The 6th Round

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Sports  |  House: Booksie Classic
The 6th round is a story of overcoming adversity, a true underdog story. Follow the story of an aging boxer as he attempts to fight in the heavyweight division.

Submitted: June 23, 2017

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Submitted: June 23, 2017

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 From ringside inside Cardiff Gym I can see Evander Floyd's expression clearly : Emotionless...Focused on absolutely nothing except the win, but this is a sparring match. He stands there in his corner, the corner mat colored blue, attentive to each and every instruction from his cornerman. Jay Lansky was a welterweight when he fought in the 60s and 70s, he quickly took to the corner training fighters after a mediocre fighting career. Since then...he's advised the greatest Cruiserweight champion ever. 

"How many times I gotta tell yah!" He says in a thick steel mill town accent. "Move around this guy! Lamanna's gonna knock your head off if you try your power punches too early!" Evander Floyd nods and paces front to back, listening. "This kid is a tank. A bull. If you're gonna throw your power punches it's gotta be in the later rounds. Or catch him napping, but I don't see that happening," Lansky says, he removes his worn out cap and scratches at his bare scalp. Bobby, the younger cornerman, feeds a water bottle straw into Floyd's mouth as the boxer stands up against his corner; his arms sprawled out over the top ropes.  "We're gonna have to go back to basics for this one kid! Alright, Blue! Start giving him those short bombs I told you about," Lansky signals to Floyd's sparring partner. The other man nods and just side to side a little. I'm personally confused, but Evander moves in on his toes, quick and hot dogging. When suddenly, his sparring partner throws a short hook to the body from his orthodox stance. Evander inches in, assuming he's caught the other man napping. The other man cuts and fakes the hook, suddenly rushing toward Evander with a mean left hook. Floyd's southpaw stance causes his chin to continue forward, connecting with the man's fist. Imagine two trains running straight into each other...Floyd hits the floor with an expression of cognizance with his face to the ceiling and ass on the canvas. He gets up after 4. The boxer looks at Lansky. 
  "Good job, Blue! Good job!" Evander waits for instruction from Lansky, patiently, awaiting his criticism. "How many times do I gotta tell you! Your stance can work to your advantage, or present your weaknesses. This Lamanna will get inside your box so fast, so aggressively that you'll get frustrated and want to go toe-to-toe," Evander waits for it, "And he'll win. Box him kid...really box him! Timing! Timing!" Lansky scratches again. "Endurance is the factor in this one...and this Lamanna kid has got plenty of it. This time, focus of Blue's arms: Bring those down, the chin and body will follow." Evander nods and acknowledges. "Ring it!" Lansky says. And it does. 
Evander strikes a quick upper cut at his partner and wobbles the man. Jab jab jab with the right, then a quick hook with the same hand. Down goes Blue. "Alright!" Bobby shouts. Lansky throws the young man an annoyed mug. 
Lanksy's a husky man , much unlike his 1975 welterweight self. He unified all 4 major titles that year. Nevertheless, he has been with Floyd since Athens 2004. Neither one of them would be here if they didn't have each other.  Neither one of them is the brain or the brawn. They are both sweet scientists in the sport of box.
  "Don't think 'you don't have the legs, Kid. "Lansky looks over his fighter: still pacing, looking straight ahead now. "You've gotta control the pace of those legs or else you'll overheat and burnout. Lamanna's got the endurance of a bare knuckle boxer, and plenty of pluck too." This is not said to discourage Floyd, but to inform him on the reality of the situation. "But you've got moxie, kid, and that's enough to go the distance," He tells the 35 year old Evander Floyd.
  "You get use to short fights Lans. I don't mean to underestimate this guy," the other boxer snaps his head from left to right and then a quick 360 rotation to relax his neck muscles. 
  "Well if you try toe to toe too early, then it will be a short fight for you," Lansky returns. Evander smiles, and at this moment I make the mistake of chuckling.
  "What?! Little boy with the pad and camera! Just watch and leech." Lansky frustrated now, "You're lucky I don't tell your boss to reassign you to edit the midnight Top 10 reel," Lansky moves to the side and raises two ropes in order to exit the ring. Evander Floyd stops smiling. Ding! Work.
 A few hours after the work out, I find myself sitting with Floyd  in a pizza parlor at a medium sized booth near some pin ball machines, race car games, and Sunset Riders. Nevertheless, the parlor was pretty much empty. Evander's been real generous with his time, I appreciate this... Other fighters are either overly flamboyant, or very reserved... I wouldn't trust me if I were them too. I put my paper pad on the table but leave it shut. He's 35 years old: A mental note.
