THERE will be no fond memoirs of them, nothing like Being Geniuses Together or That Summer in Paris, which celebrated Hemingway, Pound and Fitzgerald. Together, the heavyweights of the 1980s were a better subject for The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness than for The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Boxing.
Among them were fighters good enough to win National Golden Gloves titles, fighters precocious enough to be featured in Sports Illustrated while still teenagers, fighters witty enough to be hailed as the second coming of Muhammad Ali. That was in the beginning. Later they would become vagrants, murder victims, addicts, rapists, walking – no, shuffling – suicides, with that sad gait familiar to anyone who has spent time in a boxing gym.
In the early 1980s, before the go-go, glitzy, Day-Glo era took off like a space shuttle from the Kennedy Center, they were already being called The Lost Generation. Between 1978, when Ken Norton was retroactively named WBC titlist, and 1988, when Mike Tyson earned universal recognition by annihilating Michael Spinks, there were 15 different heavyweight title-holders.