The Show Must Go On

Started by Daniel Kovach at Apr 26, 2020 11:03 AM
February 10, 1924
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73 Posts

Daniel Kovach

Boxer
452
?Years Young
57 Posts

"In all things, be vigilant."   His father's favorite saying.


Miami Armory Gym

Evening

 

Daniel showed up early that evening for a couple of reasons. He was scheduled to fight in the third bout on the night's card but he was curious to watch some of the first fight. One did not get to watch the match ahead of your own though because it might be over too fast and catch one unprepared to step into the ring next. The promoters liked to keep a snappy pace, kept the customers happy and they came to see action not delays.

A second reason was to check around the place especially the back locker rooms to see if his trainer was around. Normally they contacted each other the morning of any scheduled event he was to be in but not this time. Using a few pay phones Dan had tried several times to reach Marty Slavin at his place throughout the day but no answer.

Now Marty lived alone, his kids were married and gone from the household, his wife deceased. A part of Dan worried about the man, he was getting up in years and ....well, he did drink an awful lot. But he was a good trainer and even more so, had been willing to work with an ex-con. Some people wouldn't. Marty had even been a cop, a patrolman then sergeant on the Miami force, yet he hadn't held it against the young Jewish lad about that misstep in the past.

Dan had told him his side of the story alright, how he was set up to be the fall guy and Marty seemed to sympathize, whether he truly believed him or not, who was to know. How many cons, ex-cons had that very same sad story - they were innocent, framed, it was a mistake, not their fault. Even Dan realized it was a hard sell. But it was the truth, that much he did know.

The first fight was a couple of young fly weights going at it, Dan had seen one of them, the negro, at a gym before but otherwise he didn't know either. The negro won by a knockout, probably a good thing too because Latinos and negroes seldom won on judge's decisions given the bias which was rampant in this very southern city. To hear some white folks talk, the Confederates never lost that war. Dan wasn't much on history but even he remembered that much from grade school. The American Civil War or the War of Northern Aggression as some called it.

Carrying his gym bag he entered the back rooms, eyes looking about in every direction for a glimpse of Marty, who could often be found in a jovial conversation with someone, head in a cloud of thick smoke from one of those big Cuban cigars he loved. But no sign of the man. Now he was worried, Marty would never cut it this close. Still, what could he do.

He needed to dress  - OK, that would be undress - for his upcoming bout. Finding an open locker, he began to strip down then don his dark trunks and boxing shoes. His shoes were pretty beat up, he really should invest in a new pair soon. Maybe if he won this fight, he would use some of the prize money for that.

Just as he finished, Oliver Glancoe ambled on up to him. Glancoe was one of the gym's owners and it was he who arranged a lot of the events. He was short and built like a fire hydrant. Marty used to laugh and say Glancoe's photo was in the dictionary under the entry word UGLY. He wasn't far from the truth.

"Hey! You're up next ya know, Kovel," he greeted the young man.

"Kovach, sir."

"Right like I can remember everyone's fuckin' names. I do better with faces ya know," Glancoe shrugged, "So where is Marty? I ain't seen him for a couple days now."

"Got me. I couldn't ring him. Hoped he'd be here," sighed Daniel adjusting the string on his trunks, tightening it around his lean waist.

"Look here, boy. You can't back out, trainer or no trainer. We paid for a match, we want a match. If Marty don't show I will see who I can roust up from outta the audience. You're gonna need someone to lace you up and be in your corner. But you are getting your scrawny ass out there, right?" Glencoe had such a winning way about him.

"I wanna fight. I'll go out regardless. Maybe Marty will still show," Dan tried to be optimistic.

"Yeah, maybe I'm the President of these United States of America," grumbled Glencoe, "You be ready. I'll go and see who's sitting out there and might be willing to sub for ya."

And with that the promoter did an abrupt turnaround and headed out of the locker room, a man on a mission. Dan didn't have much more to do to get ready other than reach for his robe and steady his nerves. He always got nervous before a fight, especially now with the absence of Marty.

Still, come hell or high water, he was gonna fight tonight!


