He sighed, the memory of some of those horrendous workouts overwhelming him. But he brightened up in a moment.
"In the ring," he consoled himself, "he's altogether different."
In the ring McNeeley has been so different that boxing commissions have threatened to set him down for ignoring the rules—rules like "Don't hit a man when he's down, please," and "If you have to elbow or butt, make it look like an accident."
McNeeley excuses himself for these breaches. There was, he feels, sound reason for every one of them—well, almost every one. Like in his first professional fight against Richie Norton. Some nerves on the left side of his rib cage had been pinched by a blow in training. The area was so tender that even a firm caress was agonizing. That's just where Norton hit him, by no means caressingly, and McNeeley, turned savage by the pain, lashed out like a wounded panther and with approximately a panther's esteem for the boxing code. He stopped Norton in the second round.
"That time I fought Art Mayorga," McNeeley went on, a low growl forming deep in his throat, "he kept hiding behind his gloves. It was frustrating. When I finally got through and he started to fall, he dropped his gloves. I was so crazy at seeing his face for the first time that I let another one go."
The one-round Charlie Lopes mayhem, some of which was accomplished by shoving aside the referee as an impertinent meddler in a private fight, was undertaken because Lopes insulted McNeeley's intelligence.
"First," McNeeley complained, "he went around town making comments about what he was going to do to me. But then, after the weigh-in, he followed me and jumped into my car with me. He kept telling me about how his wife was sick and his kids needed things and if I'd just go easy on him and let him look good maybe he'd get some more paydays. I know now he was giving me the con, because right at the opening bell he walked out and tried to knock my head off. It was a hard punch and I thought he'd cut my eye, and I lost my head."
McNeeley battered him down and then, with Lopes on one knee, crunched a finisher onto his jaw. He came very close to slugging the referee for trying to protect Lopes when that official stepped in to end the fight.
"The commission gave me a good chewing out," McNeeley said.
And, finally, there was the second Lou Jones fight in New York.