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THE POTTER SHIELD
The Western Champion
C CWELL, I know it. We can't get that fold out, no matter how we fix it.'
"It won t make any difference. They won't trip over it, and Dread-
naught will knock him out anyhow." . 0 ,
r "Oh! Let it go! If anyone trips it will be 'Knock-out' Brown. He s no good.
This conversation took place on the forward deck of the U. S. S. Mznnesota.
The objects of the conversation were "Dreadnaught" Hooker, champion heavy-
weight of the Minnesota, and "Knock-out" Brown, ex-prize-lighter and champion
heavyweight of the 146th Battalion of the U. S. Infantry. .The men who had
spoken were laying a piece of canvas on the deck and stretching ropes around it,
forming a prize-ring in preparation for the fight that was to take place the next
evening. This fight was to decide a long contested championship of the Western
division of our Army and the Western fleet of our Navy. The ring for the fight
had been laid directly on the deck. Near the middle of the canvas was a bolt that
was not flush with the planking. This caused the canvas to rise a little, making
the fold mentioned above.
Knock-out Brown was a fighter with a record. He had won seven straight
fights, the last six of which had been "knock-outs." The "Dreadnaught" was just
a mountain of human flesh. He had won most of his fights by sheer weight and
strength, and not by any skill in boxing.
The long-awaited evening arrived at last. The fighters entered the ring and
were introduced to the spectators. Dreadnaught looked his name. He was six
feet four inches in his stocking feet and he weighed two hundred and twelve
pounds. Knock-out Brown also looked the part. He was all muscle, quick as a
cat, and he had the chest of a giant. I-Ie was just five feet eleven inches in stocking
feet and his weight was one hundred and ninety-eight pounds.
The fighters approached each other. There were a few little taps to test one
another and then the fight began in earnest. It was evident that Knock-out deserved
his name. Most of his punches went to his opponent's face, while Dreadnaught's
were all long swings and slow hooks. If that right of Dreadnaught's ever landed,
however, all would be over.
In the second round Knock-out worked around and planted a smash in the
enemy's stomach, followed by a hook to the jaw. The sailor staggered, recovered,
and feebly evaded the onrush of the other. A few seconds later the gong rang.
The third round was all clinches, breaks, and clinches again. Dreadnaught
had not quite recovered from that jab inthe stomach and he was stalling for time.
In the fourth round both men came back hard. There was much quick, fast
Work that set the spectators to cheering wildly. Suddenly Dreadnaught swung.
He caught the soldier on the side of the jaw and laid him flat. The referee's hand
went up and down as he counted out the seconds.
"One! two! three! four! five!" Knock-out stirred and tried to rise. "Six! seven!
eight! nine!" He was on his feet. Dreadnaught seemed to be paying more atten-
tion to the audience than he was to the soldier. Knock-out-'s arm came back, the
arm that had spelled disaster to so many. He had one punch left and he was
going to use it! THEN! The arm came forward like lightning! The sailor, as
he jumped back to avoid the blow, caught his foot on that fatal fold in the canvas.
He fell backwards, the blow just touching his nose, and his head thumped against
the deck! Then all was darkness. Dimly he heard a voice saying: "One! two!
three! four! five! six! seven! eight! nine! Out!"
The referee approached Knock-out. He raised the gloved hand high above his
head and cried: "Knock-out Brown, champion of the Western division of our
Army and Navy!!'
Even the referee didn't know that the bolt had been a silent partner in the
R. G., '22.