Everything within Jimmy’s mind turned suddenly topsyturvy. He seemed to lose all sense of proportion and all sense of value in one overpowering thought, that he must not again be humiliated in her presence.
And so it was that at the tap of the gong for the third round it was not Torrance the sparring partner that advanced from his corner, but Jimmy Torrance, champion heavyweight boxer of a certain famous university. But why enter into the harrowing details of the ensuing minute and a half?
In thirty seconds it was unquestionably apparent to every one in the room, including Young Brophy himself, that the latter was pitifully outclassed. Jimmy hit him whenever and wherever he elected to him, and he hit him hard, while Brophy, at best only a second or third rate fighter, pussy and undertrained, was not only unable to elude the blows of his adversary but equally so to land effectively himself.
And there before the eyes of half a dozen newspaper reporters, of a dozen wealthy young men who had fully intended to place large sums on Brophy, and before the eyes of his horrified manager and backer, Jimmy, at the end of ninety seconds, landed a punch that sent the flabby Mr. Brophy through the ropes and into dreamland for a much longer period than the requisite ten seconds.
Before Jimmy got dressed and out of the gymnasium he, with difficulty, escaped a half-dozen more fistic encounters, as everybody from the manager down felt that his crime deserved nothing short of capital punishment. He had absolutely wrecked a perfectly good scheme in the perfection of which several thousand dollars had been spent, and now there could not be even the possibility of a chance of their breaking even.
When Jimmy got home that night he saw a light in the Lizard’s room and entered.
“Well,” said the cracksman, “how’s every little thing?”
Jimmy smiled ruefully.
“Canned again,” he announced, and then he told the Lizard the story of his downfall, attributing the results of the third round, however, to Brophy’s unwarranted action at the end of the second.
“Well,” said the Lizard, “you certainly are the champion boob. There you had a chance to cop off a nice bunch of coin on that fight and instead you kill it for yourself and everybody else.”
“You don’t think,” said Jimmy, “that I would have put any money on that crooked scrap.”
“Why not?” asked the Lizard, and then he shook his head sadly. “No, I don’t suppose you would. There’s lots of things about you that I can’t understand, and one of them is the fact that you would rather starve to death than take a little easy money off of birds that have got more than they got any business to have. Why, with your education and front we two could pull off some of the classiest stuff that this burg ever saw.”