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Lauren Chouinard Sheds Light on Infamous Lightweight Boxer in New Book

saginaw-kid-book-coverSummary: Learn about the life of George Henry Lavigne, known as the “Saginaw Kid,” who was lightweight world champion from 1896 to 1899. This new book released by Dog Ear Publishing also features the early days of boxing when the Queensberry Rules – featuring gloved fists and timed rounds – began to transform boxing into a legitimate sport.

EUGENE, Ore. – The story of “Saginaw Kid” George Henry Lavigne is as much about the sport of boxing as it is about the colorful lightweight world champion. This new book details his birth in 1869 to his defeat of “Iron Man” Dick Burge of England for the world lightweight title in 1896 and everything in between. Just as Lavigne was making his professional debut in 1886, along came the Queensberry Rules, which brought new rules (boxers wore gloves and fought timed rounds), changing boxing from its rough-and-tumble roots to a legitimate – and legal – sport.

“Muscle and Mayhem: The Saginaw Kid and the Fistic World of the 1890s” provides an honest account of the sometimes-troubled Kid, including his dozen arrests, bouts with alcohol, trips to the insane asylum and his sudden death at age 58 of a heart attack. Kid had an impressive record as a professional fighter: 34 wins (21 by knockout), 10 no decisions, six losses (four by KO) one no contest, 11 draws and 21 exhibitions. Lavigne was inducted into the Ring Hall of Fame in 1959, the Michigan Boxing Hall of Fame in 1965, the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Saginaw County Sports Hall of Fame in 2002. Known for his toughness and indomitable will as a fighter, Kid fought some extraordinary matches against the best pugilists of the time. Dozens of photos as well as quotes from early correspondence and a glossary for words and phrases from the 1890s showcase Chouinard’s painstaking research into the life of this extraordinary boxing legend.

Life circumstances influenced author Lauren Chouinard’s love of sport. He grew up on Chicago’s south side, just a few blocks from the first home of Muhammad Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, and his mother is Kid Lavigne’s second cousin a few times removed. Chouinard, who worked in municipal government for 27 years, retiring as human resources director, belongs to the International Boxing Research Organization. The Illinois State University graduate opened Pacific Nautilus, a health and fitness club, in 1978 in Eugene and wrote “Get Off Your Butt,” a guide to getting in shape while overcoming excuses.

This is the story of the “Saginaw Kid,” lightweight world champion George Henry Lavigne, who held the top spot from 1896 to 1899. Raised in the bawdy lumber towns of Michigan, the “Kid” cut his fistic teeth fighting bare-knuckle matches against the best men of the camps. Just as Lavigne was making his professional debut in 1886, the Queensberry Rules, featuring gloved fists and timed rounds, were transforming boxing as it fought its way to legitimacy and legality.

The saga is a rollicking ride from the Kid’s birth in 1869 to his defeat of “Iron Man” Dick Burge of England for the world lightweight title in 1896. The story pulls no punches, following Lavigne’s booze-fueled decline, a dozen arrests, a foray to Paris to conduct a boxing school, trips to the insane asylum and ultimately his death at age 58 in 1928 in Detroit.

Meticulously researched and featuring dozens of photos and quotes from original correspondence, the book deftly mixes genealogy, history, culture, and sport, showcasing boxing’s early beginnings and providing an entertaining account of the life of “Kid” Lavigne, one of the era’s most popular and accomplished pugilists. Lauren Chouinard’s passion for the subject shines through clearly.

– Kelly Nicholson, author of Hitters, Dancers, and Ring Magicians

“An unearthing of the Lavigne saga that is worthy of its magnificent subject: With the love and energy of an archeologist, Chouinard has reached down into the distant past to tell the story of one of the greatest lightweights who ever lived.”

– Mike Silver, author of The Arc of Boxing: The Rise and Decline of the Sweet Science

“The great turn of the century lightweight champion George Kid Lavigne (aka The Saginaw Kid) has finally gotten the biography he deserves. This comprehensive and impeccably researched book brings to life the incredible saga of one of the toughest fighters who ever lived. The author has done a masterful job in recreating Lavigne’s triumphs and tragedies and the fascinating era in which he fought. Muscle and Mayhem: The Saginaw Kid and the Fistic World of the 1890s belongs on every boxing fan’s bookshelf.”

– Tracy Callis, author of A Brief History of the Heavyweights 1881-2010

“George ‘Kid’ Lavigne was an extraordinary fighter of the past and Lauren Chouinard captures his greatness in this well-researched, well-written, and comprehensive biography of one of the best lightweights ever.”

To order the book and for additional information, please visit http://www.kidlavigne.com/

Muscle and Mayhem: The Saginaw Kid and the Fistic World of the 1890s
Lauren Chouinard
Dog Ear Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-4575-1840-9
436 pages
$29.95 US

Also available at Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble,  Borders and fine bookstores everywhere.