"How's the philly cheese?" I'm real casual. 
"The provolone reminds me of this deli we had back home," He grins, "This ain't Ribeye though."
"It ain't?" I say in disappointment.
"It's like New York or something. Lean like a spleen little baby," He chomps into another bite, and I down some French fries. "Those fries've got a nice crunch to 'em," He looks up and smiles at my enjoyment of this spread. 
  "These are the best kinds..." I drink some water now and get curious, "Tell me something, Evander Floyd," He finds me saying his full name funny, "Is age just a number here?" After this his smile slowly dissipates, and I question my limits here.
"What do you think?" He's honest.
"This kid's really good. But, he's not a boxer."
"He ain't a street fighter either," The point being: He's clinically trained.
"What gives you an advantage, then?" I ask, then another fry.
"The Mental," Taps his head with an index finger and looks me in the eyes, "If I don't take my time with this guy, approach him with caution, watch him well, pay attention to him and him alone, then I might as well not show up."
  "Physical prowess has got nothing to do with it?" I press.
"Did you see my sparring partner in there?" He says, already having an answer.
"Yea, he looked a little smaller than you. He was strong looking too though."
  "...Throwing more punches...and  a little faster than me, no?"
  "I suppose."
"I assure you he was. From the headgear you couldn't tell, but that was Jimmy Carrera."
  "The Light heavyweight champ?"
  "One and the same."
  "Why?"
"I know Lammana is strong. If I get tagged in the right spot I'm going down. One thing I figured out though, Carrera and Lamanna have got similar styles. Hell, I'll substitute speed for power right now in training, even though Jimmy still gives you some real stingers if he tags you in a sweet spot," We both laugh and then pick at some fries. I leave my pad closed. 
  "There's no written game plan then?"
  "There never really is kid. Lamanna will adapt to me just like I will to him. Then, Lansky tells me what to fix and I try my best. But..." He looks away at our pretty waitress and then back to me "That ring is a real bitch sometimes," he takes another fry.  "How about you, Tibbs? Which fight would you say's been your favorite so far?"
  I take a few seconds, "I'm not sure I can call it a favorite, but it was unbelievable. It was an exhibition at a gym in Santa Monica." 
  "I believe it, dude." He smiles, "'UH GYM,' huh? What made it so great?"
 "No boxing gloves."
 "How much was the pot?"
 "The winner walked away with $3000." 
 "That's not too bad...how old were the kids?" I'm stupefied by his casualness. 
 "The were both only 16."
 "Not too bad for a bare knuckle match..."
 "They wore tape..."
"How nice." 
After our meal we head back to the hotel.
 
 We're in the back of an Uber for about 5 minutes in silence before Floyd opens up.
  "What got you into sports writing?"
 "Sports..."
  "Which one," he says. 
  "Yours...but writing wasn't the dream at first," 
  "No?" I take a while to think if I actually want to share this about myself. Whatever.
  "I was a contending welterweight with a shot at turning pro, until Ronnie Macklin's left hook turned me onto reality. I went 6-0 before that brute showed me what time it was," I look out onto the beaming bright lights all along the strip. Waves of neon lining this beautiful place, this place known all over the world; and here I am with a tired out boxer and my woes.  
  "You're a great writer, Tibbs, whatever the matter." I take it for what it's worth, feeling shameful now after this act of humility. 
  "Ive never gone up against a fighter like Lamanna though... I don't know where to start with this guy..."
  The truth is...Rocco Lamanna is a bull of a fighter, even at 6'1. During the weigh in, Lamanna checked in at 234.9: a slim waist, and these massive arms: long, bulky, chizzled arms. This guy is a killer. His style is what'll kill the boxer in Evander. He produces a sleek insider swarmer technique which causes him to poach and prey on opponents, cutting the size of the ring, and once he's inside he'll begin to throw combos and body punches to stun an opponent. Lastly, out of 18 fights this kid has won all bouts by knockout, giving him a victory by ko percentage of 100%. So, the 11 year age difference should be the least of Floyd's problems. 
  "Honestly, Tibbs... I don't know what's gonna happen tonight... This kid is good, probably the best out there. I know people doubt me as a heavyweight. 'I'm too skinny. I don't have the power. I just plain out don't have it anymore." We both take the situation in, and then there's an atmosphere of optimism that forms in here. "If I'm going down as the Cruiserweight that never made it in the heavyweight class, then I wanna be knocked down by the best heavyweight there is." With that I finish my questioning and sit in silence until we get to the hotel. 
