The middleweightchampion lay on the table with his eyes closed, the white terry-cloth robe with"Joey Giardello" in script on the back pulled up around him. He hadbecome Joey Giardello when a patriotic guy on the street in Brooklyn offered todonate his birth certificate so Joey could join the Army at the age of 15,provided Joey gave the patriot two bucks. But that was a long time ago. Nobodycalls him Carmine Tilelli anymore. The room, like a thousand of its kind, wasweakly lit and grim and, in the coarse concealment, the scars on the fighter'sface grayed out as if by cosmetic. Giardello's face (see cover) is marvelouslyexpressive, capable of prodigious winks and lowers, and the places where peoplehave beaten on him for 16 years seem to add to it rather than detract, the wayage and scars enhance the appeal of an antique.
Last month inCleveland half a dozen of Joey's friends, his personal solar system from SouthPhiladelphia, were with him in his dressing room before a fight while twoCleveland cops self-consciously guarded the door. It was a needless precaution,because Joey lets in anybody who ever knew him. Joey is a believer in friends.Thirteen of his friends once got together on his behalf and offered Dick Tiger$100,000 to defend the middleweight championship. Tiger eventually agreed tothe match and lost the championship last December in Atlantic City. "Didyou actually have $100,000?" one of the friends was asked. "Are youkidding?" he replied.
"CarmenTedeschi has been shooting off about offering me $125,000 to fight Carter,"said Joey from the table. "But that's how I got my shot, so I'm wise tothat. He puts in the papers how he calls me up and I'm never home, Tedeschi. Soone night, it was after midnight, I call him from Philadelphia. Collect I callhim. He says he now has only $100,000, so I tell him I will accept his penaltyif he will please come to Philadelphia with a—a whatayacallit—"
"A cashier'scheck," somebody said.
May 17, 1964
"A cashier'scheck. I know he ain't got it, but every time he starts off the phone I say,'Well, but what about—' and we gotta go through the whole thing over. I got himon there quarter of three, three o'clock. Collect." Everybody in the roomenjoyed Joey's practical joke.
Lou Duva, whobails people out of jail in Paterson, N.J. when he is not acting in his newcapacity as Joey's personal promoter, came in with a giant poster:"Champion vs. Champion, Joey Giardello, World Middleweight Champion, vs.Rocky Rivero, Middleweight Champion of Argentina, Buckeye State Promotions,Cleveland Arena." Duva collects posters. This one had taken liberties,however, because this would not be for any title—Joey has not defended hisyet—but rather a 10-round bout for television and for Joey to take risk-freeadvantage of his high station while he is leisurely deciding to fight RubinCarter or Joey Archer or Dick Tiger or Laszlo Papp or, perhaps, FlorentinoFernandez in Puerto Rico.
As usual, themiddleweight division is better stocked with good fighters than any other. (Menwho weigh 147 to 160 pounds are naturally more plentiful, being of a size thatis standard once easy living has been exposed to exercise and diet.) Theheavyweight championship, of all the championships contrived to get a man tofight, is the most prized, but the middleweight champions—Ketchel, Soose,Papke, Walker, Zale, Graziano, Robinson, Cerdan—are often as well known, andamong their challengers the competition is the best. Right now ChampionGiardello could make his selection blindfolded and come up with a legitimatecontender, so scrambled is the division.
Joey says he has amoral obligation to give ex-Champion Tiger a return fight and would not minddiscussing it, but he has not seen Tiger's name in the paper in some time andpresumes Tiger is back in Nigeria making political speeches and raisingchildren and hanging around obscure places with Hogan (Kid) Bassey. As a verygood second thought, there is Joey Archer, the flat-faced New Yorker who moveslike a sparrow and has won 40 of 41 fights. Laszlo Papp, the Hungarian whofought in three Olympics and then, at the retirement age of 31, turnedprofessional, is a possibility, and so is Rubin (Hurricane) Carter, who hasimpressed people with his mandarin mustache, his jailbird stare—the mostinsidious east of Sonny Liston—and his left hook. There are also Jose Torres,who has everything but an abiding interest in fist-fighting, and the twoItalians, Sandro Mazzinghi and Nino Benvenuti, and the Cuban exile, Fernandez,and Luis Folledo of Spain, and names that used to mean a lot, like Ray Robinsonand Gene Fullmer.
