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Gary Smith
February 15, 1988
Former lightweight champ Beau Jack lives out his legend
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February 15, 1988

Still Fighting Old Wars

Former lightweight champ Beau Jack lives out his legend

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I waited another day, then returned the next morning. He was staring out a window near the ring. Then he noticed me. He sprang from his seat, gesturing wildly to the few other people in the gym. "Don't talk to him!" he screamed.

I looked around. Me. He was screaming about me.

"I'm finished with you! No more! I gave you everything you need to know!"

He waved me inside his cubicle and turned on me. "My wife called the other day—told me you'd talked to her!"

"I haven't talked to her yet. I only arranged to meet her."

"Makes no difference. I told you everything; you got no reason to talk to her. I got nothing more to say to you."



His body was braced. His chest grew large and small, large and small, like a bellows. I looked at him and saw what it meant to him and walked away. Perhaps he was right. Now that he was used to fighting with a blindfold, what right had I to tug it off?

I walked the streets full of tattoos and missed belt loops, and wondered how a judge would score Beau Jack's life. At the beginning of the fight they didn't let him see, then took advantage of his money and his feelings. But he fooled them all. Now, near the end, he had his dignity, more money than people realized and was free from people who might hurt him. I guess that meant he had won.

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