Book Reviews

Sal Marino writes for Warren Ohio's The Review newspapers.
Read the entire Feb. 9, 2009 article HERE

Dear Mr. Rosenfeld,

I recently completed your work ... and I thank and commend you on your efforts. I am not sure I have read such a thorough and well researched study of boxing. This book is not only about Burley but also about Fritz Zivic, Billy Soose, etc. I will recommend this book to friends and colleagues. In fact, I will send your book to one of the local boxing writers.

Dr. Joseph McNelis MD
Sound Shore Medical Center
Westchester, NY

Read the full letter HERE

Charley Burley, The Life and Hard Times of an Uncrowned Champion, is author Allen S. Rosenfeld’s opus. That his blood, sweat and tears went into this book is obvious from the onset. What sets this book apart from most books is his inclusion of historic articles from the various sports writers and newspapers across the country, as opposed to an occasional quote. No stone was left unturned in the telling of Charley Burley’s story. It is a biography, but it is so much more than that. It is more akin to a documentary. This book could also be used as a textbook for a course on boxing history at any level. I recommend this book to anyone that loves boxing, it’s history and it’s rich collection of characters, and to any one that enjoys a good read. Rosenfeld’s heartfelt book brings them back into our consciousness.

Read Randy De La O's full blog post HERE

Perhaps starting with Allen Rosenfeld’s “Charley Burley” and continuing to Jack Cavanaugh’s “Tunney,” fight fans have begun to be treated to the life stories of fighters erased by larger than life fighters like Sugar Ray Robinson and Jack Dempsey, respectively. These books are important not just because they are about boxers deserving of attention. They are also important because they give voice not only to a fighter but to a whole social milieu that would be forgotten without these books.

Read more of Brett Conway's article at

By Lyle Fitzsimmons
Boxing Contributing Editor
from Aug. 2007

click the graphic to read the entire article.
Exhaustive research for one man will now mean extensive pool-side reading for me.

Allen Rosenfeld, a long-time fixture on the Michigan boxing scene with a resume that includes coaching during a stint in the Army in the 1950s and later work with both Boxing Illustrated and The Ring magazines, was kind enough to send me a copy of his recent full-length project, entitled "Charley Burley: The Life and Hard Times of an Uncrowned Champion."

The 680-page gem goes the distance and beyond on Burley, a Pittsburgh native who packed 98 professional bouts into a 12-year career that stretched from 1938 to 1950.

The book's reviewers read like a who's who of the sport's biggest names.

"In addition to thorough coverage of Burley's career, (Rosenfeld) gives you a panoramic view of the exciting middleweight picture of the late '30s and '40s," said Angelo Dundee, legendary trainer of Muhammad Ali and Ray Leonard, among many others. "I have read lots of boxing books, but this one was hard to put down."

Emanuel Steward, who rose to prominence with the emergence of Detroit slugger Thomas Hearns in the early 1980s, said, "Charley Burley and his peers were among the greatest fighters of all time. Rosenfeld's research is extraordinary. And the writing is beautiful. In my 52 years in boxing, this is one of the most unforgettable books I have ever read."

And lastly, noted historian Hank Kaplan chips in with, "Burley's boxing adventure has all the ingredients of an emotional drama. Rosenfeld's book is a dream come true. It is doubtful if a boxing career was ever treated in such depth."

Gentlemen, start your sun block.

  Can you conceive of someone with a profound knowledge of boxing writing and publishing a book of 658 pages about a boxer virtually unknown, who never became champion or had a chance at a title ?

  This rarity was accomplished by the North American author Allen S. Rosenfeld, living in Michigan, who visited Miami recently.  The author wrote in English about a middleweight named Charley Burley, who for many of us was "very well known in his own home".  Nonetheless, with dedication, study, and clarity of prose, Rosenfeld reveals the trajectory of an extraordinary fighter of the era of Joe Lewis, Jack Dempsey, and Jackie Robinson.  "I believe that it was an injustice that this impressive boxer was marginalized after so many demonstrations of class in the ring, where he was almost unbeaten" said Rosenfeld.  "He was the symbol of a champion without a crown".

