It all could have been so different had Bernard Dunne managed to see off the challenge of Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym. Retaining his WBA super-bantamweight crown would have made it a perfect year for the boxer from Neilstown.
To that end, what was to be entitled 'A Legend in the Making' was quickly changed to 'The Ecstasy and Agony'. As biographies go, Flynn gives a very detailed account of Dunne's rise up through the ranks. From the disappointment of not making the Sydney Olympics; to turning professional; the fabulous night when he became World Champion and finally that crushing defeat in the O2 last September, the author takes us on a journey that thankfully stays clear of giving its subject God-like status.
Instead, we have an account of Dunne, under the watchful eye of the legendary Sugar Ray Leonard, earning his stripes in America. Opponents were regularly seen off well within the distance - as Dunne dreamed about a shot at the world title. It wasn't all plain sailing, however. In 2002, an MRI brain scan showed up abnormalities and Dunne was suspended for five months.
A five-month break endured, before he finally got the all clear to resume his career – Dunne found out the good news while watching 'Lord of the Rings' in a Dublin cinema. He obviously could not contain his excitement, though on reflection, it might have been worth the author’s time to seek out Dunne’s view now on the health scare that could have finished his career.
The biography lacks first-hand accounts from those close to Dunne – his father Brendan, Brian Peters and his trainer Harry Hawkins. Flynn relies too much on pulling out quotes from various newspaper articles and television shows. He makes up for this, to a certain degree, by vividly recalling the night Dunne realised his ambition and Ricardo Cardoba was defeated in an epic duel in the O2, as the nation also celebrated a long overdue Grand Slam success.
Six months later, a Thai boxer initiated a chapter that Flynn did not want to write. The author, obviously a boxing fan, is of the view that Dunne should consider whether he now has a future in the sport. In essence he feels that the likeable guy from Neilstown is not able to withstand the hard hits. I wonder what Bernard Dunne has to say about that?