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OH, BROTHERS—THEY PUT PUNCH INTO IT
Pat Putnam
August 09, 1976
The young U.S. boxing team prayed and preyed together, dominating the favored, more mature Communist fighters and winning five golds, a silver and a bronze
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August 09, 1976

Oh, Brothers—they Put Punch Into It

The young U.S. boxing team prayed and preyed together, dominating the favored, more mature Communist fighters and winning five golds, a silver and a bronze

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Howard Davis is even more skilled as a fighter than Leonard. A remarkably clever boxer, he thinks people who take a punch to deliver one are foolish. Soon, he hopes, he will carry that philosophy into the professional ranks.

"I'm no brawler," Davis said. "The Europeans take a lot of punches. They get cut up, and looking ugly is just part of the day's work. But I don't want to be ugly. I'm not crazy."

None of the U.S. fighters carries marks of his craft. Mike Spinks has a scar on his cheek, but it was put there by his brother Leon years ago. One day they were playing hooky from school and they got into a battle over a bologna sandwich. Leon pulled down a curtain rod and bent it around one of Mike's knees.

"I called for time out," said Mike, making a T with his fingers. "That's when he let me have it in the head."

The Spinkses are more than brothers; they are close friends. One is seldom without the other.

"We haven't seen anything outside the Village," Leon said.

"All we know is that downtown is that way," said Mike, pointing out a window. "And we only know that 'cause we can see the big buildings."

"Just like when we were kids," said Leon. "Our mother used to keep us in the house because we were always getting beat up. Guys would push us around, take our money. They called us 'messovers' because we were easy to mess over."

"We got tired of it," Mike said. "So we'd go out on the porch of our house and hit each other in the ribs. We'd go to the recreation center and watch other fighters and try it out on each other. When the kids heard how good Leon was doing they started leaving us alone."

Still, they fought each other. Almost hourly.

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