Hey, folks! Thanks for coming. There a few seats still left down front, and we’re letting the kids sit here in front of the podium. I promise I’ll watch my language.
Boy, that barbecue sure smells good, doesn’t it? Can I have a round of applause for the lovely Miss Valerie, and all the kitchen help here at St. John’s mission? Man, they outdo themselves every year, don’t they? I wish I’d had them wait to start cooking until I was done talking, ’cause nobody’s going to be listening to me! I promise I won’t take long, but I always like to start things off with the story of The Big Man. He’s the reason we’re all here, after all. Well, Miss Valerie would be here anyway, but we’ll get to that. But to tell you about The Big Man, I got to remind you of a little about me.
Here is what most people know about me: 51 and 0. That’s right, undefeated in the ring for fifteen years, a record like no other heavyweight ever had. And brother, I’ll tell you, I had everything that goes with it, too: money, fame, and loads of other stuff I won’t say in front of these kids. What I didn’t get was respect. You see, there wasn’t anybody fighting then who was near as good as me. I didn’t have no George Foreman or Joe Frazier, like Ali had, so everybody wondered if I was really that good. Barney Nilson from World Sports Network always said how it was a shame that I couldn’t get in a time machine and go fight Joe Louis or Jack Dempsey, so I could get a fair test, and that was a nice thing to say. But Phil Drake from The Pugilist magazine really loved to stick the knife in me. He always called me TECHNICALLY the best heavyweight who ever lived. Can you believe that? TECHNICALLY? Sometimes, I wanted to get him in the ring and give him about five minutes of TECHNICALLY. But that’s wouldn’t prove nothing, would it, kids?
The thing is, I started to get bored. My fighting was getting sloppy, and I was afraid that sometime in the ring I wouldn’t be paying attention, and some damn bum would get in a lucky shot and put me on the canvas, and then I wouldn’t even have TECHNICALLY anymore. So I decided to hang ‘em up. Took my undefeated record and rode into the sunset. Did some commentating, made a few action movies, did all those things that retired athletes do. But you know what else I did? I kept in shape. For real, I mean. I worked out and sparred secretly, not letting anybody know, but keeping myself ready, until that guy, that bad man who nobody wanted to fight, that dude that could help me take that TECHNICALLY off my name, would come down from heaven and answer my prayers. And you know what? He did exactly that!
The Big Man came down from a snowy mountain in some country in Asia that I still can’t pronounce the name of to this day. Six feet ten inches tall, and a wingspan you couldn’t believe, straight knockin’ dudes out left and right. Then that slimeball promoter Jefferson Carter got ahold of that freak of nature brought him to the states, and started carving a path to the championship belt for him. In just two years, The Big Man put together a string of nineteen first round knockouts. Six of those poor bastards spent more than a week in the hospital (Oops, sorry about the language – I promise I’ll be more careful). The point is, everybody in the whole damn sport was freaking out about the dude. He was going to destroy boxing. Every record in the book was about to be a joke. No one could stop him.
No one ‘cept me, of course!
They all said I was crazy. I was forty-one years old, and I hadn’t fought for five years, and I was going to put myself in the way of that human H-bomb? I was a dead man! That’s what they all thought, anyway, and it was fine with me. I needed them to not believe in me. I needed them to think I was through, finished, kaput, as old Father Fred used to say. That’s how I was going to take a big old rubber eraser to the TECHNICALLY.
To be continued on Monday…
*** Copyright 2017 by Mud Toe Sasquatch – all rights reserved