Standing Eight

At age 33, Austinite Jesus “El Matador” Chavez is the champ: He currently holds the International Boxing Federation’s lightweight title. But his career has been anything but charmed. In STANDING EIGHT , journalist ADAM PITLUK tracks Chavez (born Gabriel Sandoval in Hidalgo del Parral, Mexico) through a life of misadventure: an illegal border crossing at age 7, a prison stretch for armed robbery, and deportation as an illegal alien. Still, this biography offers a sympathetic portrait of a driven and charismatic athlete who falls victim to his own bad decisions. Pitluk is clearly captivated by the dualities of Chavez’s life— a gentle character practicing a brutal trade, a Mexican native with an American soul. It’s a compelling story whose ending has yet to be written: Was Chavez’s spirit broken by the death of opponent Leavander Johnson following their brutal September 2005 title fight, or will El Matador reenter the ring to defend that title? Da Capo, $24.95

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