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'Twas the Fight Before Christmas
Jack McCallum
December 26, 2005
A high-wire experiment in sports fiction, written in nine chapters, sequentially, by nine SI authors, wherein a fast-fading pugilist suddenly finds himself in the bout of his life. Read on....
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December 26, 2005

'twas The Fight Before Christmas

A high-wire experiment in sports fiction, written in nine chapters, sequentially, by nine SI authors, wherein a fast-fading pugilist suddenly finds himself in the bout of his life. Read on....

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I stormed out of the corner. This was going to be reality TV, all right. History, even. The crowd was on its feet, sensing something unscripted. Pop dropped his grin, looking concerned. "You told me he'd be comatose by now," is what I heard him tell his corner. I didn't even let him get off his stool. I raced across the ring and shoved a right hand so far down his stupid mug I could have grabbed whatever he'd had for breakfast.

And next thing I knew I was pitching through the ropes into Rudolph Roberts's lap. "Kid--" he said....

[ IX ]

"... YOU'VE BEEN KRINGLED!"

And he pulled off his top hat to reveal a Santa cap underneath. Then everybody ringside--the photographers, the writers, the ref, the corner guys, the fans, even Pop--put on Santa caps and started giggling. Then this giant sled came gliding down from the rafters carrying that American Idol goof, Ryan Seacrest. He landed in the ring, ran straight to me and hollered, "That's right, Tommy Cavanaugh, You've Been Kringled!!!"

I closed my eyes and tried to shake the cobwebs out, but when I opened them, there was Seacrest again, against a sea of Santa hats, going, "You're live on Fox! We set you up!"

I closed one eye, thinking that might make him disappear, but it didn't.

"Your father was chosen by our You've Been Kringled! producers out of thousands to have his fondest Christmas dream come true!" Seacrest gushed. "And do you know what he chose?"

I closed the other eye.

"Well, you're about to find out! Roll the tape, boys!"

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