Now, I put my pants on one leg at a time. Just like any other cold-blooded American male. I brush my teeth at night. And I brush ‘em again when I get up in the morning. I comb my hair with the part to the right, but I shave with a butcher knife and I punish my body for a half-hour every morning. Up and down the stairs in the stadium. I do 500 sit-ups and 200 push-ups every day so that if for some reason my opponent happens to make a lucky swing, I can take it.
And even though I saw it coming, it was hard to take that one punch. It came in fast, curling down toward my right eye. Ol’ Hardy had to be at least six-foot-five, which was rare in those days. So there was a lot of gravity coming at me. I didn’t fall, but it rung my bell sure enough. It was then that I saw her.
I wasn’t even sure if she was real at that point. You know how some people see stars or how they claim the background spins? I might be getting the terminology a little wrong, but I’m pretty sure what I saw was, or at the very least, used to be called: a pixie. Though she insists on being called a “sprite” and is constantly correcting me.
She hovered just over Hardy’s shoulder when that blow came down. I don’t think she was expecting me to see her there, because she immediately blushed and fluttered away into the darkness behind the flash-pop-fizz of the cameras, but I’ll never forget her. A little over three inches tall and glowing blue. Sometimes even though things have changed so drastically since then, I still think about her as frozen in time. Pink wings glowing blue, just over Darren Hardy’s shoulder right after I took his left hook to my right eye; right before I returned him an uppercut and sent him to the ground; right before I took the undercard bout on the fourteenth of December in the frigid winter of 1933.