 
  I always find the atmosphere of  the dressing room before a fight to be distressful. The fighter because of the other man trying to hurt him. The trainer who only wants the best for his fight. The reporter who needs to write a good story, or else he'll end up in the editing room for the rest of his life...
  "Evander!!!" Into the dressing room comes a tall, chubby man with a grey tux, the vest a bright blue. From his eccentricity, and my knowledge of this world, I pin point this man as Freddy Hanford. 
  Freddy Hanford graduated with an M.A. from the Don King school of Big Bucks and Bullshit. This sonofabitch pulled enough strings to get me barred from attending any matches in NYC for an alleged slander piece I did on him involving College match riggings. All boxers involved, and convicted, were revoked entry into all of the major boxing organizations including: IBF, WBC, and WBO. I have not covered a boxing match in person in New York for over 4 years. 
 "I see the boxing commission chose your media outlet for you..." He says in a real bitter, petty tone. I play this down. 
  "Nah, Tibbs is one of the greats. An athletes writer, honest and fair." He smiles at me, then he looks over at Freddy, "Something I rarely saw when you were promoting me."
  Freddy smiles and rubs his belly, but the facade is no use, that comment stung him.
"Lamanna thinks other wise," In a presumptuous tone, or at least that's what I got.
  "He's a kid, flash is all we think about then."
  "Ungrateful he isn't."
  "I forget how 'you're in the ring with us.' 'You still using that one?" 
 Freddy looks over at me and realizes that there's no one to save face with in this dressing room. He can be real here.
  "It worked on you... and if this kid is as stupid as you were..then I figure I can't go wrong." 
  "He ain't, won't be for long anyway." 
  "Look, all  nonsense aside, child," Freddy says in a "humble" Louisiana draw, "I've come in here to offer my services once more..."
  "Let's hear it, then," the champ says.
  "Make it past the 4th round and I'll give you 7 percent of my earnings along with the purse you're already getting." 
  "If you were to say the 8th, then maybe..." A sense of sarcasm.
  "You're tired, Floyd."
  "Just of you, Freddy. This kid will dump you if he doesn't win..."
  "Who's gonna make that happen?"
  "Go take a seat, Freddy. Enjoy your time at these matches while it lasts." 
 "Look, just give us a fight worth watching, huh? Make it long enough... If you feel yourself buckling in the 3rd...'just hold out a little longer will you? Alotta people got money on you making past the 3rd, give the crowd what they want," He speaks as though it means something.
  "Wanna know something, Freddy... It's funny how you got all that money but no one to enjoy it with..."
  "Families only slow you down. You'll realize that when you're looking up at the ceiling while on your back on the canvas floor."
  "Just don't take any bathroom breaks ok, Freddy."
 "Ok, champ!" He dons a fake smile, "Goodnight, leech," he says to me. I flip him the bird and smile back. 
  "Let me tape you up kid," Lansky tells his boxer. Evander paces back and forth, he looks toward the door. "Sit down so I can tie you up, Pop." 
  "Remind me... How long have you two been together?" I ask. Lansky concentrates on Floyd's mitts. 
  "Since my fight with Yuri Escobar..."
  "13 years, kid! Jezus Chrystus! Are you trying to jinx us with that stupid question. 
  "Ease up, Lans. A long time, Tibbs, a long time." 
  The door opens again and in comes a man dress in baby blue, and grey. Evander smiles at the man with admiration.
  "How 'yuh feelin', Evander?" The official asks.
  "A little raw, Marty," he says jokingly. "How's Kevin?" 
  "Good, good. He'll be competing in the world champs this year. Middleweight." He says, proud of his son.
  "He's a real contender." 
  "Thanks, Champ. Alright, I wanna be clear with my rules here. Nothing different : No shots below the belt. No holding for longer than 4 seconds. No hitting on the break. No head butts, foreword or upward. No shots behind the head or to your opponents back. No 3 knockdown rule. Lastly, the bell does not save you if you are knocked down. Do you understand these rules?" Floyd nods in acknowledgement. "Alright, good luck, Champ." Marty the ref leaves the room. 
