This is the true story of a bantam boxer called Joe Grimm, his chaperoning older brother, and the time in which they lived. It is the 1920s, and boxing is the king of sports, with fighting clubs in nearly every city in America. Joe weighs 118 pounds and is flat-footed; nevertheless, he wins against boxers who are heavier than he is, he wins when he is booked as a last-minute replacement, and he wins against contenders who are headed to championship bouts. He is so gallant in the ring that the press calls him "Gentleman Joe." Between 1921 and 1928, he wins 61 out of 70 fights, with 24 knockouts in a row! He is never knocked out. But his awesome winning streak is interrupted when he and his brother are urgently called home by their immigrant parents. He leaves behind the arenas, with their cheering crowds and works as a butcher in his grocery shop bought with ring money for his family. Now the character traits that made him a boxing wonder make him a success in business.
Author Ion Grumeza dedicates a few chapters to the history of that era, and captures the excitement and hope of an era when anything was possible and anyone could become a hero—or a champion. Almost every American has a relative who boxed in the 1920s; now some of their ring stories come back to life. The Gentleman Boxer is an overdue tribute to these forgotten lighter-weight scrappers.