got his speed back yet?" I asked him. He don't look at me funny or
anything, so I figure Manny kept quiet about who touted him on to this
says Patsy, "Willie finally drags himself back to the gym after two months.
He walks like in a crouch with his knees bent. He don't wanna look at speed
bags or heavy bags or jump ropes, he says 'Lemme for god-sakes at least stand
inna ring!' He was kind of pathetic."
box?" I could hardly keep a straight face.
to that," says Patsy. "We figure all right what's the difference
anyhow, so we put him in the ring to work with Joe Sebastian. Willie looks a
little bit happy again when he gets his hands taped and puts on his headguard
and we lace on the gloves. We hadda help him up the steps. All the fellas in
the other ring stop to watch. The whole gym is quiet. Willie got beads of sweat
on his face."
the whole screen play," I says. "Tell me, could he box?"
you'll hear," says Patsy. "The bell rings and he shuffles toward
Sebastian with his knees bent, almost squatting. Sebastian moves in easy, jab,
jab, a right, a hook, works inside with both hands, and away again. Willie just
barely has his hands up. Sebastian's punches don't move him at all, just knock
off drops of sweat, and his face gets red.
rounds it goes like this. Fourth round Willie cocks his right, and the muscles
in his back and shoulders stand out like he's lifting a safe. Sebastian is
inside again and Willie shuffles back a little. Sebastian starts a hook and
Willie starts a right like he's pushing a truck."
I'm starting to
worry a little and I ask Patsy, "He could punch? Did he hit him?" Patsy
has to give me descriptive material. "What a weird thing, with his knees
bent and that slow right hand, it looks like it takes a minute to reach
Sebastian's chin and Joe's feet rise up in the air and he goes flat on his
back. He was out for a minute and a half and Willie is so exhausted he throws
up in the spittoon.
"How he does
it I don't know with such a freakish kind of a punch but he knocked Sebastian
out with 12-ounce gloves. He knocked out three guys in three workouts and
always with the headguard and the big gloves and one time I seen him faint
afterwards. Always the same—one right to the jaw when, he got the opening. A
real freak but what's the difference how he does it? The big thing is he does
it, and looking all the time so weak and tired. But nobody could knock him
down, nobody could move him even. How that Manny could pick 'em, huh? Who else
would find a weirdo like that? He got the instinct for picking a winner, that