The following evening Mr. Lunny returned home from Stanford with a pair of Ray Flores boxing gloves, but a week passed before Ray finally picked them up and began sparring with his father. "I never put any pressure on him," Mr. Lunny says. "He always took the initiative by asking me to work with him."
When Ray was 8 Mr. Lunny dressed him in a sport coat, white shirt and red bow tie and drove him to a boys' club. Once there, little Ray was lined up with children his age. They all wore T shirts and blue jeans and when they saw Ray they yelled in unison, "I want to fight him." After several fights, however, they learned that young Lunny changed his image as easily as he changed his clothes.
Lunny developed his boxing at boys' clubs in San Francisco and in his home town at the Redwood City Police Youth Club. Later he accepted bouts in such out-of-the-way rings as the basement of the Union Hall Building in Modesto, where the floor was covered with sawdust and the temperature approached 100�. Added to these conditions was the rather unnerving fact that the referee was the manager of Lunny's opponent.
"When he first started out in amateur competition I'd wake up every morning at about 2 o'clock and pace the floor and drink coffee until daybreak," Mr. Lunny says. "If he had got hit I wouldn't have allowed him to continue boxing. But he developed. He became a classy little fighter. Someday he wants to turn pro.
"His mother is against that idea, and already she is resentful because his nose is flattening. But I ask her to let Ray have a few pro bouts just to see how well he could do. He'll graduate from college and have a successful job and all, but always he would have the nagging question of how well could he have done with the pros."
Ray is now preparing himself for the 1972 Olympics, but his fanatical preoccupation with this goal and the pros beyond has left him without a social life. "Because I was always the smallest I felt left out of things," he says. "I began as a loner, and I am still afraid to get involved with anyone. I submerge myself in boxing. Dad will tell me to take a few months off, but after two weeks I have to get back to the gym."
Lunny completed his workout at Babe Griffin's, dressed and left with Turk. It was a beautiful evening, and they took Ray's Volkswagen back up Highway 280 to Redwood City. Turk relaxed, watching the brown roadside through horn-rimmed sunglasses and cigar smoke.
"Why don't you get rid of those five-cent brands and buy yourself a decent cigar?" Lunny asked.
The old man laughed. "Maybe if you'd give me a dollar now and then for helping you I could afford one."
Ray smiled and glanced at his friend. "Someday, Turk," he said, "I'll be a pro. Then I'll buy you boxes. Boxes of the best cigars in the world."