Sport Dark Trade: Lost in Boxing by Donald McRae

This last week I started reading three recent boxing autobiographies or biographies, but didn’t get far with any of them. They weren’t awful, but weren’t good either – plodding, literally blow-by-blow accounts offering little insight into the moral, emotional and financial complexities of what Mike Tyson has memorably called “the hurt business”.

Album: Cassius Clay, I Am The Greatest! (Rev-Ola)

It's clear that the producer of these spoken-word pieces, recorded in the first flush of Cassius Clay’s meteoric rise in 1963, regards the Louisville Lip more as comedy entertainer than serious pugilist.

James Lawton: Raw power proves too much for brave but fallen Star

A horse who had come here for a coronation began to dwindle before our eyes

Rocky

Directed by John G. Avildsen

Club academies failing, says Benitez

Rafael Benitez, the Liverpool manager, has claimed the English game is being undermined by an academy system that fails to expose young players to enough competitive football.

Eriksson could forge French connection

Sven Goran Eriksson is in talks with three clubs and one national association about an imminent return to management, the Swede's agent, Athole Still, told The Independent last night.

July 7 bombings: a story of individual heroism and official incompetence

The courage shown by hundreds of workers and ordinary people who risked their lives to help the victims of the London bombings was matched by "unacceptable" failures by the emergency authorities, an official inquiry into the attacks reported yesterday.

Stephen Glover on The Press

The Guardian's guardian, a famous complainant, and a flawed inquiry

Mittal raises Arcelor bid to £18bn

Lakshmi Mittal, the Indian steel magnate, dramatically raised the stakes in the battle for control of the rival steel maker Arcelor yesterday by lifting his bid to €26bn (£18bn), increasing the cash element and offering to relinquish control over the merged company.

BOOKS: From youth to adultery

Geoff Dyer Villages by John Updike HAMISH HAMILTON pounds 17.99 (321pp) pounds 16.99 (free p&p) from 0870 079 8897

James Lawton: In mourning for big fights of Las Vegas

En route to Las Vegas for the world heavyweight title fight between Vitali Klitschko and Britain's Danny Williams, there is, inevitably, an old stirring of that anticipation which is familiar to almost anyone who has attended a big fight. But there is an ache too.

My Life In Media: Trevor Beattie

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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
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Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

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Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
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Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

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Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game