EXT. JOE LOUIS ARENA – NIGHT
Joe Louis Arena is an enormous sports and civic arena located smack in the center of downtown Detroit, right on the edge of the Detroit River. On the lighted sign in front of the building it reads, “Championship Boxing Tonight, Johnson v. Hernandez, Plus Undercard.”
INT. PROMOTOR’S OFFICE – NIGHT
Sitting behind a large desk, with a plaque that reads, “Bob Aronowitz, Promoter,” sits BOB ARONOWITZ, the promoter. Bob is 70 years old, in pretty good shape, has a full head of white hair, is dressed in a suit and tie, smokes a big fat cigar and listens to classical music, which he vaguely conducts with his cigar. In the background we can hear the roar of a big crowd watching a prize fight.
The door opens and in steps Bob’s son, the co-promoter, JEFF ARONOWITZ, who is 45 years old, sharply-dressed in a suit in tie, and talks fast.
Two of the undercards have run short.
1st round K.O., 3rd round D.Q. And this
fight doesn’t look like it’s gonna go very
I’m sure you’ve got some pickup fighters
booked. Who’ve you got?
Jeff sits down and grins.
Jesús Perez and Tim Kelly.
Bob grins back, looking impressed.
Nice. That was a barnburner for the
welterweight title ten years ago in Vegas.
Those guys gave it all they had, and then
some. Everybody in the front row got
doused with blood.
Yeah, and I think they both left part of
their brains in Vegas that night, too.
Well, what you lose in Vegas stays in
Vegas, right? Man, I haven’t heard of
either of these guys in years. Where’d
you find them?
They’re both still fighting. Perez is
in T.J and Kelly’s back in Boston.
Neither guy’s won a fight in a while,
but they both still have decent records,
even if all the Ws are old.
It’ll be fun. I’ll come out and watch it.
Nice work, boy-chick.
Thanks, Pa. I appreciate your appreciation.
Yeah? Go take a walk around. Do your
Jeff stands and leaves. Bob returns to conducting with his cigar.
INT. LOCKER ROOM – NIGHT
Jeff enters the locker room, and as he opens the door we can suddenly hear the huge crowd in the arena. As he shuts the door the crowd sound fades. Jeff finds four men sitting there: two on one side of the room, two on the other side. On one side sits JESÚS “THE SAVIOR” PEREZ, a handsome, rugged-looking, Latino man of 35 dressed in boxing trunks, gloves and a yellow, green and red robe, and sitting next to him is his trainer, MIGUEL, a wiry, weathered, Latino man of 55; on the other side sits “IRISH” TIM KELLY, a flat-nosed redhead of 35, also dressed in boxing trunks, gloves and wearing a green robe, and sitting beside him is his trainer, JIMMY, a 60-year-old, heavyset man, with very thick eyebrows and a red nose.
OK, you guys, you’re goin’ on. Be ready
in about ten minutes. Since this is a
televised fight, you both go from $500 to
$2,500, but since it’s taped and not live,
they may or may not use your fight in the
final show. I think they will since the whole
damn thing is running short tonight. If
they do air the fight you both go up to five
Gs. So, give us a good fight. Give us the
follow-up to your championship fight, cause
that was the shit, man. That was a terrific
fight. OK, good luck to both of you.
Jesús sullenly stares at the floor, his gloves hanging limply between his legs. Miguel rubs Jesús’ neck. On the other side of the room, Tim is standing, has his gloves up and is jabbing, occasionally throwing a hook. Jimmy looks amused, his arms crossed over his ample belly.
Aye, so here we are again, ten years
later. It’s like déjà vu all over again.
Like the man said, that was a helluva
fight ten years ago at Mandalay Bay.
A barn-burner. You boys gave it every-
thing, including the kitchen sink.
Yeah, I never did get a chance to congrat-
ulate you on a really great fight. It was
one for the books, man. You were like
Roberto Duran in his prime.
Jesús finally looks up and he has a twisted, snarling scowl on his face.
Yeah, great fuckin’ fight. I lost my title.
That was the worst fuckin’ fight of my
whole life! That was the worst fuckin’
night of my whole life! Congratulations
Miguel ignores everything and just keeps rubbing. Tim looks honestly shocked, and Jimmy still looks amused.
Sure, of course. I never looked at it
that way. But you did take the belt
from someone else before me, right?
But not on TV and not in Vegas! No, I
had to lose my belt on TV in Vegas! On
fucking points! And a split-fucking-
decision, no less!
Aye, lad, but that’s just how it goes,
isn’t it? Some fights ya win and some
That’s easy for you to say, old man.
No, it’s not easy to say. In my days in
the ring I took many a-beating meself,
but I never took it personal. It’s a sport.
A gentleman’s sport.
