Johnston, surrounded by publicists, writers, managers and trainers, loudly lamented the lack of a suitable opponent for Griffin. He wanted someone good enough to pique the fans' interest but not good enough to win--though that's not exactly how he put it. Gould, who had slid into the crowd in Johnston's office, asked, "Why not give Jimmy a chance?"
"Don't mention Braddock again," Johnston said. "I'm sick of hearing his name."
"Just give him a shot," Gould said.
"Joe, Corn will kill him," Johnston said. "Ask any one of these guys. They've seen Corn in there with Carnera. I don't want Jimmy's blood on my hands."
"Listen," Gould said, "no one's ever hurt Jimmy, you know that. He's cute that way. Nobody hits him solid. And he's stronger now than he's ever been."
"O.K.," Johnston said, relenting. "You've got me, you wore me down. But don't blame me if Griffin kills that old Irishman. And the purse is 250 bucks. Don't even think about asking for more."
"It's a deal," Gould said.
Now all Gould had to do was find his fighter. He had a pretty good idea where Braddock was. Gould walked out of the Garden and headed toward the Hudson River. He boarded a New Jersey--bound ferry and a few minutes later landed in Hoboken. Braddock was only a few hundred yards away, laboring on the docks, sweating in the noonday sun.
"Well, champ," Gould said, after tapping on Braddock's shoulder, "I've got a fight for you." Braddock, his face and chest red from the sun, didn't say a word. He put down his baling hook and peeled off his work gloves. He looked at Gould, waiting for the details.
"But the fight's Thursday night, on the undercard at the Bowl," Gould continued. "You've only got two days. Can you do it? Are you in shape?"