The Fearless Harry Greb: Biography of a Tragic Hero of Boxing

The Fearless Harry Greb: Biography of a Tragic Hero of Boxing

by Bill Paxton


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The Fearless Harry Greb: Biography of a Tragic Hero of Boxing by Bill Paxton

The legendary Harry Greb stepped into the ring more than 300 times from 1913 to 1926, defeated opponents who outweighed him by more than 30 pounds, held the middleweight and light heavyweight titles and beat every Hall of Fame boxer he ever fought. Dubbed “the Pittsburgh Windmill” because of his manic, freewheeling style in the ring, Greb also crossed racial lines, taking on all comers regardless of color. An injury in the ring led to Greb’s gradually going blind in one eye and should have ended his career, but he kept his condition secret and fought on. Tragically, the indomitable fighter would be dead by the age of 32, felled by complications during minor surgery.
This biography of one of the toughest boxers of all time includes interviews, family recollections, modern doctors’ analyses of Greb’s eye injury and more than 120 rare photographs, as well as a complete fight record and round-by-round descriptions of his most famous fights.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786440160
Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date: 01/12/2009
Pages: 260
Sales rank: 351,693
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 9.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Bill Paxton is a toy and game inventor in Chicago. He operates the Harry Greb Web site at

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi

Preface 1

1. From a Street Corner to a Ring Corner 5

2. The Early Road of Trials 16

3. Icky’s Busy Year 32

4. In the Navy 45

5. First Year of Marriage and the #45 60

6. Jack Dempsey and the Heavyweights 74

7. A Time for Change 89

8. A City Celebrates 105

9. All Good Things 116

10. Achieving the Goal—The Middleweight Championship 131

11. Defending the Title 144

12. The Tunney Rematches 159

13. The Champion Playboy 171

14. The Bulldog Meets the Windmill 179

15. The Best of His Time 189

16. The Tragic Hero 200

17. The Myths Grow While the Legend Fades 216

Appendix A: Greb’s Complete Fight Record 227

Appendix B: 1923 Middleweight Championship Body Measurements 235

Chapter Notes 237

Bibliography 247

Index 249

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The Fearless Harry Greb: Biography of a Tragic Hero of Boxing 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sbboxingfan1 More than 1 year ago
Harry Greb fought nearly 300 times from 1913-1926, was world Middleweight champion, and beat every hall of famer he ever faced. Dispite being only 5 ft 8 in and never weighing more than 168 lbs he fought most of the top heavyweights of the day and beat them all including Gene Tunney, even the legendary Jack Dempsey was said to fear Greb, after Greb battered him in sparring. What makes all of this even more remarkable is that Greb was blind in one eye since a 1921 fight with Kid Norfolk, so therefore fought all of his championship fights, including the Tunney fights, with one eye. Bill Paxtons book may well be the last book ever written on Greb because it is hard to see anyone doing a better job than Paxton. Up untill now a lot that has been written about Greb has been more rumour and myths than fact, even in Grebs lifetime. Most other boxing historians have portrayed Greb as a heavy drinking, heavy partying womaniser who never trained for a fight and was the dirtiest fighter who ever lived, some even say his name wasnt even Greb! Paxton has dispelled those myths with newspaper quotes and quotes from Grebs family and friends, Paxton shows Greb as a kind, decent man who was faithfull to his wife and only started "sowing his oats" after her death. Also Paxton says Greb seldom drank anything stronger than ginger ale and trained dilligently for every fight, Greb however helped create these two myths, he often pretended to be a drunk to get opponents to face him and also to lengthen betting odds against himself. As for his dirty fighting, Paxtons states Greb only started fighting dirty after the loss of his right eye, and even then he was no rougher than many other fighters of that era, this is supported by quotes from Greb opponents and sportswriters of the day. All in all this book is an exellent read, well reserched and very interesting, I would thouroughly recommend it to all Greb fans and all boxing fans in general. For all his unbelivable achevements Greb was boxings forgotten man, hopefully Paxtons book will right that.