Hard Leather: A History of Cuban Professional Boxing

by Enrique Encinosa

from the book:

hard-leather-by-enrique-encinosaEnrique Encinosa gets it. When Kaiser Bill decided to build a German High Seas Fleet that would challenge the naval supremacy of his cousin, the King of England, events were put into play that would give Jack Johnson his title shot against Tommy Burns. Enrique would run with that all the way Down Under. He knows, feels – has experienced – that boxing doesn’t float like a balloon outside of the social milieu. From the time as a kid when he dove into the deep waters of boxio, Enrique got it.

Like Liebling’s shoulder attached to the arm down to the fist – his first instructor had seen the business end of Kid Chocolate – Enrique drank the kool-aid of boxing’s lineality. And what a sugar sweet kool-aid it is. Seven years after winning the title, an aging, dissipated Johnson defended his crown in Havana. Encinosa puts in the body blows, (capped in the penultimate round with Willard’s straight right to the heart – the end was near for Johnson) in this all-important, boxing-in-Cuba, showcase.

Pierce Egan, in his sketches, biographies and ringside reports, showed the way. Encinosa adds his Caribbean links to Egan’s English chain, from the father of Cuban boxing, Juan Budinich Taborga, through the Kids Chocolate and Gavilan, and beyond. Like Egan, Encinosa is generous with prizefighters up and down the line. Julian Echevarria is taken from his first fight in a San Sebastian arena, age 14, to Havana, and his destiny with Kid Chocolate. The Golden Age of English boxing is Egan’s Regency Period; Encinosa’s is Cuba in the 1950s. Castro’s revolution would end prizefighting in the island, and subsequently shower South Florida in a tropical storm of exiled talent.

The death of Paret, Pupi Garcia, the heavyweight Nino Valdez, Luis Sarria’s magical hands, Sugar Ramos, Luis Rodriquez, Mantequilla Napoles, Florentino ‘the Ox’ Fernandez, the guileless Frankie Otero, and more, mucho mas. Nothing in Cuban boxing has Enrique Encinosa overlooked. Whatever he hasn’t directly experienced he has grabbed, shaken and mastered in  Hard Leather.

A movable feast.

DS Cogswell


The Chapters:

In the Beginning

The Father of Cuban Boxing

Title Fight in Havana

The First National Heroes

The Legendary Black Bill

The Chocolate Kid

The Legend of the Cuban Baron

The Twenties and Thirties:

The Middleweights

The Welterweights

The Lightweights

Smaller Guns

Fighters From Other Lands

The Life and Times of an Old Warrior

Gavilan, the Sparrow Hawk

The 1940-1950 Decades:

The Middleweights and Welterweights

Lightweights and Featherweights

The Flyweights

Fighters from Other Lands

The Great Heavyweight

The End of an Era

Angel Robinson

Death in the Ring

Pupi Was Special

Luis Sarria

A Champion’s Funeral

Bantam Johnny Sarduy

Sugar Ramos

The Pocket Ali

Smooth As Butter

The Ox

Jose Stable

The Cuban Bomber

The Boatlift Fighters

Elvis Yero

A Great Promoter

The Build Up

The Talented Hurtabo

The Black Panther

Team Freedom

The Great Escape

Lara and Rigondeaux

Statistics and Data on Cuban Boxing

World Title Fights in Cuba (and more)

Enrique Encinosa’s book on the history of Cuban boxing from the 1880’s to present times can now be purchased in either digital or printed version through the internet at Amazon and similar sites.

Product Details

  • File Size:24273 KB
  • Print Length:260 pages
  • Publisher:EDITORIAL PRINTED FINE ARTS (September 23, 2016)
  • Publication Date:September 23, 2016
  • Sold by:Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language:English