Young adult, Fiction

Point of View

The point of view is third person limited, reflecting the point of view of Alfred Brooks.


The tone in the book is serious, and it is sometimes dismal and graphic in description.




The book takes place in relatively modern times, perhaps within the decade of the 1970s, in New York City, primarily Harlem.


Donatelli's speech about being a contender; Donatelli's statement about not knowing whether or not a man has what it takes until he gets hurt; the flyers for the recreation center; Spoon's statement about Donatelli advising him to retire and go to school and their resulting close friendship

Major Conflict

Alfred's struggle to commit to something as difficult as boxing; Alfred's attempt to salvage a sense of self worth

Rising Action

Alfred attending the clubhouse and lapsing in his training


Alfred rejoining the gym and pursuing his training to his first fight

Falling Action

Alfred's last fight and retirement from the world of boxing