Naturally, none ofthe contenders wants to waste time fighting another, and when they even mentionthat tactical blunder their managers get so upset as to appear unbalanced."Archer is a stinking, rotten national disgrace as No. 1 contender,"screamed Tedeschi, Hurricane Carter's manager, after Carter lost a decision toArcher. Naturally, too, Giardello is not interested in any giveawayopportunities. He was a top contender himself for 12 years and got only oneother title shot and not a single Green Stamp until he fought Tiger. He is notat all unwilling to let all parties wait until September, when he will probablyfight Carter. In the meantime there is money to be made fighting people likeRocky Rivero, on TV, out of jeopardy. Giardello likes the idea so much that heis fighting Rivero again May 22.
"Riveroweighed in 69½ today," said Joey on the table in Cleveland. "He wassupposed to make 65. I coulda raised a stink, right? Made him sweat it off. Butwhat the hell. I was worried myself. I thought we were gonna have to do what wedid in Jacksonville that time, right, Adolph? I come in there about 180. I geton the scales and Adolph grabs me up by the trunks. He's cutting me in half,Adolph, and I see we're going down to about 150, so I nudge him to take iteasy. I weigh 164 for the fight."
Adolph Ritacco hasbeen Giardello's trainer for nine years. Joey cherishes Adolph because he is anexpert doorpounder at 5 o'clock in the morning. When it is time for roadwork,Adolph does not take no for an answer. He does not take later for an answer,either. He is 50, short and square, with black-agate eyes and slick black hairand arms cluttered with the names of battlegrounds he encountered in World WarII: Guadalcanal, Bougainville, New Hebrides, Fiji,—12 in all. There are somemisspellings. "That tattoo artist didn't know nothing," explainsAdolph. He is a man of infinite good humor and patience, except when ArnoldGiovanetti, Giardello's adviser, in importunate reference to Adolph's size,suggests he take a bath in the lavatory. Then Adolph smiles and hits Arnold inthe elbow, and Arnold screams and runs away. "Where's Arnold?" askedJoey. "You know that censorable Arnold got his Cadillac before I got mine?I think he must be padding expenses."
Arnold Giovanetticame into the room. As Joey's "adviser" he is entitled to 5% and tolook worried all the time. He makes Cadillac money working for the UnitedStates Lines, but Joey he worries about. Joey does not have a manager—he paidoff the last in a line of sensationally inadequate ones, Armand Laurenzi, afterthe Tiger fight. ("Ten thousand it cost me to get rid of thatLaurenzi," he said, "but it was worth it. I'm free, now. I'm my ownmanager. I'm so happy.") Arnold Giovanetti has been one of Joey's morefaithful satellites. "He tells everybody he's 28, Arnold, but he's really32," said Joey, his eyebrows raised and his hand up to his face as if toreveal a very classified piece of information. Arnold heard.
"You're agoof-off, that's what you are," said Arnold. Arnold was wearing pointedhigh-back shoes and a striped blue shirt with an enormous collar, a good fiveinches at the tips. It was clearly the grandest collar in all of Cleveland."Relax, Arnold. Arnold is very conscious of television," said Joey."One night I catch him rubbing my back between rounds in the corner, likethis. I look up and he's moving his mouth, like he was telling me what to do. Isay, 'What's it, Arnold? The camera on you, Arnold?' "
"I wasnervous," said Arnold. "I've been on television lots of times sincethen. I'm an old pro now."
"Joey's beenon maybe 40 times," said Adolph.