Cat's Meow! 1

George Townshend

Boxing Coach
326
?Years Young
22 Posts

"... and if one of his gloves touches you, it'll knock your bleedin' block off!"


They didn’t call him 'The Killer' because of the way he left his opponents sprawled on the canvas in a pool of their own blood and drool. Or, rather, they didn’t call him The Killer just because of the way he left his opponents sprawled on the canvas in a pool of their own blood and drool. It was more the tone of his boxing, if that is not too fanciful a notion. The way he hunted his prey in the ring, like a cold-hearted, cold-blooded shark. Relentless. Focused. Almost machine-like. Some people said it reminded them of Dempsey. Others said it reminded them more of Jack the Ripper.

Even the term ‘boxing’ was a bit of a misnomer, that was for out-fielders who minced and capered about the ring, chipping away at their adversary like a chicken pecking grain: he was technically a slugger, he moved in like a tank, hardly noticing the bullets ricocheting harmlessly of his hull, closer in, closer in, backing the enemy up against the ropes, then BAM! BAM! BAM! Smashing his opponent down with smash after smash until the Ref pulled him off.

Out of the ring, though, he was surprisingly amiable, in a Neanderthal way; so long as you didn’t nettle him, or rub him up the wrong way, or drink his sarsaparilla. Thus it was that the only person to approach the forlorn looking youth, standing all alone in the changing rooms while all the other boxers were being fussed over, hands bandaged, robes donned, pep-talked and otherwise prepared for the fray, was the tough he was about to face in the ring.

“Hiya palsy! You best get y’ gloves on there, pal! We’re gonna be fightin’ soon!” he advised in basso tones, giving Daniel a roughly friendly bump to the shoulder. “Fightin’ without gloves is ag'in the rules.” he helpfully advised, just in case the scrawny looking kid he was about to pulverize wasn’t altogether clear on the Marquis of Queensbury’s book of rules.

“In the olden days they used to fight without gloves, but that was then. Now we always use gloves, else we’d kill the other guy.” He further elucidated, and looking at the solid meat on this guy, you could well believe it.


Cat's Meow! 1

Daniel Kovach

Boxer
452
?Years Young
57 Posts

"In all things, be vigilant."   His father's favorite saying.


As Daniel fidgeted, debating whether to head on over to the tunnel entry so he could be ready when the third event would be announced, his bout, who should come ambling up to him but none other  than The Killer. To be honest, Dan didn't even know the man's actual name, everyone called him Killer. The man was a noted local fighter with years of experience and one look at him confirmed he had been in one hell of a lot of fights. He was quite something in the ring, relentless and ruthless. But those same years had done something to his brains, what with all the punches he had no doubt absorbed. Killer was quite... nuts.

“Hiya palsy! You best get y’ gloves on there, pal! We’re gonna be fightin’ soon! Fightin’ without gloves is ag'in the rules.” 

"Umm, sorry Killer but I ain't fighting you. You're a bit out of my class," Dan quietly informed the man.

Killer kept on talking, "In the olden days they used to fight without gloves, but that was then. Now we always use gloves, else we’d kill the other guy.”

"I got gloves, just waiting for my trainer is all. You should go look for Marty. I think you're later on the card but Marty would know," was the young man's calm advice.

Best not to rile the Killer. That too was common knowledge in the gym.


Cat's Meow! 1

George Townshend

Boxing Coach
326
?Years Young
22 Posts

"... and if one of his gloves touches you, it'll knock your bleedin' block off!"


"Umm, sorry Killer but I ain't fighting you. You're a bit out of my class," Dan quietly informed the man.

“Ah, you just need to put on a couple o’ pounds!” the massive fighter earnestly informed the much lighter lad.

Killer kept on talking, "In the olden days they used to fight without gloves, but that was then. Now we always use gloves, else we’d kill the other guy.”

"I got gloves, just waiting for my trainer is all. You should go look for Marty. I think you're later on the card but Marty would know," was the young man's calm advice.

The Killer suddenly looked very serious, angry even, as if he had suddenly, on some fell whim, decided to live up to his lethal nickname. He turned and yelled at high volume to a group talking in a corner.

