Champion: Miles Cobbett
Sometimes the goals that we set for ourselves often surpass what others feel that we are capable of accomplishing. Deciding to answer an ad for a job as a gardener’s helper little did Roman Losinski realize that his life was about to change forever. The job paid 10 dollars an hour before taxes and with Sunday’s off and only thirty minutes for lunch at least he had a job. But, living quarters would be subtracted from his first paycheck and finding his rhythm within the first day of the job Roman was enjoying what he was doing. But, getting the hose, which was housed near the action of the boxing ring, would change it all that day for Roman. Looks can be deceiving and many times people judge a person by their outer appearance and forming their own selected opinions of who and what they are. All too often their perceptions are wrong as the Pro Boxers see him as he drinks water but why do they stare at him and what makes his appearance so remarkable? At 6 feet eight inches tall he is a striking figure and weighing over 270 he looks quite formidable. Working in Alaska his home stake in construction, as a laborer and great worker, what happens next as the pros begin to show their mettle, you might say will change it all. So, why does the flight camp manager decide to approach Roman as a sparring partner for the pros?
Agreeing because the money was too good to pass up, Roman takes center ring with Luis Raul Guzman and teaches the pro a lesson he will never forget. Taunts, stares and jabs both physical and verbal fill the ring as Roman takes him down. Next he is offered 200 dollars by a pro to take him on. Frank L. Jackson will pay him that much money to knock him out. But, can he? Stalking him around the ring, the result remarkable and the outcome surprising to everyone watching as Doc. Johnny DeAngelo pays him the money and discusses training Roman as the next Champion. Always wanting to become a Contender and wearing that special robe, Roman cannot pass up the opportunity as author Miles Cobbett takes readers inside the world of boxing, the training sessions, the mountains that have to be climbed, exercises that he will endure and the fights that victories along the way.
Roman joined the members of his team at the training camp to begin what would be a rigorous start to a career that he hoped would take him to the top. But, first he needed medical attention for his hand that was injured while sparring and then as he looked at the scenery it reminded him of Fairbanks, Alaska his hometown while remembering the past, his wife and how at times she would appear to him guiding him in the right direction. Added to the team along with the Doctor was a middleweight named Gibby and a lightweight named Serby. Together they formed a team so formidable and so skilled that how could he possibly lose. Bike riding, mountain climbing, racing, running in the sand and tailoring the training to his style, Roman learned the many nuances of boxing and fell into a regular rhythm. Learning more about Doc, deciding whether to put his trust in his team was not difficult for Roman. Sharing his time with his wife, the reason for her death brought back memories that would never die.
The author’s research and account of how Roman would train was extensive. From roadwork, cycling, slow distance run, calisthenics or ring workout he never complained and soared in every way. For those young adults or even those older that have aspirations of becoming a boxer this book is a great resource. Food that was expertly and freshly prepared and Gibby explaining how bullies entered his life and how he overcame that obstacle provides readers YA’s and younger with a true understanding of how to combat being bullied.
A trip to the mountains, climbing huge boulders and reaching the summit he felt Antoinette’s presence. Imagine being able to feel the presence of someone you loved and lost guiding you in the present. His goal was to become a contender for the heavyweight championship of the world. But, just how far would he go and how much would he sacrifice to get there?
Entering the ring for his first fight his opponent tried to use some type of verbal abuse and name calling to get at Roman’s self-esteem. But, Roman stood tall, did not waver and used the skills and strategies taught to win the fight but not before taking and receiving some hard punches, feeling like he might not make it and then something within him made him realize that he could succeed. His roots and his memory of working in construction in Alaska set him apart from the other fighter and the end result was victory. But, before the ink was dry on the check and the money received another fight was being planned and more strategies to come. In every field you need something to keep you going and Serby handed him several sayings that can apply to any job and anyone going for any type of career in any field. Pages 62-63 has them all but the one I like the most is: Boxers or anyone: Are ordinary people with Extraordinary Determination and that describes Roman to a T.
The cover of the book has two boxing gloves that are quite different. One faces the reader with the laces in sight and the other just the back. Both are red and fiery in color with a wood background. These gloves are quite powerful in and of themselves as they stand for the strength and fortitude needed to succeed. It is a warm color and is often linked with most of our physical needs and will to survive. Red exudes a powerful masculine energy and exudes strength. Red means energy and some look at red as the color of fire and blood. The red stands as a symbol on the cover of Roman’s determination, strength and drive to become that Contender.
As you read the many chapters that incorporate the various fights you will understand the goals, strategies, strengths and weaknesses of each boxer and what it took for Roman to win. Imagine a fight at the MGM Grand Hotel in Vegas. Imagine the preparation necessary and the training. Each opponent was different. Each set of films as they watched and gauged how he would have to train in order to win allows readers to understand that this sport was dangerous, you needed to be really committed and the training had to be taken seriously.
The final fight would be different and the opponent thinking he had an easy wins. Chapter 12 titled: You’ve always been a champion says it all! The opponents enter the ring and the fight begins and words fly while the crowd sides with the opposition. But what happens in round three changes it all and the final outcome of the fight, the respect he earns and the verdict will surprise readers as the author provides a twist and curve punch you won’t expect. An ending that will bring tears to your eyes. A fight you will never forget and a Contender that will make the state of Alaska proud.
Fran Lewis: reviewer