"Yeah, but notsince 1960, the Gene Fullmer fight. I'm thinking about that camera right now. Iwanta look good."
Joey hopped up andflicked at Arnold's hair, mussing it up. Arnold is very particular about hishair.
"Ohhhhhhhh,look at that, and he just had it teased," squealed Adolph. "Quick,Billy," he said to Billy Novelli, who dresses hair in South Philly."Get the comb."
Joey was penitent."I hadda do it, Arnold. I'm sorry, but I hadda do it."
"Don't louseme up. You're all the time lousing me up," said Arnold, heading for themirror. "Ain't nobody serious around here? You gotta fight in 15 minutes,and you're playing around. You want us to all go out there looking likecrumbums?"
"O.K., O.K.,let's get serious," said Joey, sitting back down with exaggerated gravity."No more of this bull-slinging around." He was quiet for a moment,lying back. "This is the worst part," he said. "Sitting aroundthese censorable rooms, waiting for the censorable fight, putting thiscensorable tape all over yourself. I tell you I couldn't take it more'n ahunnerd times more." He grinned, and everybody laughed.
"Where'sRocky, anyway?" said Adolph. "Rocky Marciano's going to be in thecorner tonight."
"Marciano is avery good friend of mine," said Joey. "He's another one of themundesirables I been associating with. Him and Pete Retzlaff and Paul Hornungand Vice-President Nixon and all them undesirables." Joey is still sore atthe New York Athletic Commission because he is unlicensed to fight in New York.In 1957 the commission undertook a study of the company Joey kept and professedgreat shock at the findings. Joey once lost a bet on his beloved BrooklynDodgers and to pay off borrowed $200 from Antonio Caponigro who, as TonyBananas, has one of the more complete police records. But that, too, was longago.
"Tony Bananas?We don't mention that name no more," said Adolph. "I ain't seen himfour, five years."
"I tell youthis," said Joey, sitting up. "I trust Tony Bananas before I do thatcensorable New York Athletic Commission. At least he's a man of his word. Whenhe tells you something, at least you know it's going to be so. I got into theoffice to get my New York license, and the guy says I gotta come back. Comeback? What the censorable for? 'We haven't decided on you yet.' I blew mystack. I Blew My Stack. I called him every name in the book." He lay backdown. "So what? I don't need New York."
"That's right,Joe, you're champ now," said Adolph.
The gloves werelaced on, and Joey deposited his front teeth in a cup, proffered by Adolph. Itwas almost time. The Giardello solar system moved out into the shadowy alcove,and Joey began warming up—jab, hook, cross, slide, feint, left, left, right.There are no better moves in boxing than those made by Joey Giardello."Hey, did I tell you about my son Carmine?" said Joey, pausing."He's saying grace Sunday, and at the end he says, 'Please, God, make Daddywin the fight.' How about that Carmine?"
"You ever seena guy so loose? He's always loose like this," said Laundi D'Ancona. Laundisells life insurance in South Philly and takes Joey to the Philadelphia AC onhis membership card.
"He lovesthose kids, Joey," said Adolph, standing away as Joey worked. "That'shis whole world. Can't stand to be away from them. Never seen anything like it.We get in here Monday, and 11 o'clock Monday night he's pacing the floor,'Gotta call Rosalie, gotta get the family out here.' She come in yestiday butleft the kids home. Joey hates to go out of town anymore. Used to be he'd sayhe's going down the corner for a pack of cigarettes, and he don't come back forsix weeks."
The call came, andthey followed the cops down to the ring. There Joey boxed 10 rounds to adecision over Rivero. It was his 125th fight in 16 years, his 95th victory. Itwas very close and rough, because Rivero is built like the foundation for 26stories and he advances with stolid, amiable disregard for safety. Rivero wasnot artful, but he was strong and persistent and had a very good left hook thatrepeatedly got through. Six times in a row he landed with the hook in theninth, but Joey pitched and yawed with the punches—it is an art that mostfighters lack—and he did not go down. He never does.
It was an excitingfight, and afterward Joey complained to a hesitant young sports reporter inhorn-rimmed glasses that the long layoff and the banquets and all that weighthe took off made him sluggish. The reporter wanted to know when he was going todefend the title, and Joey asked him to please go see Lou Duva or ArnoldGiovanetti or Adolph Ritacco, because "they know more about that kind ofstuff than I do." He winked to a friend nearby. "I think they're tryingto work something out now," he said, looking urgent.
"This is afighting champion," Adolph shouted. Adolph is a connoisseur of clichés. Herepeated it, upping the decibel count. "This is a fightingchampion."
The gloves werecut off, and Joey gave them to a friend. "I always give 'em away, exceptthe ones from the Tiger fight," he said. "Them I keep." An arenaattendant came in looking for the gloves, and Joey told the friend to hidethem. "Sorry," Joey said to the attendant. "They're gone. Anybodysee them gloves?"
Later, withRosalie as the beauty mark—Billy Novelli had combed her hair, too, she said—thesolar system moved out to Angelo's in Cleveland's Little Italy, and Joey atepizza and Italian sausage and posed for pictures with Rocky Marciano. RockyRivero came in, too, and Joey posed with him. He orbited from table to table,introducing friends to friends, and ran across a guy he had known in the Army."We were paratroopers together, 82nd Airborne," he said, pleased by thechance meeting. "I made 29 jumps." Finally, at 2 a.m., Rosalie said itwas time to go, because they were driving back to Philadelphia and Joey had toshare in the driving. "Once I drove all the way back from Boston after afight, in the rain," Joey said and got up.
"I shouldabeen champion a long time ago," he sighed. "I tell you if I'd beenchampion when I was 23, I'da gone crazy. I would have gone right out of mymind. Now I'm smarter. Now I just go home. That makes better sense."
Carmine (Chubby)Tilelli, third of six sons of a Brooklyn sanitation department worker, onetimestreet-fight champion of P.S. 203, has not always paid strict attention to thevalue of good sense. He got his name mixed not only with Tony Bananas', butalso with that of Frankie Carbo, the hoodlum boxing boss who is now serving a25-year term in federal prison. Bobby Jones was alleged to have received a$15,000 bribe to throw a fight with Giardello in 1954 (the necessity of whichis dubious, because Jones was never in Giardello's class), and Joey himselfreported receiving a $50,000 offer to fall down. More tangibly, Joey once won a$5 citation for street-corner lounging in his beloved South Philly, and onHalloween night 1954, right when he was on the verge of a chance to fight BoboOlson for the middleweight championship, he helped five of his friends take afilling station and a filling station attendant apart. Joey wound up in jail,with no title fight, and served 4½ months of a six-to-18-month sentence.
Because Joey wasnever very smart about getting himself out of jams, the newspaper files on himdeal mostly with the untidiness of his conduct. This is too bad. Joey Giardellois not an evil man. His regiments of friends are genuine, and so are hisregiments of hangers-on because, he is an easy touch. He has fought for charityand appeared often at fund-raising dinners. He collects compliments and kindlyremarks as though they were treasures worth fighting for, and he will tell youwithout prelude that a circuit judge got up at his testimonial banquet at theSons of Italy Restaurant in Philadelphia last month and said, "I see thisman not as a great fighter but as a great father." Joey is very proud ofthat.
The Giardellos nowlive in a $35,000 split-level house, heavily mortgaged, on an acre at the endof a gravel road in Cherry Hill, N.J., 15 minutes from Philadelphia. The roadruns perpendicular to the backstretch at Garden State Park, and on a race dayyou can hear the results from his living room. He wants to build a swimmingpool in the backyard; the backyard at present is mostly swamp. He has threesons: Joseph, 12; Carmine Jr., 10, who is somewhat retarded, although noserious problem; and Paul, 1½ (the boys all carry the surname Tilelli); and amongrel dog named Prince.
The house and the$6,800 white Cadillac convertible with the black leather upholstery and amodest savings account are the extent of Giardello's fortune after 16 years offighting, but he sees that changing now, because he has a lawyer handling hisaffairs and planning real estate investments. "An apartment house, maybe,and later maybe a lounge," says Joey.
Joey is very solidin Cherry Hill. He managed the Cherry Hill Little League team to thechampionship last year, though he found it sticky business because son Josephis the catcher. What Joseph often caught was a lot of hell from his old man,Joey says. "What would it look like, me yelling at the other kids when myboy's on the team? I think he might not want to play with us this year, but Itell him I'll trade him to the last-place club if he doesn't." Joseph isalso a boy scout, so Joey is interested in boy scouts, too ("I may even goon one of them camping trips this summer"), and the father objects onlyperfunctorily when the son rousts him out of bed at 5:30 in the morning to takehim to church. Joseph is an altar boy.
"This is best,here, away from South Philly," said Joey as he backed his Cadillac out ofthe drive one day before the Rivero fight. "I go there to train and to bewith my friends, but this, this is best for my family. My son Joseph willprobably go to college. What he is, is a very nice gentleman, Joseph. Carmine,he's retarded, so we don't think about no college for Carmine. Joseph wants tobe a priest. Laundi says, 'Wait'll he finds out what girls are for, then hewon't wanta be no priest.' But Laundi's wrong. Joseph is very serious.
"He don't carenothing about fighting, Joseph. I don't think he ever told anybody who I was.Then one day he came home and asked my wife if his daddy ever been to jail.Some kid told him, I guess. My wife said to see me. That night I got him aloneand told him how I made a mistake and had to pay. 'But, Joseph,' I told him,'if your daddy was no good, if he was a bad man, would the chief of police andthe judge and all these wonderful people come to the testimonial?' He cried,Joseph.
"They came,too, you know. To the testimonial after the Tiger fight. Chuck Bednarik, too,and Pete Retzlaff, and Tom Gola, Marciano, all them undesirables. MickeyShaughnessy dropped his bag at the station and come to perform. And Kay Stevenscame down from the Latin Casino to sing. That was really nice of her. My boyCarmine watched her close, then afterward he made all the moves shedid."
Heading for SouthPhilly, Joey said, "I ran five miles this morning, me and Adolph and thiskid who's doing my life story. Segrell's his name, S-e-g-r-e-l-l. Bob Segrell.Sells insurance in Brooklyn. Never wrote nothing, but he's a friend of mine andhe wants to do it and I told him sure.
"I'm smarternow than I used to be," he said. "My mind is better. I was alwayspretty good in school, but I was dumb in other ways. I'm getting my transcriptfrom Brooklyn so I can finish high school. I need 80 points, 50 in math. I wasgood in math. I hate to be dumb in front of my kids. That's the worst thing inthe world. That new math is tough. When Joseph's got a math problem I can'thandle, I go see Segrell. Then I can come back and make believe I'm smart.
"The biggestthing in the world to me is that my kids are honest. My baby, he's the one Igotta worry about. He's a devil like me. He's one, and I'm worried about him.I'd never want my kids to give me the trouble I gave my folks.
"I alwaysthought life was a big playground. Hanging around corners. But not my kids.Thank God, they're well brought up. They don't have no prejudice. My oldneighborhood, there's prejudice. You see it when you're away from it. My boyCarmine cries if you say something nasty about colored people. When I go to bednights I pray my sons be good Christian men.
