Of course, the refs don't sanction this. One night, a referee came to Strauss's corner after the first round and said, "It ain't fair that you're hitting this guy low."
"Yeah?" Strauss replied. "Well it ain't fair that he's better than me, neither."
As Torrence and the lieutenant arrive at Aldrich Arena, two hours before the fight, they look up and see that Torrence's name is misspelled on the marquee: TORRANCE. Welcome to St. Paul.
Inside the arena, the boxing ring is not a boxing ring at all: It's a wrestling ring. And the mat isn't canvas: It's rubber. And the locker room isn't exactly a locker room: It has neither lockers nor showers. And the card girl is new too. After the first round of the first fight, she high-pumps around the ring holding a giant "1." You think Michael Nunn has to put up with this stuff?
Torrence will fight in the sixth of seven bouts. He's examined by the ring doctor, who checks his eyes, ears, nose, blood pressure and pulse and writes "O.K." on the sheet. As Taylor is taping Torrence's hands, a man rushes into the locker room. "Which one is Jake?" he hollers.
It is the second time tonight someone has rushed into the room and asked which one is Jake. It doesn't swell a man's confidence.
With one bout to go, there's nothing left to do but wait. Torrence stands in the center of the room, half-heartedly dancing and jabbing. There's one other boxer there, slipping his jeans over his trunks. Taylor stares down at the dirty tile floor and starts to mumble just loud enough for Torrence to hear.
"Got to let this kid know right away, this ain't no club fight anymore. You been around."
Torrence says nothing.
"We want some jaw," Taylor says, a little louder. "We're chest benders. He ain't ever been out of this town before. You been all over the world. Teach him something. Teach him something! He just wants to add you to his list. We're going to stop this crap, beginning tonight! He wanna win; you got to win! You got to win if you wanna stay in the business! You ain't no damn club fighter!"