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|The Mexican||Jack London|
|Page 4 of 4||
Rivera shook his head.
Danny exploded. He was getting down to brass tacks now.
"Why, you dirty little greaser! I've a mind to knock your block off right now."
Roberts drawled his body to interposition between hostilities.
"Winner takes all," Rivera repeated sullenly.
"Why do you stand out that way?" Danny asked.
"I can lick you," was the straight answer.
Danny half started to take off his coat. But, as his manager knew, it was a grand stand play. The coat did not come off, and Danny allowed himself to be placated by the group. Everybody sympathized with him. Rivera stood alone.
"Look here, you little fool," Kelly took up the argument. "You're nobody. We know what you ve been doing the last few months--putting away little local fighters. But Danny is class. His next fight after this will be for the championship. And you're unknown. Nobody ever heard of you out of Los Angeles."
"They will," Rivera answered with a shrug, "after this fight."
"You think for a second you can lick me?" Danny blurted in.
"Oh, come; listen to reason," Kelly pleaded. "Think of the advertising."
"I want the money," was Rivera's answer.
"You couldn't win from me in a thousand years," Danny assured him.
"Then what are you holdin' out for?" Rivera countered. "If the money's that easy, why don't you go after it?"
"I will, so help me!" Danny cried with abrupt conviction. "I'Il beat you to death in the ring, my boy--you monkeyin' with me this way. Make out the articles, Kelly. Winner take all. Play it up in the sportin' columns. Tell 'em it's a grudge fight. I'll show this fresh kid a few."
Kelly's secretary had begun to write, when Danny interrupted.
"Hold on!" He turned to Rivera.
"Ringside," came the answer.
"Not on your life, Fresh Kid. If winner takes all, we weigh in at ten A.M."
"And winner takes all?" Rivera queried.
Danny nodded. That settled it. He would enter the ring in his full ripeness of strength.
"Weigh in at ten," Rivera said.
The secretary's pen went on scratching.
"It means five pounds," Roberts complained to Rivera.
"You've given too much away. You've thrown the fight right there. Danny'll lick you sure. He'll be as strong as a bull. You're a fool. You ain't got the chance of a dewdrop in hell."
Rivera's answer was a calculated look of hatred. Even this Gringo he despised, and him had he found the whitest Gringo of them all.
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