Nate Jones, or the Spartan as he’s more commonly known in the world of boxing, found himself huffing and puffing by the third round, his lungs burning for the next breath.
Left left left, sharp right were what the Spartan then threw at his opponent, the young and up-and-coming Pedro Ramirez, who dodged them all with a frustrating ease from post to post, only to come back and deliver exact jabs that soon had Nate’s right eye swelling up.
The twenty by twenty platform of midnight blue resonated little under the light steps of Pedro, but more so with Nate’s stumbles across the ring that amounted to him trying to avoid anymore jabs to the face.
Nate next looked over to the referee hoping to see time get called, but round four was just beginning. There was two and a half minutes left for the old man to sweat it out, droplets of sweat and blood curdling across his forehead to fall as beads, which burned the black and blue of his right eye like Greek fire, while glistening brightly across the bulge of his left cheek. He was losing badly, and he knew it.
All of the Spartan’s classic moves—kidney jabs to slow them down, the double tap to the head with crosses to knock some sense in them, and an uppercut to put them down—had only gotten a rise out of the crowd because of the fierce whoosh that sounded because of his power. But it wasn’t the whoosh he wanted, he needed bams and gasps from his opponent when he made contact, but he wasn’t getting much of that tonight.
Still, the Spartan wasn’t ready to panic. In the past, he’d run into a few opponents who could dodge his punches with pizzaz, like Jake the Snake, Harry the Magician, and even Joey the Hoofer. All of whom had avoided his two hundred and twenty pounds of potent force through the first two rounds, but this guy was something else.
To Nate, the skinny Mexican seemed to hit like Speedy Gonzalez ran in the old cartoon Tom & Jerry—nothin’ but a blur.
The five foot and one inch boxer whose skin glistened the perfect tan was small and thinly built, but painfully deadly on his feet. Each punch the kid delivered barely registered, but after so many, Nate was soon seeing gaudy specks of light drifting aimlessly into his field of vision. He shook his head each time to clear them, but even well into the sixth round the boy kept nailing the small jabs to the Spartan’s face like darts to a board. In fact, Pedro seemed to be getting faster and Nate slower despite him not being that old either, just thirty but felt like forty, all the while looking seventy with his fair skin all bruised up.
Nate quickly got why people called Pedro, the Viper. Given his fast movement and light punches, which seemed to be nothing more than pricks, their effect was latent and soon enough he felt like a pincushion, his beaten face lapping up the salt and burning until he could brush away the sweat.
The Spartan continued his struggle to go toe-to-toe with the Viper well into the seventh round certain that the right combination would stop the insanity. Duck duck duck, sidestep, and duck again, and. . . air. “Fuck!” shouted Nate, who then grabbed the boy in frustration into a bear hug, which quickly brought the ref over when he wouldn’t let go. By the time the two boxers had finally separated, the end-of-round bell rang to Nate’s sweet relief.
By the end of the night, nine rounds had passed and Nate, despite finally landing several solid punches in the eighth, which he knew the boy felt by the way he staggered away, had dropped to his knees thirty seconds from the bell in the ninth. People then went crazy, chanting Viper Viper Viper as the Spartan fell face first into the mat.
“ 8. . .9. . .10,” the ref counted out before finally calling it. Nate was then carted off when he was barely able to sit up, let alone stand on his own two feet in what turned out to be the last match of his career.