When the introductions were finished, the hubbub began anew. Had Henry Ballard succeeded in buying Clancy off? I hoped and I feared it. Men came from the dressing-rooms and whispered in the ear of the announcer who sent them back hurriedly. The crowd was becoming impatient. There were no more pugilists to introduce and the man in the ring walked to and fro mopping his perspiring brow. At last when the sounds from the crowd became one muffled roar, he clambered down through the ropes and went himself to the dressing-rooms, returning in a while with the referee of the match whom he presented. The new referee looked at his watch and announced that there was a slight delay and begged the crowd to be patient a few moments longer.
But when the moments were no longer few and there were no signs from the dressing-room doors the people in the rear seats rose howling in a body. There were cries of “Fake” and “Give us our money” and the man in the ring, Diamond Joe Gannon, held up his hands in vain for silence. For awhile it looked as though there would be a riot. Had Ballard Senior succeeded?
Suddenly the howling was hushed and merged into shouts of acclaim. “Good boy, Kid! Here he comes,” and, rising with the others, I saw coming down the aisle from the dressing-rooms “Kid” Spatola, the bootblack champion. He carried a bucket, sponges and towels and after a word with the clamorous reporters clambered up into the ring, followed by a colored man, in whom I recognized Danny Monroe, the Swedish negro. He wore suspenders over his undershirt and carried several bottles which he placed in the corner of the ring beside the bucket. The eyes of the crowd were focused upon the door from which Spatola had emerged. I saw two figures come out, one grim and silent who made his way toward the street doors, the other who came quickly down the aisle—Ballard Senior and Jack. The latter questioned an usher and was shown directly to my box, by his prominence investing both himself and me with immediate publicity. I felt the gaze of our neighbors upon us, but Jack seated himself coolly and lighted a cigarette.
“What happened?” I questioned in a whisper.
“They’re going to fight,” he returned.
He smiled a little. “Mad as a hornet. Jerry blocked the game.”
“Dad offered Clancy five thousand and his share of the gate money to quit.”
“He was very white about it. He sent the message over to Jerry.”
“The boy doubled any amount dad offered if Clancy would go on. Clancy stands to win fifteen thousand. Dad quit. I told him Jerry had made up his mind. He realizes it now.”
“Fifteen thousand! Clancy will work for it.”
Jack smiled grimly. “I think Jerry wants him to.”
The boy was mad—clean mad.