“Hey, GEORGIE!!! Dis fella ain’t got no gloves on!! How’s he gonna fight?!!” He seemed very annoyed about the situation for some unknown reason.

A short man wearing a flat cap immediately looked up at an empty space next to him, which was apparently where he expected The Killer’s voice to come from and, after a perplexed moment, twisted his head to where the two mismatched boxers stood amidst the sweaty jostling throng of other boxers and trainers. He wasn’t a dwarf, by any means, but at around 5’5” he was noticeably short compared to the other men in the room. He hustled over to Daniel as fast as his little legs could carry him.

“All right, what’s got YOUR goat?!” he berated the Killer, who towered above him – in answer the giant gave a somewhat muddled version of the conversation which had just taken place, which the little man impatiently cut off halfway through.

“Number one, you’ve already had your fight!” he announced to the Killer, almost having to reach up to poke him in the chest.

“Who’d I fight?” asked the heavyweight, a look of puzzlement on his face.

“I don’t know, when they carried him out we couldn’t recognize him.” replied the diminutive trainer, sardonically. His accent was odd, it had once been hard, flat and middle English, but a lifetime in foreign parts had taken the edge of it and made it, if anything, even flatter and harder.

“Number two, YOU” at this he jerked a thumb at Daniel “come over here.” The same thumb jerked back over his shoulder to the corner of the room from whence he came.

He marched off, and The Killer obediently followed. When they got to their locker, the little fellow ordered some menial to remove the killer's gloves while he himself started scrabbling around for bandages to bind the young boxer’s hands before putting the gloves on. Without even turning around he asked curtly, almost in the manner of a policeman, “You’re Kovach aren’t you?”.


Liked 2

Daniel Kovach

Boxer
452
?Years Young
57 Posts

"In all things, be vigilant."   His father's favorite saying.


Daniel's pointing out he did indeed have gloves, he just was waiting on someone to help put them on, someone like his now missing trainer, that drew quite a reaction from the punch drunk veteran. At least he didn't explode in anger.

"Hey, GEORGIE!!! Dis fella ain’t got no gloves on!! How’s he gonna fight?!!”

His bellow drew the attention of a short intense looking man who came right on over. Daniel recognized the man as a trainer he had seen about off and on but had never spoke to him. He did recall Marty had a few conversations with the fellow, shared some laughs. But then Marty got along with most everybody. Demanding to know what Killer was going on about, the big lug explained the dire situation.

First off this man knew how to take charge, he told Killer he had already fought today and incredibly that seemed to take the addled fighter by surprise. It was funny in a way but also sad. Daniel swore silently to himself not to turn into someone like that. His plan was to make some good money but also know when to get out, hang up the gloves.

"Congrats, champ," Daniel smiled.

  “Number two, YOU” at this walking fire hydrant  jerked a thumb at Daniel “come over here.” The same thumb jerked back over his shoulder to the corner of the room from whence he came.

They all trooped over together. The Killer was assigned somebody to take care of him, taking off his gloves and promptly seemed to have forgotten Daniel. That was OK by him. This trainer now reached for some bandaging even as he addressed the young pugilist.

“You’re Kovach aren’t you?”.

"Yes sir, I am. Daniel Kovach, I'm up for the next fight on the card. Normally Marty would be here but ...well, so far he's a no show. Mr. Glencoe said he's gonna find me a corner man at least," Dan explained very calmly.

 

 

 


George Townshend

Boxing Coach
326
?Years Young
22 Posts

"... and if one of his gloves touches you, it'll knock your bleedin' block off!"


"Yes sir, I am. Daniel Kovach, I'm up for the next fight on the card. Normally Marty would be here but ...well, so far he's a no show.”

“Slavin?” confirmed the small man and he tugged Daniel’s gloves from his grip and placed them on the bench for now “Uh-huh.” Townshend could have told him plenty about Police Sergeant Slavin, but he was taciturn by nature, and even more tight lipped by bitter experience. There was also a certain loyalty between a trainer and a boxer that was almost sacrosanct. If Townshend had badmouthed the old retired bull in any way whatsoever, he would not only expect this gangly lad to try and rip him apart, but would be ashamed for him if he didn’t.

