The head on the table tried to turn, but only the eyes could make it in Pinhead's direction.
"We couldn't do anything with him," screamed Pinhead. "He's got to have earplugs in there. Nothing. He don't think one cent's worth."
The eyes turned back toward the ceiling.
Martin was whipped early in this fight. He never really had a chance, or anything left after the first round, and he survived as long as he did only because he has a soccer ball for a heart. Ellis wasted him with right hands in the first, and, had not Martin been hurt so badly, the heavy expenditure of energy might have been costly for Ellis. He was punched out in the second round, and Martin made a gallant recovery. But Martin's lip started to tear in the third, and blow after blow crashed into his face until the ninth round, when Ellis jabbed the cut and it opened frightfully.
"He sure do have a hard head," said Ellis later.
Martin also has a destructive pair of hands, but he never managed to make effective use of them. His plan was to stay on top of Ellis early in the fight, when Ellis has always been most dangerous, and then catch him in the late rounds. Martin knew that there was a serious question as to whether Ellis, whose early explosions seem to drain him, was more than a five-round fighter. The allegation may still have substance. Ellis has never really believed in himself, which is quite understandable in a person who has been carrying Ali's bag for too many years.
"Yeah," said Angelo Dundee, Ellis' and Ali's trainer (page 64). "He was there. He could've been caught good any number of times, could've been in real trouble. He stopped moving, you know, side to side, but Jimmy's right hands beat Martin and he knew Martin didn't have anything left. Ellis'll be much better from now on. He's getting the confidence."
"I'll be all right, I'm on my way," said Ellis, who seems surprised that people suddenly want to know the details of his life. "Now, when the day comes I fight Clay, I'm gonna go bing, bing, bing in that pretty face and say, 'Hey, boy, what's my name?' "
Muhammad Ali was much more than a spectre in Houston. He was very real a few days before the fights when, in court, he was denied a request to travel abroad and was ordered to surrender, his passport. For the first time, it seems, he is resigned to going to jail and is exuding unfaked fatalism, trying desperately to camouflage his moroseness with wild exuberance.
"I can see 'em at the gate now," he jokes. "This is the way it's going to be." He then describes this scene: