“Again!” said a voice. “Don't you dare slow down runt!”
Once more the fighter hit the pads. He has been at this for almost five hours with no rest. Arms were aching and his body was covered in sweat. His power was waning and his speed was depleting. He needed to rest, so he stops mid combination.
“Why did you stop?” The coach said to the fighter, irritated.
“I need to rest. I have been going at this for five hours, not even having had a drink of water.” The coach grabs the water bucket and dumps the pale over the boxers head. Now he was tired, wet, and angry now.
“There yours water, not lets continue.” But the fighter had enough. This kind of training has been going on for almost a year now and in the beginning, but put up with it. However, with the months lead up to his first professional fight, his coach turned into the devil. Ridiculous training regiments, harsh time schedules, excessive drills, the list goes on. He had enough.
“That's it, I cant take it anymore. I’m sick of these drills. These ridiculous training exercises, like punching stone with my bare fist until they bleed? I almost broke both hands that day. And since then, I’ve been to and from the hospital more times than any fighter during training. Do you have anything to say to that?”
The coach looks at him and gives him a casual remark.
“Finished yet.” That was enough for the young fighter. He starts taking off his gloves, grabs a shirt and leaves the ring. Before heading out the door, he gives one last look at his coach. “My brother told me so many stories about you. Guess that's all they were, stories.”
That statement hit the coach hard as the young man left the gym. Sighing heavily, the old coach leaves the ring as well and goes back into his office. Once inside, he locks the door, pulls out a bottle of whisky and looks at all the previous fighters hes trained. All of them brought joyful memories, except for one. On the frame, it read TRAVIS “The Angel” JOHNSON. That was the last picture of him before his match. To him, it was just a game, but the coach knew better. He should never have agreed to that fight, but he thought the boy ready. And it costed him his life. Taking a sip from the bottle, the old coach began to remember the past.
Meanwhile, the fighter walked several block until he found a diner. Opening the doors, the bell up top dings and the young fighter finds a place to sit. Finding a booth seat, he sits down and relaxes. This was the first time he was able to catch his breath. As he adjust himself, the waitress comes to his table.
“Hi Peggy, how are you,” he said out of breath. As she hands him a glass of water, she noticed that he was drenched. “Thomas working you hard huh?” Jericho takes a sip of water before answering. “That man is sadistic. I don't know why my brother talked so highly of him. For the past year, hes been nothing but difficult with me. Nothing I do is good for him, and when it is, he expects more of it. I lost.” Seeing his frustration, Peggy sits across from him. “You know, he wasn't always like this. He actually was a great man. Nos he’s just broken.” Peggy takes a sip of coffee. “Has he ever told you about your brother and his last fight.”
“Only that I should forget the past and move on. Why?”
Peggy gathers he thoughts. “When your brother was training for the title fight, he was already 23-0 in his division. He thought himself invincible, and Thomas encouraged it. He then began to skip certain training days and one day Thomas was shown a video of Travis opponent. Thomas was mortified and tried to get Thomas back into shape, but it was too late. One the night of the fight, Thomas told your brother that if the fight was going south, he would throw the towel in. Your brother told him not to, saying he would win this for them. Then the massacre happened. For all twelve rounds your brother was the punching back of champion. Many in his corner begged Thomas to throw the towel, but he didn’t. Then your brother got one punch to the heart and fell to the ground. After the bell rang, Thomas raced onto the stage but it was to late. He was dead and since then he blamed himself. But he told me that if he ever trained another fighter, he would work them so much, that they would hate his guts and never go through that pain again.”
Jericho was taken aback by this news. This was the first time anyone told him about his brother before. Not even his parents told him. Taking another sip of coffee, Peggy stares at Jericho. “So what are you going to do?” Jericho looks out the window and then back at Peggy.
“I’m gonna dance with the Devil.”
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