  Burley, according to Rosenfeld's book, had everything needed for victory and fame.  His right was a killer weapon.  They say that even Robinson avoided a number of offers to fight him.  "He lived and died an unknown" said Rosenfeld.  "My book is intended to unearth a victim of social injustice in the 1930's and 1940's".

Luis Perez Lopez
May 2006
Diario las Americas
Miami based Spanish newspaper and website

Thank you to Barry Rosenfeld for the Spanish to English translation
Luis Perez Lopez covers Baseball and Boxing for Diario las Americas and ESPN Latin America

August 13, 2005

Hello Allen,

I have just read your book on Charley Burley. It is absolutely excellent. So informative, I enjoyed every page.
I didn't want to put it down. You have done a wonderful service to the memory of Charley. He will be looking down and smiling ...

The reason I asked Lindy (Lindell) to put me in touch with you firstly was to congratulate you on your excellent book and to thank you for reminding me of fighters like Holman Williams, Lytell, Chase, Marshall, etc. as well.


Brian Hughes

Honored by the Queen of England for his work with British youth
Trainer of former WBO light heavyweight champion Robin Reed
Author of six books on the sport of Boxing.

   Author Allen S. Rosenfeld should be commended for his wonderful epic biography on boxing great Charley Burley.  Through 658 pages, including interesting footnotes, Rosenfeld places his readers in a time machine and takes them back into the smoky boxing clubs of the 1930's and 1940's.  Rosenfeld is meticulous in his detail and coverage of not just Burley's fights, but also many other fighters of the era, such as Billy Conn, Fritzie Zivic, Holman Williams, Lloyd Marshall, the Cocoa Kid, and many more.

   If one had no idea of Burley, or in that case Zivic, Williams and the like, Rosenfeld's breezy and informative writing style brings the sadly forgotten fighters of a bygone era back to life.

   The Author makes a good case for Burley as being a fistic great robbed of a title shot in an era of only a handful of champions who mostly fought non-title affairs instead of defending their laurels on a regular basis.  It is a tragedy that befell many pugilists of the day.  I loved reading this book and still find myself picking it up and reading random pages for enjoyment.

John Rinaldi
Publisher and Co-Editor
The USA Boxing News

I greatly enjoyed your wonderful book.  Plus the way you interwove the stories of Eddie Booker, Holman Williams, Bert Lytell, etc.
I was particularly impressed by fact that you did not shortchange the great white boxers of the 30's who provided much competition for the black fighters; such as Yarosz, Overlin, Leto, Abrams, etc., who were tremendous, and that history has grossly underrated.
A great book!
Chuck Hasson
Boxing Historian, IBRO

Although Rosenfeld's book is on Burley, in reality he is nothing more than the central character in the author's account of the great black fighters who graced the ring in the 30's and 40's.  Everything written is quality stuff. This coming from a man who actually got to see the men he writes about fight.  There is an incredible amount of information in the book. It is apparent that the author loves boxing to have put together such an effort. The research was phenomenal.

Jack Hirsch
Contributing Reporter

The above review was taken from the March 2005
edition of newspaper.
As of this posting, none of Jack's articles have
been posted on their web site.

Dear Allen:

To the writer of the great Charley Burley biography.

For all the pleasurable moments reading that gem, my last wish Al -- that you have a cult following.

Best wishes,

Mike Silver
Boxing historian,
Curator of the exhibit "Sting Like a Maccabbe: The Golden Age of the American Jewish Boxer",
National Museum of American Jewish History, Philadelphia, PA, 20005

In an excellent new book about Burley, his career and life are spelled out beautifully by Allen Rosenfeld in an extraordinarily detailed 600 page tome entitled: "Charley Burley: The Life and Hard Times of an Uncrowned Champion".
Rosenfeld brilliantly sifts through the labyrinth of complexity surrounding Burley, and draws a perfect retrospective of both Burley and the era in which he fought. As other dedicated journalists and boxing historians have pointed out in fragments over the years, Rosenfeld did a great job showing us how Pittsburgh counterparts Billy Conn, Fritzie Zivic, and even college-educated middleweight, Billy Soose, often overshadowed Burley in a variety of ways.

