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I tell myself just like in the songs: "Watch your foolish heart," don't be an idiot. But here he is number nine middleweight contender in the Luna ring ratings and ready to move up. I figure if he can stand the change he'll be a pretty hot prospect back on Earth and if I could get back in with the right people maybe he'll someday get a shot at Benny Messina, who knows?
His Name is Willie Buffo
This kid, his name is Willie Buffo, and he's 20 years old. His old man worked on the first dome over old Luna. You probably read about it in the papers, when it blew, he went up about 40 miles into space. He ain't come down yet. His mother runs a rooming house on the south side and Willie helps out collecting rents. He got some hick manager of record here. This guy's a big idealist would be only too glad to sell Willie's contract to somebody who could bring him along right and maybe take him all the way to the title. So it's a big temptation to me, but I had all kinds of terrible conflicts about it, should I, shouldn't I. Finally I had an inspiration.
I got a nephew on wife Rita's side. His name is Irving Weissman. A nice, clean-cut kid and he's working on a fellowship in personnel experimental techniques at the Oppenheimer Institute over in New Luna City. Very bright kid. I tell him the whole thing and ask him how could I establish scientifically if this kid has a chance to be a winner back on Earth. Well, his eyes lit up and he says, "Uncle Max, this is a break for you because I can put $12 billion worth of equipment and some pretty smart people to work figuring out can Willie Buffo be a champ. Bring him around tomorrow at 9."
All right, so I got Willie some new comic books for the ride and we shuttle over to New Luna City and they done everything to that kid but take him apart. They run him through a million physical tests and then the psycho-neurophysical tests after that and the kine-eidetic tests after that. Then they run him through everything all over again in what they call the G-room, which is a room where they could simulate Earth gravity and air pressure. Finally they turn him loose. He goes home with his comic books.
Then they first get started with doping all this. Irving gets the ring record books from Earth 300 years back. He has all these people at the institute scurrying around you know what doing? They collect all information of every champion in every weight division since Fitzsimmons. Every physical measurement and how many they win or lose and all other personal information, whatever they got.
They were still working on it when I went back a week later. Irving had about 20 people reading all this stuff into tape recorders and reels of tape in boxes with labels began to pile up.
Then Irving takes me into a little office. A little skinny guy with big thick glasses is sitting at a machine, something like a typewriter, only it's as big as a piano. He's playing it like a piano, too. He looks very dreamy and his hands are tickling the keys and there's a cigaret dangling from his lip. If there had been a glass of beer on top of the machine I would have asked him to play Deep Space Blues.
"Uncle Max," says Irving, "meet Sam Segal. Sam is doing a conversion on Willie." "Look," I said, "why mess with the kid's religion. Anyhow, he'd never change. He even crosses himself before every round!"