“Hey,” Freedman says. “Where do you get all that tape?”

“Feel of it,” Jack says. “It’s soft ain’t it? Don’t be a hick.”

Freedman stands there all the time while Jack bandages the other hand, and one of the boys that’s going to handle him brings the gloves and I pull them on and work them around.

“Say, Freedman,” Jack asks, “what nationality is this Walcott?”

“I don’t know,” Solly says. “He’s some sort of a Dane.”

“He’s a Bohemian,” the lad who brought the gloves said.

The referee called them out to the centre of the ring and Jack walks out. Walcott comes out smiling. They met and the referee put his arm on each of their shoulders.

“Hello, popularity,” Jack says to Walcott.

“Be yourself.”

“What do you call yourself ‘Walcott’ for?” Jack says. “Didn’t you know he was a nigger?”

“Listen—” says the referee, and he gives them the same old line. Once Walcott interrupts him. He grabs Jack’s arm, and says, “Can I hit when he’s got me like this?”

“Keep your hands off me,” Jack says. “There ain’t no moving-pictures of this.”

They went back to their corners. I lifted the bathrobe off Jack and he leaned on the ropes and flexed his knees a couple of times and scuffed his shoes in the rosin. The gong rang and Jack turned quick and went out. Walcott came toward him and they touched gloves and as soon as Walcott dropped his hands Jack jumped his left into his face twice. There wasn’t anybody ever boxed better than Jack. Walcott was after him, going forward all the time with his chin on his chest. He’s a hooker and he carries his hands pretty low. All he knows is to get in there and sock. But every time he gets in there close, Jack has the left hand in his face. It’s just as though it’s automatic. Jack just raises the left hand up and it’s in Walcott’s face. Three or four times Jack brings the right over but Walcott gets it on the shoulder or high up on the head. He’s just like all these hookers. The only thing he’s afraid of is another one of the same kind. He’s covered everywhere you can hurt him. He don’t care about a left hand in his face.

After about four rounds Jack has him bleeding bad and his face all cut up, but every time Walcott’s got in close he’s socked so hard he’s got two big red patches on both sides just below Jack’s ribs. Every time he gets in close, Jack ties him up, then gets one hand loose and uppercuts him, but when Walcott gets his hands loose he socks Jack in the body so they can hear it outside in the street. He’s a socker.

It goes along like that for three rounds more. They don’t talk any. They’re working all the time. We worked over Jack plenty too, in between the rounds. He don’t look good at all but he never does much work in the ring. He don’t move around much and the left hand is just automatic. It’s just like it was connected with Walcott’s face and Jack just had to wish it in every time. Jack is always calm in close and he doesn’t waste any juice. He knows everything about working in close too and he’s getting away with a lot of stuff. While they were in our corner I watched him tie Walcott up, get his right hand loose, turn it, and come up with an uppercut that got Walcott’s nose with the heel of the glove. Walcott was bleeding bad and leaned his nose on Jack’s shoulder so as to give Jack some of it too, and Jack sort of lifted his shoulder sharp and caught him against the nose, and then brought down the right hand and did the same thing again.

Walcott was sore as hell. By the time they’d gone five rounds he hated Jack’s guts. Jack wasn’t sore; that is, he wasn’t any sorer than he always was. He certainly did used to make the fellows he fought hate boxing. That was why he hated Richie Lewis so. He never got Richie’s goat. Richie Lewis always had about three new dirty things Jack couldn’t do. Jack was as safe as a church all the time he was in there, as long as he was strong. He certainly was treating Walcott rough. The funny thing was it looked as though Jack was an open classic boxer. That was because he had all that stuff too.

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Categories: Hemingway, Ernest