March 18: Christopher Klein: “Strong Boy: The Life and Times of John L. Sullivan”

  • Tuesday, March 18: Lecture, 7 pm: Author Christopher Klein discusses his book “Strong Boy: The Life and Times of John L. Sullivan, America’s First Sports Hero”

Born in the South End, the “Boston Strong Boy” was the last of the bare-knuckle heavyweight champions, the biggest sporting icon of the 1880s and 1890s, and the first athlete to earn more than a million dollars. He had a big ego, big mouth, and bigger appetites. His womanizing, drunken escapades, and chronic police-blotter presence were godsends to a burgeoning newspaper industry. The larger-than-life boxer embodied the American Dream for late nineteenth-century Irish immigrants as he rose from Boston’s working class to become the most recognizable man in the nation and the friend of kings and presidents.