Both stepped to toe the scratch.
“Yes.” nodded Dave.
“Ready!” rumbled Treadwell.
The referee briefly made the usual announcement about it being a fight to the finish, with two-minute rounds and two minutes between rounds.
As Treadwell leaped forward, both fists in battery, Dave took a swift, nimble sidestep. He felt that he had to study this big fellow carefully before doing more than keep on the defensive.
Now footwork was one of the fighting tricks for which
Darry was famous.
Yet he had too much courage to rely wholly upon it.
Five times Treadwell swung at his smaller opponent, but each time Dave was somewhere else.
Despite his greater size, Treadwell was himself nimble and an adept at footwork.
Finding it hard, however, to get about as quickly as his smaller opponent, the first classman soon went in for close, in-body fighting, following Dave, half-cornering him, and forcing him to stand and take it.
Two or three body blows Dave succeeded in parrying so that they glanced, doing him little harm.
Then there came an almost crunching sound. Treadwell’s right fist had landed, almost dazing the youngster with its weight against his nose.
There was a swift, free rush of the red. Darrin had yielded up “first blood” in the fight.
“I’ve got to dodge more, and not let myself be cornered,” Darrin told himself, keeping his fists busy in warding off blows.
Then, of a sudden, Dave turned on the aggressive. He struck fast and furiously, but Treadwell, with a grin, beat down his attack, then soon landed a swinging hook on Dave’s neck that sent him spinning briefly.
“He expects to finish this fight for his own amusement,” flashed angrily through Darrin’s mind. “I’ll get in something that hurts before I toss the sponge.”
Two minutes were up. To Dave it seemed more like half an hour.
“Steady, now!” murmured Page, in his principal’s ear, as the two seconds leaped at the task of rubbing down their men. “Unless you let yourself get rattled, Darry, that big fellow isn’t going to get you. Whenever you’re on the defensive, and being crowded hard, change like lightning and drive in for the top classer’s solar plexus.”
“I tried that three times in this last round,” murmured Dave. “But the fellow is too big and powerful for me. He simply pounds me down when I go for him.”
“Work for more strategy,” whispered Page, as he held a sponge to Dave’s battered nose, while Farley rubbed the muscles of his right arm.
“I haven’t given up the fight,” muttered Dave, “But, of course, I’ve known from the start that Treadwell is a pretty big fighter for one of my weight.”
“Oh, you’ll get him yet,” spoke Page confidently.
The fighters were being called for the second round.
In this Dave received considerable punishment, though he landed three or four times on Treadwell’s body.