"Ah do not coach young mens," he says. "Ah trains young mens. Coach, he juss think about the outside, about the fis and ahms and feet and how the blows is struck. Trainah, he see inside the youf where the blow come from. Ah know this a long time, but Ah caint splain it to othahs till man splain it to me in 1969. He's a hitchikah Ah give a ride to then, and a smaht man, been to three colleges in New Yawk City. He say parent the fus cause he nurture the chile. Teachah the bes cause he choose to shape the chile. Preachah the most powful cause he got the mos followahs. Doctah the riches of the ordinary man cause we care mos about how we feel. Heavyweight champion, the mos admire cause every man want to be him sometime. He splain to me they change foah words in the dictionary. They change colored to black, slum to ghetto, gypsy to hippy, and they change trainah to coach. Lots doan understan that, but that why Ahez a trainah and we doan say coach here."
The six shadow boxers complete their drill, and while they are giving their gloves to a new group, Haywood explains that he is sitting on the Joe Louis ring in a warehouse full of youth because he was a precocious child "knockah."
"Yassah. Knocks, thass what they call it. Down in the country 10 miles from Greenvull, Mississippi, where Ah was bawn. Ah go to work in the cotton, a watah boy when Ahez juss seben. Doan got to school but one time befoah. Thass why Ah nevah learn my abcs. Ah juss a little bitty boy when Ah start carrin watah for the mens. They call me Baby Kid, but Ah was a bad, bad knockah."
Haywood turns on the full smile and holds it for a time. It is a memory-of-childhood smile, but there is also a suspicion that a performing artist like Haywood hugely enjoys the feel of hooking an audience and reeling it in at his own pace.
"What is a knockah?"
"At noon, at dusk when we ain't workin, the mens stand in a circle and they git the boys to duke it. Not hittin in the face or stomach, juss the chess and ahms, till one boy he knock the othah boy down. Ah little but Ah knock the othah boys every time. Mr. Suggs's the big boss, and he sit up theyah on his big horse, put his leg ovah the horn and watch. He say, 'That Baby Kid knock down mos men.' Mr. Suggs, he so proud of me and it make me proud of mahself, and Ah get bad. Ah go Greenvull, and people say thass Baby Kid. He some knockah. Colored boys, white boys, they try me but Ah knock them. Then big boys start comin to try me, and thass when Ah learn to be a bituh."
"Ahez a good dukah but Ahez a little man. Ah duke a big man once, and he doan go down. Ah doan wanna duke no moah cause he whup me. Ah want to close in tight, grasp the big man. He caint land no blow, and Ah sink mah teeth into that large man."