Long before Tampa native Pacheco became Muhammad Ali's ringside physician in the 1960s, he spent his boyhood in Ybor City, helping out in his dad's pharmacy on 16th Street. Pacheco, 82, returns to his hometown Saturday as a featured writer during Deep Carnivale. (See Page 8L.) At 10 a.m. he will take the stage in the HCC Performing Arts Building to discuss Tales From the 5th Street Gym and Blood in My Coffee.
What is on your nightstand?
I read three books a week. I read a book, then write a short story. I've got The Somme by Lyn Macdonald. Lyn is the best writer of World War I. I also am reading David Fromkin's Europe's Last Summer: Who Started the Great War in 1914? They both write about the same situation, but from different viewpoints.
Do you read them for short story writing?
No. I just love reading war stories. My short stories come from my subconscious. After a stroke several years ago I found stories came out of my dreams.
Do you read fiction?
No, fiction is fairy tales. Nonfiction is better than fiction.
Can you name your favorite sports writing?
Budd Schulberg and The Harder They Fall. He got inside the subject, and he nailed it just right.
One last nonbooks question: What do you think of mixed martial arts matches?
I don't think of it at all. It's an abomination. And the bad part is that they will kill somebody with it.
Piper Castillo, Times staff writer