Every person in the bar followed Edgar outside and formed a little ring around us. Edgar puffed up, gestured profanely, shouted and pounded his chest to try and mask his terror. He was doing all he could to drag the affair out until somebody stepped in.
One look at the inebriated apes surrounding us, and I knew no one was breaking this up. Edgar finally accepted the inevitable and came after me.
I let him swing some haymakers, slipped them, stepped away from his sloppy attempts to take me down. I watched him quickly tire. It wasn’t long before he slowed and then stopped completely, standing there gasping for air with his hands barely higher than his waist.
I didn’t need him tired to take him out. I could have done it anytime. I just wanted him to know, and everyone else, too, that this was all Edgar Beavers ever was — a one-round knockout fighter late in the tenth, no guts, no grit, no balls, a guy that didn’t have what it takes to go the distance.
I let him feel that for a bit, let his friends see it, and then moved in for the hook.
Most guys in a fight will swing for the head, but if you really want to give somebody a hurt that stays around for a long time, you go for the body. Body shots linger, they make a guy piss blood, they make him toss and turn at night trying to find a halfway comfortable position to sleep in.
You get a guy with a good body shot, and he’ll remember you for days.
I thought about telling him who I was, but decided against it. It didn’t really matter if he knew. It only mattered that I did.
I uncorked the left hook and felt the solid, satisfying crunch of it hitting home.
Edgar let out a gargled shriek and fell to the gravel clutching his side, eyes wide in shock at the pain. I watched him squirm there for a few seconds.
The crowd watched in embarrassment as Edgar whimpered. They looked around at each other wondering if they should do something.
I walked to my car and drove away. Out on the road I turned on my radio. A sports commentator said Evans had knocked Garcia out late in the tenth.
“Garcia just didn’t have what it took in the later rounds,” the commentator said. “Even in this day and age, there just isn’t an answer for a hard-nosed fighter with a good work ethic and unwavering determination.”
“Damn right,” I said, turned off the radio, and kept driving.