Down for the Count by Fred Vogel

Calvin Allen and Leo ‘The Lip’ Grady were superstars in the world of boxing during the seventies. Their three fights against one another are legendary. Allen won the first bout with a TKO in the eighth. A year later, Grady would turn the tables with a fourth round knockout. But it was their rubber match that people still talk about today. It was the lanky, reserved, black man from New Jersey against the stocky, white, Irishman from Queens. The crowd was divided in their loyalties. Back and forth the two boxers went, bobbing and weaving, each landing devastating blows on the other. One would be knocked to the canvas and then the other. The sold-out arena was in a frenzy. It was the closest, most brutal, of their three meetings. Round after round it continued, with neither fighter giving an inch.

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 The Boatyard Gang by Tom Sheehan

The gang from the boatyard, by God you had to love ‘em, the lot of them, every man jack of them; braised, poured, scratched, abraded, welded, mucked about by all of life, you had to love ‘em. Up front you have to know that those who had gotten nicknames felt honored, for that moniker stuff usually came from within, a private medal of sorts, earned without hoopla, seared forever. Those who hadn’t been so acclaimed patiently waited some kind of anointment, slow in coming, taking over like a root, underneath everything seen or known. Some of them had names like Max, Slad, Wilf, Muckles, Shag, Ronnie J, Slip, a feast of designations varied as character. And the sole captain of his own boat in the lot of them was Shanklin Garuf.

To a man, you had to love ‘em.

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