He wanted to go
down and regroup, but not only did the spectators block his fall, they also
propped Casey up—and then bounced him back toward Sullivan. Casey was a
helpless target, and he could see, in his daze, John L. winding up for the
inexplicably, just like that, Sullivan dropped his dukes and idly watched Casey
fly past him, still propelled by the push from the crowd. Sullivan put his
hands on his hips and glared at the spectators.
Sullivan doesn't need any help when he's in the ring," he bellowed. The
offenders shrank back.
complete, Sullivan turned to finish off Casey. But the moment was lost; Casey
had shaken his head clear. When John L. swung, Casey hopped aside, as if he
were getting away from a high inside pitch, and with everything left in him, he
ducked and came up throwing, like a shortstop pegging to first. Whoosh. Into
the champion's soft underbelly. Sullivan gasped. His chin was wide open, but
Casey went for the tummy again. And again. The champion doubled over, and only
then did Casey aim his left hand—the one that still had its knuckles intact—for
Sullivan's chin. Bam! John L. crumpled to his knees and then pitched forward,
spitting out blood and ale, spilling his beans.
goddam count, Nuf Ced!" Fox screamed.
up. He didn't know how Casey's hands ached. So, he just waved Nuf Ced away and
sank back onto the infield grass, into his own blood and guts. The Great John
L. was beaten. "Congratulations, sonny," he said. "Now you can tell
the whole world you was the first sonuvab.... You was the first man ever to
beat the Great John L."
$10,000, and I'll never tell a soul on God's green earth," Casey said.
none. That viper Fox'll put it in the Gazette."
forward to Sullivan. "Not if you fight Kilrain, I won't, Johnny," he
now?" said Sullivan, the possibilities dawning on him, and he looked all
around at the crowd. "Any sonuvabitch here see John L. Sullivan get beat