"I've changed.You see me now, you see my kids, going to movies, playing miniature golf. Wenever lived better. It's hard to make a living at boxing, believe me, it's veryhard, but I been supporting a wife and kids 13 years. I've been a lot ofplaces. Last year I took the kids to Disneyland. That cost me fifteen hundredbucks. I'd like one more trip to Europe, take the kids, maybe have an interviewwith the Pope. I met a lot of wonderful people. But I'd like to meet one morewonderful person. The guy that says, 'Joey, I got a great job for you. Come onover.' "
The Passyunk Gymin South Philly is on the corner of Passyunk and Moore, three floors above thestreet and one floor above the J&D Billiards Parlor, out of whose windowsthe guys used to throw water on the cops below. But the times have sweetenedPassyunk and Moore, and the cops stay dry. "Billiards parlor" is aeuphemism; J&D's is a pool hall in the traditional sense—cheap, inelegant,dim, no women allowed. Perfect. The men's room is reserved for "kings,"and tacked over the door is a pair of boxing gloves worn by a great fighterwhose name nobody can remember right off.
Joey has his ownprivate cue stick at J&D's, in red binding, and is treated with theirreverence the boys figure a title deserves.
"Hey, get thatbum outa here," shouted Duke Cavillo, one of the gym's three owners, asJoey walked in the door.
"Everybodyloves Joe," said Adolph Ritacco, drinking coffee at the bar.
Joey ordered a cupof tea with lemon and got $2 worth of dimes and went over to the pinballmachine, where a young man in a loud checked suit and a high pompadour wasshowing great finesse losing his dimes. Joey identified the pompadour asRalphie, a blossoming pool shark.
A stocky, baldishman with a broad, pleasant face came in and shouted at Joey, "Hello there,July 16th." Joey gave him 50¢. "That's Armand," he said. "Heremembers birthdays, not names. He knows birthdays of people dead 10, 15 years.Hey, Armand, you go around and see my wife on your birthday?"
"Yeah, yeah,seeyaround," said Armand, "seeyaround."
"I'm serious,Armand. Didn't you see her?"
"Yeah, but shedidn't remember."
Joey went over tothe pay phone and dialed his wife. "Hey, Rosalie, Armand says you're acheap skate."
Armand wasoutraged. "I never said it, I never said that."
Eventually Joeyconned Ralphie into a game of pool at 75-25. Joey had to make 25 to win."Ralphie's a good shooter," said Joey aloud, "but he chokes in thembig money matches."
"Joey's aquitter. Watch, you'll see him quit," said Ralphie.
Joey experiencedearly troubles, and Ralphie, who enjoys his role as a hustler, shrieked inpleasure.
"Look, Joey'shemorrhaging! He's hemorrhaging!"
"Get the cutman! Where's Adolph?" said a tall, curly-haired boy who had joined thecircle. "Cut man!"
Adolph drained hiscoffee cup and sat down on one of the folding chairs near the window. "It'sa miracle, Joey is. Six, seven years now. Been very religious. Goes to Mass allthe time. Very serious about—" he pointed toward the ceiling. "When hestarts giving me bull, I tell him, 'It's O.K., Joey, but don't forget,' and Ipoint up and it really shakes him. He's a good Catholic, Joey. And he workshard. He had to get me up when we was training for Tiger. A miracle."
The game was goingbetter for Joey. He ran off six straight points and got his 26. Ralphie, theslick in the checked suit, broke for the door and Joey ran him down. He got himby the scruff and pulled him back to the table. Ralphie was trying to laugh ashe surrendered the three bucks.
The next day Joeycame in and waved his solar system upstairs to the gym, where he boxed sixrounds with two Negro fighters brought in from New York. This was preparatoryto the Rivero fight, and Joey looked good.
It is possiblethat Giardello, at 33, is better now than ever, principally because he isbetter trained and, second, because he is enormously proud of his championship.He knows it all—he slips punches, he counters, he throws exquisitecombinations, he is a master mover. He is what is called a Chicago fighter;most of his movement is from the waist up—which gives an illusion of greatmobility. Punches miss him by fractions, and when they land, as Rivero's did,the impact is diminished by his movement.