  "Ok, Kid, stay loose now," Lansky rubs on Evander's shoulders and biceps. "This Lamanna starts slow, so these first few rounds are gonna be real tough. You're gonna get trigger happy...Do not pull the trigger in these early rounds. Wear him down round by round. This kid is a freaking bull, resilience and vigor is what this guy's got going for him. Pretty tough stuff if you ask me." Floyd keeps his head down and nods, listening intently. "Patience, that's the only was to win."
 "Let's go to work." Evander hops off the table and heads out the door, we all follow. 
This hallway gives off a loud echo, the clicking and clacking of our footwear is all I can really hear. As we approach the opening into the arena I can't help but feel anxious from the loud roar of the crowd.  Suddenly, the tarp covering us from the arena swings open, and there are thousands of people jeering and applauding. Thirsty for more entertainment. The main event. This setting, these feelings, all this has been embedded in our DNA before anyone can remember. 
  The arena is stacked, three levels of seating in total, a giant cube monitor with corporate sponsors hangs over the ring; the cube displays a live image of Floyd making his way there. I can't help but look up a couple of times to see myself on this huge screen. 
  We get into the ring and I ready my camera. I check my settings and then pop my lens into Evander's direction. Snap, snap, snap, from all over. These snaps used to hurt my ears, but I got over it when my first check came in. I snap a few pics of the crowd, judges, sign girls, and then I turn around... I had never seen Lamanna in person up until this point. He has the appearance of a Greek Demi-God warrior; so chizzled, tall, tight, and intimidating. His upper body has the triangle frame. Then, when you look at his eyes you can't help but feel anxious. They're deep and scary looking, small and sharp like a true villain. Even his cornermen are huge! His manager is a big bellied Canadian man that retained 3 light heavyweight titles for 5 straight years. I start snapping pictures of their mob, then I point my camera into the mass of people all around us. This never gets old... the people, the loud cheering, the excitement... all 'this never gets old.
  Suddenly, the announcer comes over the loud speaker, the crowd quiets down just a bit. The singing of the national anthem is sung by a 19 year old blonde from Pensacola. After the singing is over, the introductions begin.
  "Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Oasis Casino, 'the last patch of green in the Mojave.' Tonight's bout is brought to you by Sweet Science Boxing, in association with Hanford productions. This bout is for the WBC Heavyweight Championship. Ladies and Gentlemen, it's showtime!" The crowd erupts in a frenzy. I snap snap snap.
"The third man in the ring tonight, calling his 300th match, and 104th title fight...Marty Junta! First! In the red corner...Dawning black trunks with white stripes. Weighing in at 235 pounds, standing 6 feet and 1 inch tall, with a combined record of 24-0, and All 24 victories by way of knockout...Hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota: The Unyielding chin...Troy Lamanna!" 
 With this the crowd goes wild. Sitting in a comfortable stool near Evander's corner I can't help but notice these two beautiful girls with amazing bodies cheering. But it's interesting seeing how crazy these girls are getting for Lamanna, and how once girls like those swooned over Evander during his prime. I look up at Evander and notice him looking at the bottom of the pad in his corner. His back is facing the center of the ring. There's extravagance and excitement  happening all around him, but for some reason he chooses to ignore it. He hangs his head and points his face down as his arms straddle the top ropes. His eyes open now and he lifts his head to see the crowd.
"I'm the blue corner, wearing all white trunks, and weighing in at 215 pounds. He stands at 6 feet 3 inches, and with a combined record of 43 wins, 2 losses, and one draw. 32 of those wins are by way of knockout. Fighting out of Los Angeles, California: The former undisputed Cruiserweight Championg of the world, The People's Champion... Evander Floyd!" The crowd explodes in what I can only describe as admiration. Floyd, in all his stoicism, only raises one arm in the air to acknowledge the people. Both men head toward the center of the ring. The announcer stands behind Marty Junta now and positions the mic right below Junta's lower lip, as Junta stands between the fighters he goes over the instructions of the fight one last time.
 "Do you understand my rules?" He looks at Lamanna. Yes. "Do you?" Now at Floyd. He nods in agreement. "Alright, let's get it on!" Marty says in a deep, loud growl of a voice. Both fighters head back to their corners and await the sound of the bell.
  'Ding!' The sound of the bell introduces round number one. Lamanna heads straight toward Floyd. Floyd stays on his toes, maneuvering to the left. Lamanna stay with him and actually cuts the ring down to size. Floyd backs up and tries to the right. Lamanna quickly shifts direction and begins to cut the ring down again. Lamanna is stalking Floyd. This is the worst kind of fighter Floyd needs. He tries out a few jabs, connecting to Lamanna forehead. This isn't doing anything for Floyd besides testing the young, strong fighter. 
