The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 128

is nothing more discouraging than to
discover that your most effective blows do not feeze your opponent,
and only the knowledge of what a defeat at the hands of a new sparring
partner would mean to his future, kept him plugging away at the hopeless
task of attempting to knock out this mountain of bone and muscle.

For a few minutes Billy Byrne played with his man, hitting him when and
where he would. He fought, crouching, much as Jeffries used to fight,
and in his size and strength was much that reminded Cassidy of the
fallen idol that in his heart of hearts he still worshiped.

And then, like a panther, the mucker sprang in with a vicious left hook
to the jaw, followed, with lightning rapidity, by a right upper cut to
the chin that lifted Battling Dago Pete a foot from the floor to drop
him, unconscious, against the foot of the further wall.

It was a clean knock-out, and when Cassidy and Hurricane got
through ministering to the fallen man, and indications of returning
consciousness were apparent, the professor turned to Billy.

"Got any more 'hopes' lyin' around loose?" asked the mucker with a grin.
"I guess the big dinge's safe for a while yet."

"Not if you'll keep on stayin' away from the booze, kid," said Professor
Cassidy, "an' let me handle you."

"I gotcha Steve," said Billy; "go to it; but first, stake me to a feed.
The front side of my stomach's wrapped around my back bone."



CHAPTER XVIII. THE GULF BETWEEN

FOR three months Billy met has-beens, and third- and fourth-rate
fighters from New York and its environs. He thrashed them all--usually
by the knockout route and finally local sports commenced talking about
him a bit, and he was matched up with second-raters from other cities.

These men he cleaned up as handily as he had the others, so that it was
apparent to fight fandom that the big, quiet "unknown" was a comer;
and pretty soon Professor Cassidy received an offer from another
trainer-manager to match Billy against a real "hope" who stood in the
forefront of hopedom.

This other manager stated that he thought the mill would prove excellent
practice for his man who was having difficulty in finding opponents.
Professor Cassidy thought so too, and grinned for two hours straight
after reading the challenge.

The details of the fight were quickly arranged. In accordance with the
state regulations it was to be a ten round, no decision bout--the weight
of the gloves was prescribed by law.

The name of the "white hope" against whom Billy was to go

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