"I heard about things like that," Rouse said. "I never thought it would happen to me. They all say you can't win them all. I never would have believed it. Oh———! Somebody told me once, you can't win them all. I sure would like to get another shot at it, but I guess we won't. Oh———!"
"We never lost," Jovanovich said. "We've just paused for a while."
An hour after the fight, Tiger was in his room in the Hotel Fremont, fiddling with the dial of his shortwave radio, waving the aerial like a wand, trying to pick up news of the war in Nigeria; he is from Aba, in the secessionist Republic of Biafra. Tiger had hoped to find a Voice of America broadcast, but all he got were unearthly screeches, voices speaking Spanish and news of Vietnam.
"So, I have broken the tie," he said as he waited for Chickie Ferrara to prepare his bath. Tiger was referring to the telegram he had received, which informed him that his wife had given birth to a girl a week before the fight and that mother and daughter were doing fine. "It is good," Tiger went on. "Now I have four girls and three boys. This telegram lifted a large stone from my mind. It let me know my family was not dead. Chickie, is the bath ready yet?"
"Don't be impatient, Dick," Ferrara said. "You have a long soak ahead. Then I want to strip the eye." At this, Tiger looked at himself in a mirror and smiled at what he saw. "It is an ugly face," he said.
"Are you kidding?" asked Freddie Brown, who is one of Tiger's seconds. "That's a good-looking face. In fact, tonight you were handsome. Tell me the secret. How do you do it?"
"It is no mystery," said Tiger, who is 38. "The older I am, the more better I get."
Lew Burston, who is 70 and says he has been in boxing for 109 years, and Jersey Jones, who is 69, came into the room. "The right hand under the heart in the fifth round was murder," said Burston. "He should have been arrested for that punch." Years ago when he promoted in Paris, Burston was known as Le Juif Errant because, as he is fond of saying, he made 52 round trips to Europe by boat before the war. " Paris will always be lovely," Burston says. " Paris will always be soft. But the soft, quiet, gentle way is not found so often, and the butchers no longer chop your meat with two sharp knives."
"Rouse ain't a bad fighter, but his own left was what killed him," said Ferrara. "He couldn't push Dick off with the blow, even when it landed. But what's the difference? He wasn't going to beat Dick anyway."
At last Tiger's bath was ready. "To be hurt," he said, sitting in the tub in the vaporous bathroom, "is not so bad as long as you get paid for it. Sometimes I have been injured in training. Then it is bad. It is for nothing—free. And pain is part of the price. I am not glad I got my eye cut, but this is O.K. It mean I earned my money. I have bled for it. Life to be good must be hard, otherwise the sweet things cannot be appreciated.