As I got older, white men used to watch me fightin' on the street, and sometimes they'd give me money for winning. Then one day?I was 15 then?one of the men asked me if I'd fight in the ring for him.
"Do I get paid, sir?" I said.
"Sure you get paid, Beau Jack. I will give you three dollars," he said. "But you will have to fight Okey Dokey, who is bigger than you. Doesn't that mean anything to you?"
I said, "Not if I'm gonna get paid three dollars just for fighting him, sir."
I knew Okey Dokey and he weighed 150 against my 126. But I went in the ring with him, knocked him out and got paid my three dollars. Next they put me in with Battling Buck, who weighed about 175 and was well liked for being such a hard, rugged puncher.
But I knocked him out too, and I got ten dollars for that.
I gave all that money to Grandma Mixom.
One night my brother John Henry came home and he had $80. I asked him where he got all that money, and he said in a battle royal. So I went down to Augusta and got in a battle royal. They put me in with four or five other fellers, all bigger than me, and told me the winner would get all the money.
I stayed in a corner with my back to the ropes. Those other bigger fighters were busy trying to knock each other out and paid no attention to me. But whenever one of them backed up near me I slammed him good and knocked him out. And when I had them all knocked out, the promoter wanted to give me all the money because I was the very last one left in the ring.
But I said, "No, let the others have some of the money. Spread the money around among those other fellers. They all fought good."