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The Greatest Knockout Artist

of All Time: ALCOHOL

By Thomas ‘The Wizard’ McKay

Tony Ayala

Part II

    (Ten Rounds with Jose Cuervo)
Singer Tracy Byrd
Writers: Casey Bethard, Michael Heeney & Maria Cannon-Goodman

Well I walked in and the band just started
the singer couldn't care a tune in a bucket
Was on a mission to drown her memory but
I thought no way with all this ruckus

But after one round with Jose Cuervo
I caught my boots tapping along with the beat
And After two rounds with Jose Cuervo
The band was sounding pretty darn good to me

Then some stranger asked me to dance
and i reviled to her my two left feet
Said "Don't get me wrong, im glad you asked,
But tonight's about beating an old memory

Then after Three rounds with Jose Cuervo
I let her lead me out on the floor
And after Four rounds with Jose Cuervo
I was showing off moves never seen before

Well, round five or round six
I forgot what I came to forget
After Round seven, Or was it eight?
I bought a round for the whole dang place

And after nine rounds with Jose Cuervo
They were counting me out and i was about to give in
Then after ten rounds with Jose Cuervo
I lost count and started counting again

One round with Jose Cuervo
I went two rounds
Three rounds

“Viva Mexico” is a chant that rings loud and clear at Mexican connected soccer games and boxing matches rather they are held in Mexico, Los Angeles, California, Las Vegas, Nevada, Chicago, Illinois, or New York City, New York. Mexican fans know their soccer and boxing rules and skills damned well but not their own conduct when under the spell of alcoholic beverages, especially their native tequila. They can get downright rowdy at times, especially if their favorite is getting whipped. There have been many occasions where the better fight is amongst the fans. When drunken and belligerent fans don’t see eye-to-eye, they go at it fist-to-fist, head-to-head and kick-to-kick. One such first-hand experience by this writer of the inexcusable explosive behavior was at the Plaza De Toro’s Monumental Bullring in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico years ago when Earl Large, five time United States national champion as an amateur and doing well as a professional, vied for a world top-ten ranking against Mexican legendary world champion fighter, Chucho Castillo.
June 6, 1972 was a very hot and sultry day in Juarez and the afternoon crowd of 99.99% Mexicans that filled the bullring was also filled with tequila and other spirits…to say the least. During the preliminaries the crowd became violent with many in attendance throwing missiles, mostly from high up in the bullring. Since I was sitting at a lower level with boxing promoter Paul Clinite, I knew we had reason to come up with a safety plan as the day progressed. Fortunately, I saw some large stacked empty beer cartons from one of the vendors and proceeded to his place and obtained two cartons for five bucks. Now, we could at least cover our heads from the expected major barrage when Large and Castillo squared off.
Large was the first to enter the ring and he appeared subdued to a great degree. Maybe it was the crowd or maybe he was meditating. Or possibly, he feared for his life. For his effort, he was roundly booed. The brazen, much intoxicated crowd sounded off like thundering artillery fire when their hero Castillo swiftly arrived down an aisle, entered the rings between ropes and pranced dandily around the ring - all the while shadow boxing. They expected nothing short of a quick knockout by Castillo over the African American.
It wasn’t to be; Large became fully alert at the opening bell and for five rounds gave Castillo a boxing lesson. A couple of rounds later, Large showed some punching power I had never previously witnessed and staggered Castillo. Uh Oh, Large shouldn’t have done that. I knew what was coming next and advised Paul that it was time to cover our heads with the beer cartons. And not a second too soon; goodness, I’m glad there was no kitchen sink to throw our way because the broadside was on, and I mean a comprehensive attack of women’s stockings filled with charcoal and urine hurtling down on us and into the ring, beer cans raining down in salvos, tobacco bags filled with rocks and cast into the muggy air by many fans as if they were in the days of old, in the Biblical days when David slew Goliath. Then all hell broke loose: People who bought ringside seats were getting the worst of the berserk attack. After a couple of minutes, they had had enough and did their own rendition of the classical discus event by folding their chairs, getting a strong grip on them and hurling them into the ring. It was pure chaos by then and the referee, Castillo and Large were hit by many objects, Large feeling the brunt of a direct hit by a chair.
The chairs became an ally of the contenders and referee as they opened them up, used them as covers and raced out of the ring and back into the dressing rooms. Was the fight declared no contest and over or judged to that point when Earl was clearly winning? No sir, too much was at stake, not only for the fighters but for the officials. After security and police slowed the onslaught down, the fighters re-emerged and the fight was back on. However, Large was now cautious and seemingly just wanted to get the distance and away from the whole damned affray. As the rounds went by and the crowd content with Castillo now doing his thing as aggressor, Large did make one more superb counter-attack and stunned Castillo again with a rifle shot of a straight left.  No! No! No! Yes! Yes! Yes! The army of fans released another volley of crap and didn’t settle down until Large backed off and just went through the motions until the fights end. The close decision was naturally for Castillo.

Like Large, I was simply happy to get out of Juarez and back to El Paso where all seemed so serene and quiet. Now the question, what does tequila and thousands of irate drinking fans have to do with Large and Castillo indulging to their detriment? That particular day, probably nothing; but the way things played out maybe Large would  have had a better chance taking on a liter of Jose Cuervo  Large was known for having a craving for spirits, especially wine. Eventually, the bottle got him down and after a few years of raising and supporting a family, his life went spiraling downward.


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