“The Professional” by W.C. Heinz is the story of Eddie Brown, a boxer gearing up for the middle weight championship of the world. “The Professional” was published in 1958, and the book goes into heavy detail about the circus atmosphere around boxing during its heyday.
“The Professional” is a story about boxing, yet don’t go in expecting multiple boxing matches. The book focuses more on the training of a boxer and the skills which come with it. The Professional truly is W.C. Heinz’s love letter to boxing as it transitioned into the television age. The book is a character study on Eddie Brown, but along the way you meet tons of fully-fleshed out secondary characters. One of these characters is Doc Carroll, Eddie Brown’s Manager and Trainer, who despises the media and hates what the television age has brought to boxing.
W.C. Heinz writes in the New Journalism style and his dialog is perfect. If you’re a fan of Hemingway or Tom Wolfe you’re sure to be a fan of Heinz’s writing style too. Even if your not a boxing fan, you should read this book. “The Professional” truly is a great character study on one of the most interesting characters I’ve come across.
If you purchase the version with Elmore Leonard’s foreword read it after you finish “The Professional”, he gives away the ending.