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Nothing But Trouble By Herbie Hide

Release date: 15th February, 2009
Publisher: John Blake Publishing

List Price: £18.99
Our Price: £8.99
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Nothing But Trouble
Herbie Hide with Graham Maclean
John Blake Publishing price: £8.99, saving 50% on rrp

Boxer Herbie Hide hasn't always had to contend with criticism (he was, after all, an enormously successful fighter), although as his career progressed, he attracted a sustained barrage of it. By his own admission, he can occasionally be a man on a very short fuse, although after reading this well-paced biography, readers may feel he's mellowed considerably in recent years.

Almost seven years ago, I saw Hide fight Alexei Osokin, his first duel following a year-long lay-off in the wake of a defeat by Vitali Klitschko had cost him the WBO heavyweight crown. His approach could not have been more professional and he won by a TKO after three rounds after which he was warmly applauded.

I was reminded of this (the only occasion I've seen Hide fight live) when reading this book's introduction: "As long as I have been a professional fighter," he declares, "people have looked upon me as the bad boy of boxing - the pantomime villain whom the audience loves to hate." I didn't see much evidence of that in the Osokin fight, nor when he fought the colossal Riddick Bowe at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas 14 years ago.

Bowe weighed in at 17st 3lb to Hide's 15st 4lb and while Herbie had the better of the opening two rounds, not least because he was so much faster than the bigger man, his relatively poor conditioning meant he began running out of steam by the third. Between the third and the fight being stopped in the sixth, Hide was knocked down 7 times. What endeared him to the American crowd, however, was his willingness to keep getting back up and fighting on. They applauded too.

That fight, for which Hide pocketed $3.1 million, not surprisingly set him up for life and he remains based in Norfolk where he has lived for most of the time since he arrived there from Nigeria as a 10-year-old in 1980.

It was here, at the Glebe House boarding school, that young Herbie tried boxing for the first time, an experience which, he says, was completely different to the fisticuffs the stammering young man had had cause to familiarise himself with.

He is full of praise for his early guidance, from the trainers at Norwich Lads' Club, to people including Les King and Barry Hearn who recognised his enormous talent. Throughout, he strikes you as a decent guy who happened to be a professional boxer rather than some feral child who was plucked from the clutches of authority, a la Mike Tyson, and thrown into the ring.

Sure, there have been arrests and he has clearly moved in circles (in the States) where guns are the must-have accessory of choice, but if a biography's purpose is to paint a picture of the whole man, then this one succeeds.

Hide has succeeded in the world's toughest sport, one where wallflowers are unlikely to make much progress, but as he shows when expressing his deep sorrow following the death of his beloved younger brother from leukaemia, Herbie Hide is at heart a regular guy who deserves a break.

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