Greg Smith

Read more at:

The best boxing book on the market today is Allen S. Rosenfeld's "Charley Burley ". It is not just a book about Burley. It is a history of boxing during that time. The greats of that era. The plight of the Negro boxers during that time.
In Allen S. Rosenfeld's literary masterpiece on Charley Burley, these issues and many others are brought to light. Burley is the main focus of this book but Rosenfeld has included many supporting characters to make this as much a boxing history book as it is a biography of Burley.
You almost find yourself reliving the Pittsburgh area boxing scene of that era. The rich history of a great fight town where Harry Greb, Fritzie Zivic, Billy Conn, as well as Burley.
Rosenfeld takes you almost fight by fight through Burley's amazing career. The joy of his victories and the sadness of his setbacks. You feel Burley's frustration of missing out on his elusive dream.
Put the word out ... this is a must read for any true boxing fan. You will be much more knowledgeable about the sport after you have finished reading it.

Jim Amato
Columnist Inside Boxing

"Rosenfeld spent five years scrolling through microfilmed newspapers, old magazines and books, watching videos, and listening to audio tapes to put together this burley bio of this Pittsburgh boxer who, most experts agree, was one of the top middleweights of his, or any era. The accuracy of this assessment is amply demonstrated throughout Mr. Rosenfeld's chronological, fight-by-fight look at Burley's career ... presenting verbatim so many contemporary sportswriters' lengthy previews, reports, and post-mortems on each Burley encounter. Reading them is enlightening and half the fun. So is following Mr. Rosenfeld down the various side roads, cul-de-sacs, detours, and sudden flights of fancy he takes to address the careers of other forgotten great 1940's ringmen such as Cocoa Kid, Eddie Booker, Holman Williams, Lloyd Marshal, Doc Williams, and Bert Lytell."

Pete Ehrmann
The Ring

June 2004 issue

"... one of the best boxing biographies I've read in many years ... Allen has done a remarkable job of researching the career of Burley.  It's obvious that he did his homework.  The book is so good, I couldn't put it down and read it in one sitting."

James "J. J." Johnston
Int. Boxing Research Org.
issue 81 March 23, 2004

"Rosenfeld uses historians' tools to create a realistic view of life in between the ropes. Largely consisting of eye witness accounts from trained boxing writers, the book is a painstaking attempt at creating a clear picture of what Burley and his contemporaries looked like in action and how they practiced their art. From the punching bag to the weight room to the ring, this book gives a complete picture of the early days of boxing and one of its fallen stars."

Boxing Digest
March 2004 issue

"In addition to thorough coverage of Burley's career, author Allen Rosenfeld gives you a panoramic view of the exciting middleweight picture of the late 30's and 40's. I have read lots of boxing books... but this one was hard to put down."

Angelo Dundee

"Burley's boxing adventure... has all the ingredients of an emotional drama... Rosenfeld's book is a researcher's dream come true. It is doubtful if a boxing career was ever treated in such depth..."

Hank Kaplan
boxing historian

"Charley Burley and his peers were among the greatest fighters of all time... Rosenfeld's research is extraordinary. And the writing is beautiful. In my 52 years in boxing, this is one of the most unforgettable books I have ever read."

Emanuel Steward

"It is a comprehensive account of an unforgettable time and an unforgettable fighter named Charley burley.  It Is literally an Encyclopedia Britannica on the subject of boxing."

Arthur Mercante
legendary boxing referee

"His picture of the sports scene in Pittsburgh is a real joy to read."

Marshall Goldberg
Univ. of Pittsburgh All-American halfback

"...thoroughly researched and beautifully written."

Tim Conn
son of Billy Conn

"... sheds a new light on racism in the industry (of boxing)..."

Prof. Mel Small
historian, Wayne State Univ.

"We in boxing all owe a debt of gratitude to Allen Rosenfeld..."

Don Chargin
legendary promoter, L.A.

"It is the most important book on boxing to be published since Peter Heller's 'In This Corner' in 1973. Mr. Rosenfeld did what Nat Fleischer did with the 'Black Dynamite' series. He put the spotlight on this 'Jim Crow' part in boxing history ... This book will be the most enlightened source of information on the 30's and 40's in boxing history."

J. J. Johnston
boxing historian

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