The heavyweight championship of the world was a title bequeathed to legends like John L. Sullivan, Joe Louis and Muhammad Ali. But times have changed. When championship boxing once seemed a noble pursuit, it is today one of sport’s most cynical realms. Since the demise of Ali, there have been dozens of men who have laid claim to the tainted heavyweight crown but few have enjoyed happy endings to their stories. Most fight on to this day, offering their bodies up for sale in the canvas ringed meat market. Some have fallen victim to crack cocaine, alcohol, poverty, liver disorders and even AIDS.
Tracing the life cycle of a heavyweight boxer, Tarnished Armour describes the brutal world of the prospect, the contender, the champion and the ex-champion – and in doing so gives us a revealing insight into boxing’s winners and losers.