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"Oh," cried Ed, looking at the clock. He jumped up and ran for his clothes. 'You dress like a fireman," Vinnie called after him. Ed stopped, assumed a stance and threw a left jab and a right at his son. "A biff-bam to you," he shouted. Ed dressed, and he and Vinnie ran downstairs and caught a cab to the fieldhouse. Vinnie went to the dressing room, and Ed took his ringside seat in the fieldhouse.
It didn't take long for the spectators around Ed to learn that he was Vinnie's father. "Nervous, Pa?" the man belind him asked. "I'm always nervous," Ed replied. Someone reminded Ed that it was Friday the 13th, and that Vinnie was fighting Fiacco in bout 13. "It's just as easy to get punched on the nose on the 18th," Ed remarked. along about bout six, Ed got up for a smoke. He was back in a minute. He had forgotten his cigarets. "Can't smoke my finger," Ed quipped to the man behind him. "Pa's nervous," the man announced at large, and the crowd around him laughed sympathetically. When Vinnie came out with Wisconsin Coach John Walsh, Ed raced over. He gave Vinnie a big kiss and wished him luck. Then Ed raced back to his ringside seat.
"Tonight he'll right-hand this guy to death," Ed whispered, as the bell rang for round one. Fiacco came out, jiggling from side to side. Vinnie, following instructions, circled to the right. His dancing left hand caught Fiacco on the nose. "One-two, Vince! One-two," Ed cried, jumping up from his seat. "Take it easy, Pa," the man behind Ed said. Vinnie took the first round easily. He had Fiacco off balance. The bell rang for round two, "Double it up! Double it up!" Ed yelled as Vinnie began to land combinations. "Let's stick! Let's stick!" he yelled as Vinnie landed two quick left jabs. Vinnie threw a left hook, and Fiacco crowded inside, landing punches to the body. "Box! Box. For the love of life, box," Ed screamed in dismay. The round ended. The bell rang for round three. "Over to your right and box," Ed yelled. "Your fight, not his, Vince! One-two and relax. One-two." The bell rang, ending the fight.
"Fiacco had the fight all out of him, Pa," the man behind Ed remarked.
"Yeah," muttered Ed weakly.
The ring announcer gave the decision: the winner of the semifinal bout, Ferguson of the University of Wisconsin. Vinnie remained at ringside with Coach Walsh, and Ed joined them to scout Dick Wall of Oklahoma in the next semifinal. Wall won, and Ed said: "We'll get Mr. Wall tomorrow night."
On Saturday, after a luncheon at the Maple Bluff Country Club—Governor Walter Kohler of Wisconsin, chief speaker (SI, April 23)—Ed took Vinnie back to the hotel for another strategy talk. "Mr. Wall has let the word out: 'I hope he don't press me.' He wants you to press him. But we aren't going to press him. This guy is a boxer, a spot puncher, and he hopes that while he's strong—I watched him tire last night—that you'll come in so he can bop you. Strictly a counter-puncher. Don't underestimate Wall. He knows how to dance. He's been around [Wall was a Chicago Golden Gloves champion in 1953 and 1955, fighting at 147 pounds]."
Ed assumed a stance. "We'll outsmart him," Ed announced. Vinnie nodded. "Wall's the kind of guy that will fall for feints, if they're properly fed to him," Ed observed, pausing to let the remark sink in. "He'll move with the feint. Now, Wall gets tired in the latter half of the fight. In the first round, we'll feint him and con him. We'll do the same thing halfway in the second. Then we'll open up and go. We'll slug him."
"I'll pop-shot him," said Vinnie, who, as Ed says, is not the kind of kid to hide behind doors when it comes to talking about boxing.
"It's a war," said Ed.