"He'd a been cut up. Two more rounds, he'd a been cut up."
"Why did you fight different this time, Ezz?"
"Decided I'd knock him out. I tried to knock him out. I changed my plan in the fight."
"How do you mean?not to knock him out?"
Charles carefully buttoned up a baby-blue sport shirt. He looked down at the handler who was trying to induce him to slip one foot into a shoe. "To knock him out," he said.
"Ezz?did you ever think you had him going?"
"Sure," said Charles, speaking suddenly with the positiveness of accomplishment. "I bust his nose?left jab. I bust his eye?left jab. Two more rounds I'd a won the fight."
He looked up, suddenly, and cried "Hey!" His wife walked in. Behind her walked Joe Louis, elegantly tailored, closely shaved and grinning widely. "No women in the dressing room," said Charles. His wife laughed. "This Joe Louis said he could do anything and he did do anything. We got in." She pulled her silver-blue mink stole around her shoulders and sat down, while flashlights blinked. "Put your arm around her, Ezz," called a cameraman. Charles stared, face expressionless, pushed out his lower lip, stared some more and shook his head.
"Ezz," called a reporter. "Do you still say he isn't the hardest hitter you've fought?"
"He's strong," said Charles. "But Walcott knocked me out. You don't go around in fights trying to think who hits you hardest. He had me groggy. But I knew what I was doing."