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"A wonderful book. . . . Cut Time is aimed at everyone, even readers who can't imagine that they could ever learn anything from men slugging it out in a ring. They can."
— Gordon Marino
"Rotella sets out to accomplish something refreshingly simple, accessible and deliciously raw. He glides with language and delivers his words with what boxers call 'quick hands.' Reading his words is a pleasure, but absorbing their underlying force, and the dark things they sometimes suggest, can be bruising . . . Rotella shows that he's not just an excellent reporter, keen writer and an acute observer, he's a hell of a teacher to boot."
— Mark Luce
Posted December 6, 2014
In all honesty, I picked this book up because I have always been a fan of sports, and I know that lots of people around the world love the sport of boxing, but it has never been something that I could really get into. I was expecting a book that would convert me to the religion of boxing.
Then, after the introduction, I became convinced that it was going to be a book about life, using boxing as only a metaphor. Rotella lays out the groundwork for his book in this way: “The book begins with introductory courses in the first three chapters, which feature initiations into the fights and trace the traffic between formal schooling and a fistic education…The middle three chapters, advanced electives, extend the line of inquiry deeper into the fight world and the careers of seasoned campaigners, who, just as much as spectators, struggle to make hitting mean something. The last three chapters, senior seminars, arrive at limits imposed by age, frailty, and the stubborn meaninglessness of hitting.” Perhaps this was Rotella’s intent, to have a full college course in boxing in relation to the human experience, but what I read was more like a series of observations about boxing itself that neither converted me to boxing nor taught me a great deal about life, but that were extremely interesting.
Rotella’s writing is smart and engaging. The point of the story is explained while the anecdotes themselves are also being explained so the whole narrative flows smoothly. There is never a dull moment in the book. A few of the lessons that I came away with: force precedes meaning. There comes a time (cut time) where you have to know how to deal with the pain, and it can lead to either winning or losing, but you have to know what to do in that moment. Switching tactics is a high risk, high reward move.
All in all, it was a very enjoyable read, and I would definitely consider reading another book by Rotella.