"Twenty thousand dollars."
My explosion took the wind out of his sails.
"Cripes almighty," I yelled at him. "You ought to be getting a hundred grand at least! Maybe we can get you out of the fight."
Mickey proved his honesty to me right then and there.
"I can't do that, Doc. I gave them my word."
We had a tune-up bout in San Francisco and headed east, where I found I was suddenly persona non grata with the New York boxing commission. They still were after Dempsey to fight Harry Wills, and nothing I could say would convince them that every time we tried to set up the match politicians blocked it. Bill Muldoon, the gruff commissioner, wouldn't even let me go to the arena for the Walker-Greb fight.
"If you show up, I'll ban Walker, too," he told me.
I sat it out at Billy LaHiff's Tavern, listening on the radio.
It was a tough night for Walker. Greb outweighed him seven pounds and gave him plenty of thumbs. What made it worse, the referee, Ed Purdy, dislocated a trick knee in the seventh round and from then on frequently supported himself by hanging on to both fighters, particularly Walker. Despite all this, Mickey rallied after nearly being knocked out and was hurting Greb at the end of the 15 rounds. Still, he lost.
Walker met me in LaHiff's after the bout, and we were having a drink at a corner table when who walks in out of the night, like Dangerous Dan McGrew, but Greb. Mickey's eyes were swollen and bloodshot, and Greb's lips were puffed and cut. Greb walked over to our table and leered down at Walker.