The days when top journalists had direct and frequent access to both fighters and managers is long gone. That kind of access gave the fighters and the game an accessibility. One might even say a personality.
Today we get much of our information through multiple sources, often secondhand or worse, most of it about the business, not the boxers. Very few are afforded and/or lend themselves to investigating their subject and/or their story with any degree of exclusivity. The result is a lot of information but little of which allows the personal insights into a fighter's character and thoughts....and feelings.
Mark Kram's Ghost of Manila is an example of a story based on tremendous access to both it's key subjects; Ali and Frazier. Ali considerably more. The book is arguably the most honest and revealing portrait of the man behind the myth.
It got me to thinking. Who would I want to sit down with today and what questions would I hope to elicit honest answers.
Certainly, Ray Leonard would be one. What was going through his mind watching tapes of the Hitman. Upon entering the ring and seeing the Murder Capital Detroit's number one assassin loosening the arsenal in his long arms.
Cotto would be another. What was he thinking after three rounds with Margarito.....still smiling and running toward him? In fact, what about Brian, his rotund pal who watched it unfold from Miguel's corner. What was going through his mind?
I could think of countless others. Questions and fighters to ask.
What about you?