Joyce Carol Oates explores the world of professional boxing, examining the subject from many angles: boxing as metaphor, spectacle and history, boxing as seen in literature and film and by women. The author chronicles many famous figures such as Jack Dempsey, Barry McGuigan, Joe Louis and others. Oates writes of "stiffs and bums" who make a living out of losing and the big-earning champs like Ali who made $70 million with his fists. She explores boxing's links with racism and the violent streets - long the recruiting ground for generations of professional pugilists. Joyce Carol Oates is also author of the novel "Marya: A Life", "A Garden of Earthly Delights" and "Them", winner of the 1970 National Book Award.