St. John of the Midfield Excerpt
It was show time. As a boy, I had performed the routine a thousand times for my uncles. I took off my shirt. My dad brought the gloves in from the laundry room, where several pair always hung from hooks above the washer.
As he tightened them on my hands, he said to Luca, “Here we go Luca, if you want to be a great fighter: you have to know your history.”
I got into my stance. My father began by calling out George Foreman’s name. From there, I became the scowling George Foreman; I moved around the kitchen, shadow boxing with my hands high and open, like a girl playing patty-cake, pushing my opponent back, pushing him back, and hammering left and right hooks to his body. My father then called out “Smokin Joe Frazier” so I got on my toes, began bobbing my head up and down, started ducking, moving to my right to protect my bad eye, and started throwing a round house hook that could lift my opponent right off his feet.
Luca followed the action. Just like my uncles, his head and shoulders moved to the right and left as I postured around the kitchen in between the sink, the stove, and the table. When my father shouted Marciano, I crouched down like a man passing a kidney stone, reached my left arm out to measure where my opponent was, and then when close enough, I started wailing right and left upper cuts to my imaginary foe’s body, punches which would suck the breath right out of a man and then my father shouted Joe Louis, so I was back up in a classical stance, head high like a regal king, slowly inching forward, zinging my opponent with quick left jabs until I could clock him with my powerful right.