One and Done

By Wrigley Brogan on February 26, 2019
One and Done
Of course, women do not care what I think, nor does anyone else. (Photo: Wrigley Brogan)

Tough for an attractive middle-class white woman is probably not the same as tough in a Detroit ghetto, or the slums of Mexico City…

Amanda Fox cornered me in the hall of the junior high school for the third time. “I want to box and I want you to be my manager,” she said. She is a strikingly pretty woman, a math teacher at the time, a dedicated professional working on her administrative credentials. Kids love her and she is kind, soft-spoken, and personable, not exactly the fighting type. I could not imagine her having a mashed-in face and a nose knocked to her forehead. I am an old sexist and do not think women should box. Of course, women do not care what I think, nor does anyone else. She was also too old for anything serious in the athletic world, especially boxing.

“I’m going to do it,” she said. “If you don’t help I will find someone who will.”

“Why take the chance?” I said. “Besides, I’m no manager.”

“It’s personal. I want to prove something to myself.”

What she wanted to prove remained a mystery. She had once mentioned that her parents were rather harsh and her childhood was not the best. Maybe she wanted to prove she was tough. Tough for an attractive middle-class white woman is probably not the same as tough in a Detroit ghetto, or the slums of Mexico City where one’s very existence depends on toughness, a toughness that starts from the heart and travels through the guts, the muscles, the legs, the arms and the fists, a toughness that makes you want to rip and tear at the world, to stand firmly with blood on your teeth and roar “I am here, I am alive, I am someone, I will not be beaten.”

For her safety I finally agreed to help with a single fight. I could attempt to protect her in some way and see that she was not badly injured. She said that one fight was enough. I was not sure. Boxing can be addictive and if she did well she might want to continue. There is something about standing under a spotlight inside a ring surrounded by a roaring crowd that often calls you back for more.

The first thing we needed was a trainer. Anthony Hunter is the best unknown trainer I know. He slides in and out of the game depending upon who shows up at his doorstep. His skills are instantly apparent. Roberto Duran saw that and used him for his last title fight. He was happy to work with Amanda.

I went to work with my specialty, propaganda. I did some articles for the newspapers. They love things like “Snot-Knocking School Teacher of Tacoma.” We worked on some P.R. photographs. Because she is such a pretty woman I decided to dress her up and, for contrast, photograph her in the worst parts of town. There is no way to take a poor picture of her.

Any trainer or manager in the world would have loved a boxer with her dedication. She did roadwork every day before school and showed up every night for training. Never once did she complain and she worked harder than any boxer I ever knew. Unfortunately she had difficulties—a pretty steep learning difficulty. When Anthony moved from teaching her the proper way to throw a jab, then tried to teach her to hook, she forgot how to throw a jab. This pattern continued with every movement. Try to throw in some leg-work and watch out. She made Holyfield, on Dancing with the Stars, seem like Gene Kelly.

To give her a slow moving bag to punch I sparred with her. She did not want to hit me. I constantly begged to be hit. Eventually she started throwing some light punches. The sparring gave me equal amounts of joy and suffering. I enjoyed mixing it up with a hot sweating woman and had to resist constantly clinching. She got nothing from the endeavor, much like other women I have dated.

Although all the amateur boys at the Tacoma Boys & Girls Club begged to spar with her, only once did we find a real sparring partner, a tough woman with serious intent. All did not go well. Amanda moaned every time she got hit, which was every time her partner threw a punch. What she did not do was quit. Afterwards she said she never wanted to spar again. The situation was becoming impossible.

I came up with a brilliant idea, almost as brilliant as enlisting in the army during the Viet Nam war. I decided to put her in an exhibition bout against me during an upcoming show. It would all be in fun and a chance for her to see what it was like to be under the spotlight, a chance for her to get comfortable, dance around a bit, throw a few punches at the roundest tomato can she would ever face.

