The next few rounds were filled with action, but of an indecisive sort. It was the 10th round that persuaded the Mexican contingent that their boy was a winner. It was, indeed, Castillo's finest round. He began with a good right to the head, which Rose countered nicely with a left and right. Then Chucho hooked to the head, threw a left and right to the head and forced Rose into some defensive jabbing. Rose was staggered by a one-two combination, and Chucho saw his opportunity. He threw a now-or-never right to the head, shook off Rose's counter, ignored a hook and a jab and crashed home a long roundhouse right that sent Rose to the canvas and the crowd into bedlam.
Rose was up at the count of four, coolly considering his opponent, who was crouched, snarling like a frustrated wildcat, in a neutral corner. Rose has been knocked down before and has risen to win, and it was clear from his expression that he was by no means dismayed this time. As Young tolled off the mandatory eight-count Chucho was unable to contain himself and charged out of his corner before the count was finished. The referee waved him back, and that gained Rose a few more precious seconds in which to clear his head and consider the situation.
That 10th round was easily the most important of the fight from a scoring standpoint. Under New York scoring rules, Chucho would merely have won the round, with extra points for the knockdown considered only if the fight ended in a draw by rounds. In the California point system a fighter may be awarded anywhere from zero to five points in a round, though it is conceded that if he gets five points the bout should be stopped to save his opponent from further punishment. In this case all three officials gave Chucho two points, though the newspaper sports columnist who originated the system, Morton Moss, gave three, pointing out that the Mexican had dominated the entire round, aside from the knockdown.
At any rate, Chucho won that one big, and every Mexican in the arena remembered it big, too, when the final score was announced. The aborigine slipped once again, in the 12th, from the force of a right-hand lead, an awkwardness to which, for all his superior boxing ability, he is prone. Rose won the 14th handily; the 15th was won, though by a slim margin, by Castillo, a fact which built up even more pressure in the Mexican contingent. And, though both men were clearly tired, Rose was more obviously a weary little fighter.
Before announcement of the result, some spectators who remembered previous riots in the Los Angeles area involving unsuccessful Mexican fighters moved toward the exits in order to fade swiftly away as soon as the verdict was given. They were wise. Young's vote for Castillo was given last and was all but lost in the uproar that followed the disclosure that the two judges had voted for the aborigine. The crowd took it as an ungracious act.
"Nahsty bahstids, aren't they?" an Australian sportswriter observed after a whiskey bottle had whistled past his head. As a police escort led him from ring to dressing room, Rose was missed by fractions of an inch. Later, puffing his pipe in his dressing room and nursing hands too sore to be shaken in congratulation, the aborigine observed: "If that bottle had hit me it would have taken my head off." Referee Young, the only official who voted for Castillo, was hit above his right temple by a flung bottle and arrived at the dressing room with blood spurting through his graying hair and spattering his shirt. Several policemen and a fireman were struck by flying debris.
It was a wild night at the Forum, and a succession of such riots over the years has now made it very doubtful that Mexican fighters of importance will be invited soon to show their talents in a big fight show. It is too bad, from their standpoint, because me huge Yanqui purse is just not available in Mexico, where a law limits the prices that may be charged for admission. Castillo's guarantee for this match was $20,000, the most he ever has made or likely will. Rose was guaranteed $75,000, and that, said Promoter Parnassus, is the most ever paid for a bantamweight fight. Even so, Jack Rennie, Rose's manager, will think twice before bringing the fascinating aborigine back to Los Angeles. Rennie was cut on elbow and hand when he slipped into broken glass while trying to avoid a missile.
"If we fight here again," he said, "we want more police protection."
But to what extent "more" police protection can handle an infuriated mob like that which took over the Forum is debatable. Guns and Mace will not do it without creating a stir that would kill boxing in California. A disheartened George Parnassus, a sentimental sort of man, wept at the disgraceful way in which what may have been his finest promotion was tarnished. Jack Kent Cooke grimly supervised the cleaning up of his arena for the next night's hockey game. Chucho went back to Mexico and may not be seen in these parts again, his career ruined by the excesses of his countrymen.
The winner, overall, was Lionel Rose, not just in the ring but in the hearts of those who saw his brilliant boxing performance and heard his gentlemanly words of praise for the very good man he had beaten. (Chucho had all but called Rose a coward because he would not stand still to get hit.) An aborigine, Lionel Rose has established, is not necessarily a Stone Age man.