“Mr. Glencoe said he's gonna find me a corner man at least," Dan explained very calmly.

Townshend turned his permanent look of disgruntlement up a notch, to sneer level. “Glencoe? Puh!” was all the elucidation he offered, then a pragmatic “I’ll second you, put out your mitts.” The diminutive Englishman started to deftly, but unhurriedly, bandage Daniel’s hands with all the care of a professional who knows what they’re doing and don’t have to impress anyone by doing the job quickly or making the strips of cloth tighter than they needed to be. That was a common mistake, and one that did more damage to the tender bones in the hand than leaving them unbandaged and unprotected.

He announced the operation was concluded by closing Daniel’s hands into a fist and confirming his own handiwork with a terse “All right.” He then picked up the right glove, giving it the once over. The gloves were old and worn, probably too worn really, but high quality. They’d probably been Slavin’s once, or Slavin had picked a second-hand pair; a good second-hand pair, he would give him that.

He looked at Kovach’s newly wrapped hands and held up the glove. “These fit all right?” he asked.

As he tied on the first glove he snapped out a question to the fellow helping The Killer off with his mittens.

"Brownie, who's Kovach up against in the next bout?"

If he was going to second this kid, he'd need to know what he was going to be up against out on the canvas.


Daniel Kovach

Boxer
452
?Years Young
57 Posts

"In all things, be vigilant."   His father's favorite saying.


This man, George was all he'd heard so far when it came to his name, recognized Marty naturally enough though he didn't voice any opinion. When it came to Mr. Glencoe though it was very obvious he didn't think much of the promoter. Well, Daniel wasn't exactly impressed with the fellow though either. But what this George did say was much more important than opinions.

“I’ll second you, put out your mitts.”

"You will? Swell, thanks," Dan extended both hands obediently, he was used to following trainer's directions and of course he knew this drill.

He knew what he was doing, no surprise there. Daniel was silently impressed with the proper wrap job, it felt good, it felt right. Next came the gloves which George began to fit on him one at a time.

"Yeah, they fit me fine," Dan nodded to the fella's question.

George had another question but voiced to the wizened fellow who had been assisting Killer, "Brownie, who's Kovach up against in the next bout?"

"Don't know his name. Some darkie boy from outside of town. Probably a farm boy. It's always a good thing to have at least one nigrah on the card. The crowd loves to see a white man thrash that sort," Brownie smiled, revealing a bunch of missing teeth and the ones that were left were in bad shape also.

Dan raised one eyebrow. He had nothing against the negroes personally but he certainly knew the local sentiments too. Despite Brownie's confidence in the outcome, he wasn't going to be cocky about this or any fight.

"Some of those people can fight quite well. I've seen some in action. I did a little checking on the tale of the tape and he's five foot six so I should have the reach on 'im," Dan pointed out, he was indeed one tall drink of water.

 

 


Cat's Meow! 1

George Townshend

Boxing Coach
326
?Years Young
22 Posts

"... and if one of his gloves touches you, it'll knock your bleedin' block off!"


"Some of those people can fight quite well. I've seen some in action. I did a little checking on the tale of the tape and he's five foot six so I should have the reach on 'im," Dan pointed out, he was indeed one tall drink of water.

Townshend’s devious little mind was turning these facts over rapidly. Cons: he’d probably never seen this mystery opponent fight before and, like Daniel, would have to very quickly try and weight him up once he actually began fighting – and that might be too late; secondly, the man was shorter than Daniel: that was OK if he was another outfielder, their man would, indeed, have a little more reach – but if the feller was a brawler or a swarmer, then Daniel’s long arms would actually be something of an embarrassment as he struggled to defend himself at close quarters.

The fact that he was black was neither here nor there in terms of the actual fight; psychologically many of the black population were indeed cowed by the state’s white population. Florida could boast, if that was the word, the highest rate of lynchings in the entire U.S. Sometimes entire black settlements, Rosewood for instance, had been razed to the ground by white mobs. But there was a growing element, ‘uppity blacks’ as they were known by the majority of whites, who were starting to stick up for themselves and the rights as citizens that they theoretically possessed. A big factor in the Miami area was the presence of black men, often seasonal workers, from the Bahamas. The British Empire was hardly the epitome of racial equality, but compared to the native Floridian blacks, these men had the self-esteem of princes.