 "That's it, kid! Open 'em up, see who's in there." I hear from Floyd's corner. Suddenly, after sustaining two jabs, Lamanna dips to his right and out of nowhere connects a stinging right hook into the body of Floyd. Luckily, Floyd reacts and uses his left arm to cover up. Floyd shuffles back and covers up. Here comes a combination from Lamanna: Right hook to the body, another, left cross, and a right hook to the head of Floyd. Floyd cannot roll the punches, but he avoids the last hook completely, a punch which would've definitely sent him to the canvas early. Ding! That signifies the end of round one, each boxer moves to their respected corner of the ring. Both boxers remain standing during the break... I open my pad up and listen.
 "You've got to pick and choose when to start your jabs. Start to early and he'll cock his combos ready the second he sees tiredness in your legs." Lansky shouts, trying to beat the overwhelming volume of the crowd. "These first few rounds he'll probably lose on purpose, just to tire you out. Don't let him pump you up, Kid! It's a trap! Break him down first, let him try out those combos and tire himself out!" 
 "He's fast, Lans... What do I do about that?" Floyd asks with his back toward the ring, his focus pointed straight ahead.
 "Get out of the way, and counter. Hit his arms too. When the arms go, the chin will introduce himself," Evander nods.
 "What's he like?" The assistant asks.
 "It's like punching a cinder block, and then getting one thrown at you," Floyd looks at me and then winks. "Write that down," Lansky slips Evander's  mouthpiece back into his mouth. He whips his head left to right. Ding! Evander Floyd turns around to face his man. I look at the announcers calling the fight, both dressed like members of the rat pack. They're calling the fight with plenty of color, but the action in the ring is what counts. Pure class. 
 "Knock his old ass out already!" I hear a deep man's voice from a row behind me, to the left. I jot down a few statistics from what I see in the ring. Lamanna is throwing more punches at this point, but Floyd's speed is impeccable. He's losing though, by points at least.
 "I can't believe he's made it through five," I hear a pretty brunette sitting next to me say to her man friend. I can. Three loud clacks sound off to signify the last ten seconds of round five. Suddenly, Lamanna squares up and does this quick peek-a-boo bob and weave maneuver. Floyd jabs, wrong move. Lamanna uses his height "disadvantage" to duck the jab, cock his right hook, and blast off! His feet helps him explode off the ground as he uses that force to connect with Evander's rib cage. Only a part of Evander's left wrist absorbed the punch. He's knocked into the ropes. "Ding!" This didn't phase Lammana as he threw a left cross, then another right hook to the body after the bell! Marty steps in and then warns Lamanna, pointing a finger as he shouts at the young boxer. Lamanna nods, however, truly seems to be ignoring the official. Evander takes a seat on his stool, Lamanna does not. 
 "He tagged you, but you didn't go down," Lansky says, he wipes ointment on Floyd so he won't stick to Lamanna's  gloves as much. The assistant put the water bottle tube in Evander's mouth. The former Cruiserweight champ is sitting straight, kind of like Buddha. He isn't really huffing and puffing uncontrollably. Though, he does look a little lost at times. He looks over at Lamanna. 
 "Hey! Right here, kid!" Lansky forces him to focus, "You're doing good! You're driving this fight!"
 "What's the count, Tibbs?" The champ yells at me, "How many is he up by?" He says, fully aware that I've been keeping score. 
 "I've him leading, 4-1!" I say over the continuing loudness.
 Floyd smiles, "Funny, I've got 'em at 5-0..." The crowd. "I guess I might have a chance!" He smiles bigger.
 "Hey! I thought this was a 12 round match, chump! You've got a long way to go." The smile is completely gone now. Serious. Focus. "Lamanna ain't sittin' yet! Give him a lick of those flurries. Don't lose you head out there, but time it now; he's been opening up the last few rounds. Make him regret it in this one!" 'Ding!!' The bell sounds, Lansky quickly hops out of the ring, and then grabs at the lowest rope. 
 Floyd is still on his toes deep into the match. Lamanna's stalking is a at a noticeably slower tempo... A few jabs from Floyd...A mean straight to the body from Lamanna. Nevertheless, his slower pace could be a trick... Here, in the six round of a boxing match, fighters seem much more aggressive in their actions toward one other. The 6th round of a boxing match is crucial. "Gas Tanks" tend to be exposed in this round...