Because of hisneed for mobility, Joey has looked his worst when he was not well trained—whichhas been often. His record—with its victories over Tiger Jones, Ray Robinson,Joe Giambra—is charred with incredible upsets when he was heavily favored (4 to1 over Pierre Langlois, for example).
Nevertheless, hehas been ranked for 15 years and, as one of the few truly competent strategistsin the sport today, he seldom fights in the same manner twice. He adapts.Sometimes this has not always worked out; when he fought Gene Fullmer for thetitle in Bozeman, Mont, in 1960, one butt led to another—"he butted me, Ibutted back," said Joey—and the result was a bloody, graceless, shameful15-round draw. Joey concluded afterward that Fullmer would never give himanother chance, and he was right.
It is likely, too,that were he to fight Tiger again he would beat him again, because he hasfigured out his style—they have fought three times, Joey winning the lasttwo—and Tiger, with his short arms and his strange ability to counterpunch offa lead, never changes. The others are mostly headhunters (it is in the bodythat Giardello, at 33, is most vulnerable) and, at this point, a Carter or anArcher is not experienced enough to take him. Carter is the hardest hitter inthe division, but he has had only 23 fights and Archer showed how easy it is tomake him miss. If he were to remain in condition, and discreetly cautious withhis scheduling, Giardello as champion would brighten the corners of thePassyunk Gym for many months to come.
Joey thrives onthe atmosphere of that place. Everything in it appears to have been painted, atsome time long past, a dark, crayon green, and then gone over with razor bladesand a fine veneer of dirt. There is a dead TV set in one corner. Joey has aprivate room, with a padlock, a table, two chairs and a window. After thesix-round workout for Rivero, he sat on the table and smoked a cigarette. Hisfriends pressed in around him.
"You know,you're a good-looking guy, Joey," said Duke.
"I agreewidya," said Joey. In the tiny room, the crowd was appreciative. There wasa large man with a carnation in his lapel.
"Hey,Marty," said Joey, "all you do is hang around these censorable poolhalls?' "
"Slumming," said Marty Collins, who is an ex-fighter. "And what'swith you, Joey? All you know is profanity. Some champion. Some champion. You agreaseball, that's what you are."
"If I'm agreaseball, what about these 450 people at my testimonial?" Joey wasenjoying the battle.
"In my daythey give you a funeral," said Marty. "Who you ever fought?"
"I ain't beenknocked down 17 times in one round like you, Marty."
"Sixteen.Sixteen times," said Marty. He put his arm around Joey and grinned."Good luck, Joey," he said quietly. "You ain't nogreaseball."
Somebody said thatJoey should become a manager. "I got this Irish kid," said Joey."Good-looking boy. Don't speak too well. But already he beat up two copsand threw a guy off the roof."
On Monday, Joeyand Adolph went to Cleveland for the Rivero fight, and by the day of the fightmany of the solar system had arrived and a gin game was moving along briskly inRoom 906 at the Sheraton-Hilton.
"Come on,Joey," said Adolph, perplexed. "You been playing two hours. You gottarest now."
"One morehand," said Joey.
"You said thatthree hands ago. And that's the third cigarette."
"Third. I beencounting 'em."
"Take thecards from him," said Rosalie, who had come in for lunch.
"Sure,"she said, smiling.
At 3 o'clock Joeyand Rosalie and another couple went down and ate.
Afterward hewalked four blocks to St. John's Cathedral to light a candle. "I alwayspray not to get hurt, never to win," said Joey. "Like the priest says,you don't pray you're a fighter the day you're gonna fight."
He went back tothe hotel and napped two hours, and finally it was time to go. They went downand piled into a cab, Joey and Rosalie, Arnold and Adolph, and instructed thedriver to take them to the Cleveland Arena.
"Going to thehockey game, eh?" said the cabbie.
"Yeah,"said Joey. "Hockey. Arnold here plays for the Barons. Better hurry, driver.Arnold can't play in them street clothes, you know."