Now the pros. Daniel’s opponent would fight as well as he would fight; the big advantage was the judges – they would hate the negro to a man. All Kovach had to do was come somewhere near on points and he would be bound to be declared the winner. Oh, and he had to survive the match, too. That was important.

Townshend summed up these complex thoughts in two words: “We’ll see.” He finished tying the gloves and looked the lad up and down. “All right, how do you usually warm up?” he asked shortly. He wouldn’t put the feller through a warm-up routine he wasn’t used to, this had to feel like a normal fight, even though it was probably going to be a step up from the fights he’d been in previously.


Daniel Kovach

Boxer
452
?Years Young
57 Posts

"In all things, be vigilant."   His father's favorite saying.


OOC: I love all George's tactical musings but then his terse assessment. :)

“We’ll see.” His brand new trainer finished tying the gloves and looked the lad up and down. “All right, how do you usually warm up?”

"Just do a bit of air punching, practice my jabs and hooks, you know," Daniel answered, "Jump a bit of rope to loosen up my leg muscles. But it doesn't take much and I'm ready to go."

"Marty always said save as much of your energy as you can for the ring. If the fight goes into the later rounds, the best fighter doesn't always win but the one who can outlast the other guy."

Just then they could hear a round of applause from inside the auditorium, the fans were celebrating someone having just won the current match on the card. That meant he was next. Sure enough Glencoe then stuck his mug into the locker room. Well, so much for warmups.

"Kovach, you're next, kid!" he paused to see the pair standing next to each other, "Oh, George, yer gonna be in his corner? Swell !You lucked out, kid. Listen to dis guy, he knows what's he doin'."

Dan then threw his thin robe over his shoulders and looked to George, "Thanks again, sir."

 


Cat's Meow! 1

George Townshend

Boxing Coach
326
?Years Young
22 Posts

"... and if one of his gloves touches you, it'll knock your bleedin' block off!"


"Marty always said save as much of your energy as you can for the ring. If the fight goes into the later rounds, the best fighter doesn't always win but the one who can outlast the other guy."

Townshend declined to comment on the ex-policeman’s 'sage' advice and subconsciously braced himself for any other old fashioned peculiarities he might soon be seeing in the lad’s technique. At least he had him fighting in gloves. “Oh well, it’s nearly time to go in anyway.” he grunted.

Just then they could hear a round of applause from inside the auditorium, the fans were celebrating someone having just won the current match on the card. That meant he was next. Sure enough Glencoe then stuck his mug into the locker room. Well, so much for warmups.

"Kovach, you're next, kid!" he paused to see the pair standing next to each other, "Oh, George, yer gonna be in his corner? Swell !You lucked out, kid. Listen to dis guy, he knows what's he doin'."

Townshend gave a curt nod of acknowledgement, caught in the trap, perhaps common to all skilled misanthropes, of being complimented by someone he didn’t particularly like. Then again ‘someone he didn’t like’ comprised ninty nine percent (and three quarters) of most people this tetchy little crosspatch came across in life.

Dan then threw his thin robe over his shoulders and looked to George, "Thanks again, sir."

“All right, cut the mushy stuff!” George grumped as he pushed the boxer in the direction of the door to the ring, just turning long enough to instruct Brownie to “Clean up the Killer and take him for a Soda”. Townshend, despite the miniscule length of his stride soon caught up and overtook Daniel and started to push a path for his man through the crowd.

“Out of the way, fighter coming through!” he repeated as he quite rudely elbowed his way through the men who, in many cases, towered above him. The polo necked jumper and flat flat cap that he wore, along with the towel thrown over his shoulder, were almost a uniform for trainers and corner-men,and his passage was contested by none of the gawkers and illegal gamblers (and even some bloodthirsty woman) who made up the spectators. As they pushed through and the ring came in sight, Townshend got his first sight of the fighter they were up against. He was glad that Daniel was behind him and didn’t see the flash of concern that no doubt crossed his face when he saw what they were up against.