Though the climax of the book—the fight itself—lasts only a minute and 48 seconds, every page is a boxing lesson, if not in footwork and moves, then in the mental m�tier of the fight game.
Hemingway told George Plimpton, who wrote the introduction to this edition of The Professional, that for all its excellence he could not reread the book. Plimpton disagrees, and so do I. It has the sting of wintergreen and alum, the redolence of rubbing alcohol after a sharp workout with the sweat finally running free, the smooth bite of hot tea with lemon as a fighter cools out in the fetid locker room after 10 fast rounds. It's as dead honest as anything Papa ever wrote at his best.