This offering is a bit of music-hall doggerel with the sweet science as its subject that has been in existence for well over a century.
The original author cannot be named for certain.
It was an oft recited/performed bit in bars and vaudeville and an altered version was put to song by balladeer Frankie Laine of Rawhide TV theme fame.
Readers might also find echoes of a certain Oscar-winning boxing flick within the stanzas as well.
Nothing new under the sun.
Us two was pals, the Kid and me:
'Twould cut no ice if some gayzee,
As tough as hell jumped either one,
We'd both light in and hand him some.
Both of a size, the Kid and me,
We tipped the scales at thirty-three;
And when we'd spar 'twas give and take,
I wouldn't slug for any stake.
One day we worked out at the gym,
Some swell guy hangin' round called "Slim,"
Watched us and got stuck on the Kid,
Then signed him up, that's what he did.
This guy called "Slim" he owned a string
Of lightweights, welters, everything;
He took the Kid out on the road,
And where they went none of us knowed.
I guessed the Kid had changed his name,
And fightin' the best ones in the game.
I used to dream of him at night,
No letters came--he couldn't write.
In just about two months or three
I signed up with Bucktooth McGee.
He got me matched with Denver Brown,
I finished him in half a round.
Next month I fought with Brooklyn Mike,
As tough a boy who hit the pike;
Then Frisco Jim and Battlin' Ben,
And knocked them all inside of ten.
The crowd give me an awful yell
('Twas even money at the bell),
They stamped their feet and shook the place;
The Pet turned 'round, I saw his face!
My guts went sick, that's what they did,
For Holy Gee, it was the Kid--
We just had time for one good shake,
We meant it, too, it wasn't fake.
Whang! went the bell, the fight was on,
I clinched until the round was gone,
A-beggin' that he' let me take
The fall for him--he wouldn't fake.
Hell, no, the Kid was on the square,
And said we had to fight it fair,
The crowd had bet their dough on us--
We had to fight (the honest cuss).
The referee was yellin' "break,"
The crowd was sore and howlin' "fake."
They'd paid their dough to see a scrap.
And so far we'd not hit a tap.
The second round we both begin.
I caught a fast one on my chin;
And stood like I was in a doze,
Until I got one on the nose.
I started landin' body blows,
He hooked another on my nose,
That riled my fightin' blood like hell,
And we were sluggin' at the bell.
I took 'em all and won each bout,
None of them birds could put me out;
The sportin' writers watched me slug.
Then all the papers run my mug.
"He'd rather fight than eat," they said,
"He's got the punch, he'll knock 'em dead."
There's only one I hadn't met,
That guy they called "The Yorkshire Pet."
He'd cleaned 'em all around in France,
No one in England stood a chance;
And I was champ in U. S. A.,
And knocked 'em cuckoo every day.
Now all McGee and me could think
Was how we'd like to cross the drink,
And knock this bucko for a row,
And grab a wagonload of dough.
At last Mac got me matched all right,
Five thousand smackers for the fight;
Then me and him packed up our grip,
And went to grab that championship.
I done some trainin' and the night
Set for the battle sure was right;
The crowd was wild, for this here bout
Was set to last till one was out.
The mob went crazy when the Pet
Came in, I'd never seen him yet;
And then I climbed up through the ropes,
All full of fight and full of hopes.
The next round started, from the go
The millin' we did wasn't slow,
I landed hard on him, and then,
He took the count right up to ten.
He took the limit on one knee,
A chance to get his wind and see;
At ten he jumped up like a flash
And on my jaw he hung a smash.
I'm fightin', too, there, toe to toe,
And hittin' harder, blow for blow,
I damn soon knowed he couldn't stay,
He rolled his eyes--you know the way.
The way he staggered made me sick,
I stalled, McGee yelled, "Cop him quick!"
The crowd was wise and yellin' "fake,"
They'd seen the chance I wouldn't take.
The mob kept tellin' me to land,
And callin' things I couldn't stand;
I stepped in close and smashed his chin,
The Kid fell hard; he was all in.
I carried him into his chair,
And tried to bring him to for fair,
I rubbed his wrists, done everything,
A doctor climbed into the ring.
And I was scared as I could be,
The Kid was starin' and couldn't see;
The doctor turned and shook his head,
I looked again--the Kid was dead!