The blood-sprayed platform at the Times Square subway tonight was my excuse for arriving late to Taube’s delightful dinner of mashed potatoes, ham, and cut onions and green peppers. All the blood was the result of a rapid TKO accomplished as I was entering the platform from the North End and when I arrived at the South End to interview the fighters only the loser was still around, calmly talking on his cell phone as the dispatchers held up a couple thousand impatient commuters while they called for medical assistance. From the looks of the injuries to the remaining boxer I theorized that he had probably been hit with a right cross inside the crowded train following the usual subway ritual in which the last passenger to push into the train throws as many passengers around in front of him based on his over- all strength. A crowded train leaves no room for a man to extend Roy Jones, Jr.’s patented buggy whip jab over the heads of several other passengers and certainly discourages even the rankest of boxing amateurs from showing off with a Ray Leonard hook. That leaves a close in punch after the yelling and screaming between the men about the space available in the train, and by process of elimination I’d guess the winner flung a quick right cross at the bleeding man.
From the amount of blood spattered on the stone wall in the middle of the platform I’d say the fight continued outside the train. I’m guessing this happened because no New York fighter not clinically insane would risk the pain and humiliation of getting yelled at and cursed out by a 69 year old New York grandmother. If you think I’m kidding, I will testify under oath that I have seen the meanest and toughest teenage bullies exit city buses in cries and moans after being lectured at by some very old and not easily intimidated women in this city. I’m kind of annoyed at the dispatcher in the South end of the train who did not properly direct me to the exact train so I could properly get some pithy quotes for this report I am sharing with you.
The humble and modest winner of this bout had not stayed around to be congratulated by the New York City Police Department, and must have been born with the footwork of Muhammad Ali, for he had disappeared up the adjoining stairs before I could push out of the way enough fellow travelers on the platform to get to the sight of the blood.
Given the sharp break at the bridge of the loser’s nose, I would guess that the winner was not in his first fight, and may have perfected his craft in the Golden Gloves tournaments of his youth, or, more likely, in prison.
The loser of this bout was a large man with massive hands. These hands reminded me of the massive hands of a large Greek weight lifter I had seen pummeled in a fight in Astoria, Queen, nearly 30 years ago. This large weight lifter had been battered unmercifully by a tiny, thin puncher whose hands were so unfairly quick that the much larger man could not get in a second punch. Of course that was so long ago it was even before the days when Buster Douglas had established the modern heavy weight standard of showing up to defend your title totally out of shape. It was the same time period in which heavy weight fighters reasonably decided that it made more sense to compete with baseball pitchers in throwing no hitters instead of fainting at the sight of their own blood. And when you get upwards of $50 million dollars to throw such no hitters, when the average pitcher’s pay per no-hitter is considerably less, say $50,000, you can see it is obvious that heavy weight boxers have become smarter than baseball pitchers.
But I cheat you dear reader of closure on this mighty bout. The amount of blood that had littered the platform was so pervasive that commuters were retreating as far away as possible so as not to get this bright red guck on their shoes. The champion had clearly succeeded with a flurry of quick punches of some kind or another, as the loser had several cuts on the soft issue under the eyes and above the eyes, the areas of the face that turn fight managers into better appliers of plastic strips than leading surgeons.
Where had the winner escaped to avoid the angry wrath of delayed commuters? Perhaps to Times Square, where on a Friday night at 6PM there were at least 42 million tourists to hide among.
The logistical difficulty of going completely unnoticed after such an impressive win in New York City is considerable. To begin with, there were potentially hundreds of fans who had seen the champion, and while admiring they might be of the repertoire of punches he won with, would nonetheless be questioned by a long line of New York cops who get extremely pissed when their pleasant bullshit sessions about sex are interrupted by louts making them work on a cold, January night. You do not want to commit crimes that piss off New York cops. They turn from blubbering dolts into Sherlock Holmes. Many of these cops are Irish, and the curse of the Irish is that when they get mad they develop superhuman qualities of concentration and focus that they do not possess the rest of the time. Secondly, cameras are everywhere in the New York subway and everywhere on every street. Some may think it is a police state, but I’ll leave that to constitutional lawyers who make more money than I do.
Of course, the winner of the fight may be shrewder than I imply. He may have called his friends with the most experience in hiring criminal defense lawyers and ask for advice. Hiring the best criminal defense lawyer you can afford is usually the best advice you can give a New Yorker. You never know when you are going to be tried by a jury of angry grandmothers. Then you are done for.