Write Again . . . It was my one punch fight!

Published 5:59 pm Monday, May 19, 2014

Way back when I was a lad, even a very young one, just about all athletic

activities beckoned to me. I just loved the thrill of “being in the arena.” Even if it was just a neighborhood field, yard, or hard dirt, one-goal basketball space.

Those were good days with good friends. As they say, you can make new friends, but you can’t make old friends.

On occasion — not too often — some of us would box. I was the one who had the gloves. It was fun, sort of.

Now, up at Camp Mishemokwa there was a permanent boxing ring. Why it’s called a ring I don’t know. It’s really a square.

Once, maybe twice during the eight-weeks session, they would have a night of fights. There would be a full card, starting with the mite division, and progressing through the midget, junior, then senior campers divisions.

There was a bright light set over the ring, as fight night was always held at, well, night.

The combatants would enter the ring with a towel around their necks, maybe even used as a hood, and wearing a bathrobe. Classy. All the campers were seated at ringside. There was even a proper bell that was used. The usual “In this corner wearing . . .” introductions were observed.

That first year I was the undisputed champion of the mite division. I still have the little medal. That was in ’49.

A couple of summers later I put the gloves on again, this time in the midget ranks. Same result. Didn’t go the full three rounds.

Then, someone — I don’t know who — suggested I be moved up into the junior division, the age group just above me.

Well, now. About that bout. My memory is clear. Very.

After the referee’s introductions, and the “shake hands, etc.,” I — with my lightning-like punch — popped my opponent smack in the jaw. Wop!

That did it. The ref stopped the fight before the first round ended. I never threw another punch. My opponent liked to have beat the tar out of me. Whoo, boy. Beaten and embarrassed.

This took place on a cool summer night deep in the heart of the Blue Ridge mountains. I took a real whuppin’.

My opponent was a boy from Maxton, N.C., named Al Greene.

That was in the early fifties. I haven’t seen him since then. I always thought, if we ever ran across each other, that I would tell him, right up front, not to worry.

I’d say, “Al . . . I’m not going to sucker punch you again.”

He would appreciate that, don’t you think?