 "Watch him now! Watch him!" Lansky yells, "Don't catch the bait! Hot dog 'em!" Floyd fakes twice and Lamanna isn't mature to resist. He moves in to work the body, but Floyd tosses two hard crosses to Lamanna right temple causing him to stagger a little, leaving his cheek exposed for Floyd's right hook. 'POP!' The microphone of the arena picks this up and shouts the pop all over the place. The crowd erupts with great excitement! Lamanna seems to be taking a while to come to. 
 "Flurry that kid!" Lanksy yells!
Evander Floyd doesn't hesitate, he squares Lamanna to the ropes and unloads. Floyd lands at least 3 to 4 blows out of the 6 he threw. All of them connecting to the temple. Lamanna tries to tie up Floyd, managing to grab a hold of the slippery fighter by the wrists. 
 "1,2,3,4,5" Basta, Lamanna! Off, off! This is Marty Junta. Clack! Clack! Clack! Only ten seconds remain in the six! Floyd looks to be stalking the young fighter, but in a boxer's style. He isn't giving Lamanna much room off of the ropes. Right to the body. One to the bicep. 'Ding!' The crowd, again, only louder. 
 "Good, good!" Lansky quickly grabs a sponge and soaks Floyd over the head. "Now he knows you ain't quitting!" 
 "How's the ankle, Champ?" The assistant asks. Evander makes a smooth expression at the young assistant. Floyd looks at me in such a way that I can't help but believe in the underdog.
 "Ain't this the most boring fight I've ever given you?" He said straight to me. The people all around me laugh and jeer at the fighter. The champ  has many ways of keeping the people entertained. Under any circumstances.
 "Hey! Do you think this guy is a joke?! Take a look at what your showboating is doing!" Lansky points to Lamanna's corner. But before Evander could peek over, Lansky came back into focus, "You're pissing him off!" He runs ointment on Evander's brows, "Take him seriously, and really test him in this round... 'Ding!' "Go on!"
 Both fighters approach each other now with modified tempos. Evander sticking primarily with his bounce, occasionally trekking left or right flat footed. But not for too long, he can't risk getting tagged. Stalking, stalking. This is might be Lamanna in a fatigued state. I had wondered if he'd started too early on Floyd. Too many combinations, especially in the fourth...
 "Break up!" 
 Lamanna lunges into Evander with immense pressure! Left to the body, right, left, jab, righty hook! Evander covers straight, just in time to block an upper cut that sends him into the ropes. Evander grabs Lamanna's shoulders and throws him aside, making room for an escape. Lamanna stumbles into the ropes and has to brace and hang on. Evander Floyd sneaks in from behind and gives Lamanna a justified hook to the temple, yet again. Lamanna takes this with no defense what so ever. After the connection, Lamanna plummets to the canvas. The referee begins his count as Floyd has already made his way to the farthest corner where his opponent has fallen. Mandatory 8, lets see if he even needs that many to get back up. However, Lamanna doesn't seem to be getting up anytime soon. Floyd has been targeting his temples all night...6...7. 'This isn't happening...' I tell myself...8...Lamanna is still in bended knee...9...It's over...10. Marty Junta waves the bout to end, taking a knee to properly check on Lamanna. The crowd goes nuts, except for a very few. Media spectators and security men engulf the stage. Evander Floyd calmly walks back to his corner and signals for Lansky to cut his gloves.
 "I got real lucky, this time, Lans," the champ says, his palms to the sky. I pull myself up to the ring next to them, my arm over the rope. 
 "You timed him well," the old man says. I lean in to listen better. "That's what won you the fight, you know...timing," Lansky continues to cut the tape off.
 "This kid was seconds from dropping me."
 "Nah, he wasn't that far ahead. I'm telling you, Kid. You spotted out when he lapsed and took a little mental break. You caught him sleeping," the other media outlets and other people start closing in on us. "This division only gets harder though."
 "Lans, I'm done for a while," I hear this and write it down. Looking at the words over and over again I can't help but hate what I've just written. I look over at Floyd. He can't help but grin, even through all the hysteria. But still, though he's won this bout, I receive a look of never ending adversity in his eyes. 
 "How'd you like it?" He says to me.
 "One of the best!" I say. 
 "Man! You'll say anything for an interview," he says to me, annoyed. "What is it, champ? What's your one question?" He leans in, his head down and ears attentive.
"Was he the best?"
"What? Fighter?"
"Yea!" 
"That's your question to answer, Tibbs." I haven't cover a heavyweight title match since, there hasn't been any reason to.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


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