In his excellent critical biography

In his excellent critical biography - ,,'saccount ....

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In his excellent critical biography,  Presenting Robert Lipsyte , Michael Cart repeats Lipsyte's account  of how the sports journalist first got his idea for  The Contender.  Lipsyte was in Las Vegas to cover a  heavyweight championship fight between Muhammad Ali and Floyd Patterson, scheduled for  November 22, 1965. The night before the fight, he had a conversation with legendary boxing  manager Cus D'Amato, then in his late fifties. D'Amato reminisced about the days when he worked in  his gym on New York's Lower East Side. As with Donatelli's Gym in the novel, a prospect had to  climb three flights to present himself. D'Amato had a special interest in the kids who, like Alfred,  came running up the stairs afraid and alone. He compared that fear to fire, which can "burn you or  keep you warm; it can destroy you or make you a hero, a contender in the ring and in life." The 
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