It took some convincing for the boxing commission to let us have our fun but they finally agreed as long as we did it during the intermission and that they were not involved in any way. Mike Blair, an English teacher, acted as referee. Amanda went in as The Red Fox; I went in as Hard-oil Baker, the name my father used when he fought—a perfect record—all three losses. We settled on three two-minute rounds. I let her throw most of the punches and gave her a chance to chase me around the ring. On several occasions I pretended to get rocked.

In the corner, after the first round, I had my so-called trainer squirt some red paint from a small concealed bottle, onto the edge of my right glove. As soon as I caught a left hook to the head I slapped my eye with the glove. Blood ran down my face and the referee stopped the fight before I took any more punishment.

That week Anthony and I had a long and troublesome discussion. Amanda would never get any better. She refused to spar. She insisted on fighting. There was nothing to do except to arrange a fight. I called Bennie Georgino.

Bennie was the promoter and matchmaker at Lucky Eagle Casino in Rochester, Washington. Bennie put together the best fights in the northwest. He had the ability to put some real bums on every card. When they fought for him they fought like world champions, all-out and looking for blood. He always treated them with decency and respect. They responded by putting on decent performances.

I gave him the low-down on Amanda—nothing held back. He said he would do what he could. The problem was a lack of female boxers. One pretty much had to take what he could find. What he found was a martial artist with one boxing win.

It seemed like half the school district, including the superintendent, came to the fight. They swept through the buffet like a Hawaiian at a pig roast. Bones were scattered across tables and the hollow legs of crabs reached for the heavens in surrender. Liquor went down in enormous quantities as teachers thought of returning to work the following week. Georgino had a smile on his face that pulled at his ears.

Amanda entered the ring well lathered. Anthony knew his job. She looked focused. That focus quickly ended. The referee, Ronnie Rahl, did not like the way her hair was fixed and he wanted it changed. She suddenly looked bewildered. Any trivial thing always destroyed her concentration. Anthony looked devastated.

The fight plan was to keep her going forward, throwing punches the entire time. Boxers often do not fight well in reverse. Her condition was never in doubt. She could have gone eight rounds with no problem. She never made it out of the first. Much of the fault was mine. Martial artists often fight going backward. This one was an expert. Within the first minute Amanda was a bloody mess. She was then rocked with a hard right and the fight was stopped.

Anthony wiped the blood from her face. Her eyes seemed to glow and she was smiling. I did not know what to say. Coming from the ring she came over and gave a hug. “Thank you,” she said. “I fulfilled a dream. Not many people get to do that.”

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  1. Lucas McCain 01:55pm, 02/27/2019

    Bruce—Or maybe a gift cup of coffee in the faculty lounge?  mmmm, I can smell the styrofoam and nondairy creamer (insert Homer Simpson happy gurgling sounds here).

  2. Bruce 01:20pm, 02/27/2019

    Enjoyable article.  My only question is whether or not Wrigley got his 33.3% of the purse…

  3. Mau-Mauing The Flak Catchers 08:02pm, 02/26/2019

    Lucas McCain… She should have taken a safer route like George Plimpton. Plimpton left the ring with only a bloody nose.  Instead of Archie Moore, we would have her go a few with Floyd. She could have made millions. haha.

  4. Lucas McCain 06:01pm, 02/26/2019

    M-M I think what she wanted was “a fight,” not “to fight.”  I appreciate that and, like you, I am glad she got what she wanted without paying too heavy a price.

  5. Mau-Mauing The Flak Catchers 11:48am, 02/26/2019

    Nice article. Definitely unique and not the typical old boring boxing story. I think all “regular” people can relate to this in some way.  I think everyone out there, at least sane people, fear being hit hard or just fear violence.  Put Mike Tyson in the ring with someone superior,  or say a grown adult male gorilla, hehe, and Mike won’t be such a monster anymore.  Kudos to this lady. She definitely has more guts than me and 95% of the people out there. Easy to be brave when you have nothing to fear.  I can’t figure out why she didn’t want to at least train a little longer or be better prepared though. Attractive lady. Glad to hear this was a one time deal.

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