The Big If: The Life and Death of Johnny Owen

The Big If: The Life and Death of Johnny Owen


By (author) Rick Broadbent

List price $26.37

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  • Publisher: MACMILLAN
  • Format: Hardback | 368 pages
  • Dimensions: 160mm x 239mm x 32mm | 585g
  • Publication date: 19 May 2006
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1405052988
  • ISBN 13: 9781405052986
  • Sales rank: 1,830,434

Product description

"The Big If" is the story of how two boxers grew up thousands of miles apart and came together for one apocalyptic night that would have seismic consequences for everyone who knew them. Johnny Owen (the Matchstick Man from Wales) and Lupe Pintor (El Indio from Mexico) met for less than sixty minutes on September 19, 1980. It was Owen's chance to become the world bantamweight champion, but the Matchstick Man was knocked out in the 12th round. He spent 46 days in a coma before he died. The parallel lives of Owen and Pintor form the heart of an incredible story. Johnny had a hard but loving childhood as he shared a three-bedroom council house in Merthyr Tydfil with his parents and seven siblings. Pintor was beaten by his father as a boy and ran away from home at the age of eight. For a while he lived on the mean streets of Mexico City, selling ice to pay for scraps of food. When older boys began to pick on him and steal his wares, he learnt to use his fists. Extensive interviews with the Owen and Pintor families have resulted in a moving, visceral book with enormous appeal beyond the boxing ring. Despite its running theme of loss, "The Big If" is ultimately an uplifting story of forgiveness and how the human spirit can overcome the most terrible troubles.

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Author information

Rick Broadbent is an award-winning sports journalist with The Times .