Saturday, July 31, 2010


   At one time, I was actually a pretty rugged young man. Somewhat lacking in 'altitude', but endowed with an overabundance of 'attitude'. In those days, when I was freshly moved off the farms, I was up for just about anything, especially so if monetary gain was involved. At that time, in the little city near my hometown, every Friday & Saturday night had entertainment in the form of boxing matches in the National Guard Armory.
   The participants in these bouts were a pairing of local talent versus guys from the 'Job Training Center' in the big city 100 miles away. Most of these guys were street smart, brawling, very fit city fellows, some of who were actually semi-pro boxers at one time. There was a 'promoter' who would rent the armory and pay a group of these 'job trainees' to engage in fisticuffs with the local challengers.
   For the challengers, the motivation was simple. Last 3 two-minute rounds and take home $50, a princely sum in those days. If you went out earlier than 3 rounds you still got $10 for trying. To a young pup like me, more endowed with solid muscle than brain, this was too good to pass up.
   The first few times I tried I lasted easily and even tried a couple times in one night on occasion. Finally came a day when I was paired with the 'trainee' light-heavyweight champion. I was way short on reach and height, but weighed solidly into this class. As fate would have it, the guy was very susceptible to an opponent who could get 'inside' his reach and pummel him with short, hard body blows.
   As this fit my style perfectly, I easily lasted the three rounds. At that time the 'promoter' came to my corner and told me I'd get $25 for each additional round. Whoa! Christmas in the summer! I gladly accepted and lasted 15 full rounds and lost on points. Still, I was ecstatic, and $350 richer for the effort.
   Well, this went on with different opponents for a few weeks, with me lasting the entire 15 rounds at times. To make it even better, the 'bonus' money was raised to $40 per round. Of course, unbeknown to my dumb young self, that was a mere pittance compared to the dough the 'promoter' was making by running illegal betting action on the side.
   After a lucrative summer, it all came crashing down one night when my opponent turned out to be a tall, extremely well muscled, young black man with incredibly long arms. Oh well, I'd faced worse, or so I thought. The bell rang and we were off, until he sent his first punch my way. Damn that hurt. It was soon followed by a seemingly leisurely string of similar punches, each as painful as the first. I'd yet to land a single punch as he continually danced away, coming in only to land another painful assault on my battered face.
   Finally, after one and a half rounds of him pounding on me at will, my brain kicked in and when the next solid hit arrived I went down like a lead balloon. I lay there listening to the world around me and doing my best NOT to revive, even when smelling salts were tried. I merely snorted, turned away, and continued to be 'out'. 
  This went on to the roaring of the crowd until a friend and another man came with a stretcher and orders to 'take him to the hospital'. As they were loading my 'unconscious' body, I foolishly opened one eye a bit to look around, an action caught by my pal who immediately and loudly declared, "He's not out!"; to which I responded, "Shut up and get me out of here!" in as loud a voice as I dared.
   Sadly for me, it wasn't quiet enough and the 'promoter' heard me. This made him VERY irate for some reason. He not only refused to pay me the consolation money, he banned me from future participation. Seems he was rather confident my hard head and stubborn streak would last at least the three rounds and had bet heavily on me at long odds. Apparently this was detrimental to his bankroll, and him thinking I took a 'dive' didn't help. I didn't really take a 'dive', he actually knocked me down. I merely declined to get up and face his 'fists of death' any longer. Thus ended my short, but lucrative, boxing career. 
   Until next we meet, take care & be safe.


Mike S said...

Oops! Deleted Deanna's comment by mistake:

"Quite the story! I'm glad you got "out" while you could. ;o)"

Linda Allen said...

Good Story Mike *^_^*

Kay said...

Good gracious! I'm glad you were smart enough to stay down, Mike! Sheesh! You want to keep your brain intact. What a story!