet Science and an acclaimed boxing scribe whose “Operation Cleanup” books are regarded as the most hard-hitting look at boxing from the inside. It is the only award for boxing writers that is accompanied by money – the winner of each month’s prize receives $300, with two runners-up receiving $100 apiece. But money isn’t what it’s all about. “I think the recognition for standing out among the finest roster of boxing journalists ever put together means more to these writers than the cash,” says Jay.
The runners-up for February were British Columbia’s Patrick Kehoe for “Jermain Taylor’s Undeclared War,” which examined the middleweight contender’s ongoing campaign for champion Bernard Hopkins’ world title belt, and Washington, D.C.’s Aaron Tallent for “Bat Masterson: Boxing Columnist,” which recalled the Wild West legend’s career as a boxing writer of considerable renown.
“These are great examples of what we strive to offer,” Jay says. “Not just coverage of the newsmakers who populate boxing now, but also great retrospectives on the memorable personalities of yesteryear.”
Pat Putnam, legendary writer and longtime Sports Illustrated boxing correspondent, gets special mention from The Sweet Science’s editorial staff for a stirring introduction to one of his “Pat Putnam Classics,” a series of SI reprints. Putnam, in the prologue to a 1985 piece on the Marvin Hagler-Thomas Hearns, dealt with Hopkins’ middleweight title win over Howard Eastman:
“I like the way he fights to please himself, and not to cater to the bloodlust of the live audience,” Putnam wrote of Hopkins. “I like the way he deals out punishment in measured doses, while craftily measuring his opponent in the fashion of a coroner contemplating the current resident of the coldest of tables. I like the way he hoards his punches, expending them only when he is sure he will get full return for his efforts. I like the way he spends three or four rounds doing his homework and the remaining rounds acing the exam. I like the way he blends a dash of Willie Pep with a splash of Genghis Kahn with a full measure of patience, causing bored audiences to suddenly roar like lions.”
“Of course, Pat still has the right stuff,” says Jay. “His material just flows so easily. We’ve got the best batting order in the world, and in Pat Putnam we’ve got our Ted Williams.”
The Sweet Science sets the gold standard for boxing journalism. Updated on a daily basis, it includes hundreds of features, interviews, columns, predictions, odds, angles and more. Anyone interested in boxing will find a treasure trove at The Sweet Science, located at http://www.thesweetscience.com.