"Get knocked out?"
"What's your record?"
The boxer slumped a little more and sighed. "One, eight and one," he said.
Cain was matched against The Jedi, Gerald Nobles, a heavyweight with six knockouts in his first six bouts as a pro. Nobles is well-connected and being groomed for the big time. One of his two managers, Ivan Cohen, has handled five world champs and wore more and better gold jewelry than anyone else in the room. When someone mentioned to him that Cain, at 1-8-1, might not be much of a challenge, Cohen objected strenuously. "Cain's confused!" he sputtered. "He misstated his record!"
The Jedi's other manager, Alan Gelb, a New Jersey attorney, does jobs for Don King Productions, finding and suing bars and clubs that pirate King's pay-per-view telecasts. He was building up his client to the hangers-on at the commission office by telling them how Nobles had just scored a super-powerful knockout on a USA Network card and had earned a special accolade: Punch of the Night. "Do you know how big that is, Gerald?" Gelb inquired of his charge. "It's huge!"
The Jedi is a cheerful, articulate young man—a self-described 221-pound fighting machine. He wore a torn black T-shirt with Mike Tyson's picture on it. "Only thing I worry about," he said with a broad grin, "is if I commit a homicide in the ring."
"We're compiling a knockout tape," Gelb told everybody. "Of every knockout Gerald's ever made. He's up to six now."
Somebody asked Nobles how he got his start, and he acted a bit sheepish. "Aw, man, there was this girl I liked, and I was trying to impress her," he said. "I walked into the gym, and bang-boom-bang, this other guy starts whaling on me! It was awful! I'm reeling around, and it's like that scene in Rocky where the girlfriend buries her head 'cause she don't want to see." He pauses to let the horrible image sink in. "But then I went into training, and I took care of that guy all right."
"Gerald's very personable," Gelb said. "He's the kind of kid, if he bumps into you by accident, he'll apologize and then sell you a ticket to his fight. How many tickets have you sold for tonight, Gerald?"