Jesús rises to his feet.
My life’s never been the same after
that, man. It’s all been fuckin’ downhill!
One goddamn thing after another!
Well, I’m bloody sorry to here that.
Hey, I lost my third defense. I only
hung on to the belt for six months.
Jesús turns his angry glare on Tim.
But you took it away from me! And I
almost had a fucking Corona commercial!
Jesús stands, goes into the bathroom and slams the door. Miguel finally looks up at Tim and Jimmy and shrugs.
Your man seems a wee bit angry.
He’s nervous. He hasn’t fought in fifteen
months. He’ll be OK.
He doesn’t sound OK.
He’s an angry man. He was an angry kid,
too. I found him when he was nine living in a
rusty old car with some dogs on a backstreet
of Tijuana. He’d been living there for years,
and he lived just like a wild dog. He couldn’t
even remember having parents. I took him
in and I’ve looked after him ever since. But
he was so angry all the time I could only think
of one thing for him—boxing. So I became
his trainer, and I’ve been training him 25 years.
And he made all the way up to being a world
champ, for a while. Well, that’s a lot more
than most fighters will ever achieve.
He loved being champ for that four or five
months. He was a superstar in Tijuana. And
he made a lotta plans based on it that he shouldn’t
of made. I told him to just keep his focus and
keep training, but . . . he thought he’d be champ
Nobody’s champ forever.
No. Nobody is.
Jesús comes out of the bathroom, sits down next to Miguel and continues to scowl at the floor.
Jeff opens the door and sticks his head in.
OK, guys, you’re on. Let’s see the
Miguel and Jimmy both escort their fighters out of the locker room.
Our view moves to the clock on the wall—it’s 10:07.
INT. LOCKER ROOM – NIGHT
The clock on the wall now reads 10:37 and we can hear the spectators in the arena cheering wildly. The door of the locker bursts open and in comes Jesús, spattered with blood, covered in sweat, followed closely by Miguel.
Slow down, amigo, what’s the rush?
You just won a great fight.
Jesús holds up his gloved hands.
Quick, Miguel, gets these things off me.
Just do it. Fast!
Miguel pulls a pair of surgical scissors out of his sweater pocket and snips the laces of the gloves. He pulls off the gloves, then goes to cut off the hand-wraps. The scissors hit something solid, like stone. Miguel’s eyes widen in horror.
These wraps are loaded. That’s plaster.
Just get ‘em off me!
Miguel does as he’s told, but it’s not that easy. They hear an ambulance siren start up really loud, then recede as it drives away. Miguel and Jesús look into each other’s eyes.
Loading your gloves is illegal. If that
boy dies, it’s murder. Why? Why
would you do something so terrible?
He took my fuckin’ belt!
But doing this didn’t get it back, did it?
No, I didn’t.
Then why would you do this?
It’s just the best I could do.
Finally, Miguel cuts through the palm of both plaster wraps and cracks them to get them off Jesús’ hands. Jesús points.
Put ‘em in your bag! Quick!
Once again, Miguel does as he’s told. Meanwhile, Jesús pulls out two old, regular hand-wraps from his robe pockets and pulls them over his fingers.
Just then Jeff bursts into the room. He sees Jesús.
Jesus Christ, Jesús, what the hell you
doin’ in here? And why did you run
out of the ring?
Jesús wipes his mouth.
I had to throw up.
That’s pretty common. Now get your
butt over to the green room, Teddy Altes
wants to interview you for TV. Go on,
And then Jimmy comes into the locker room looking utterly horrified.
They’ve taken Tim to the hospital. He
wasn’t breathing when they put him in
the ambulance. His jaw and nose are both
broken. I don’t know if he’ll make it. That
was one helluva beating you gave him.
(looks Jesús in the eye)
I’ve never seen you hit so hard before, and
I’ve seen ya fight quite a few times. How
I had a good night.
Jesús begins to head out the door past Jimmy. Jimmy suddenly reaches out and grabs Jesús by the hands. Jimmy inspects Jesús’ hand-wraps. Jesús lets him, then brusquely pulls his hands away and exits. Jimmy turns to Miguel who is just zipping the gym bag.
What about it? Why was your man so
powerful tonight, when he never has been
before? He ain’t even fought in fifteen months.
What’s the secret?
He trained hard. This fight meant a lot
to him. It meant everything to him.
Yeah, I guess it must have.
Jimmy turns and leaves. Miguel is now the only one left in the locker room. He appears highly distressed as he stands there holding the zipped gym bag in his hands. Miguel looks around the room.
On the floor in front of the bench where he and Jesús were just sitting is a quarter-sized hunk of plaster. Miguel quickly picks it up and puts it in his pocket. Miguel turns and slowly exits the locker room. The door shuts behind him.