Showman (1937)

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SHOWMAN he'd come to Carson City to spar with Corbett. Even then Billy Delaney, Corbett's trainer, and I had figured him as a comer. Anybody who could stand up to Corbett the way he did was good, whether Corbett was in shape or not. Since then Delaney had been working on him out in California and the boy I saw that night was coming right along— he had strength and youth and a wonderful left, real courage and the massive stamina of a big Newfoundland dog. That evening he was supposed to go ten rounds apiece with two men— Steve O'Donnell, and Bob Armstrong, the negro. He won a decision over Armstrong on schedule, but broke his hand doing it. The crowd booed him for a quitter when he couldn't go on. But I followed into his dressing-room and asked for a look at the injured hand. They cut off his glove and there it was, swelled up like an orange, badly cracked. No fake about that. "Well, Jeff," I said, "what are you going to do now?" "I'm going back to California," he answered morosely. "The hell with this New York." And go he did, in spite of my efforts to persuade him to stay and give us another trial. But he stuck in my head, as tempting ideas will, for there was no doubt he had stuff. A while later my wife and I were having dinner at Shanley's and I was feeling blue and she was trying to cheer me up. Finally, I said: "Look here, dear, if I knew where there was a man 196