The lights were glaring down on them, beaming rays of intense heat. Blood stained the ring. Screaming and frightened calls rang out.
“Get a medic!” Someone was shouting but the crowd that had flooded into the ring to separate PUNCHLINE PENN from his opponent The BOURNTON Blizzard were stopping the medical staff from getting through.
“Move out of the way!” The Blizzard’s daughter, KIM was saying to them. “Let them through!”
The Blizzard’s leg was still kicking in convulsions. Blood leaked from his mouth. His eyes were fixed in a death stare.
Kim was frightened and her fear translated into anger. “Get out of the fucking way!” She barked as she shoved two men aside. They had had good intentions when they entered the ring to help but were now standing idly by, watching with morbid curiosity, stopping the ambulance team from getting through. An announcer came over the tannoid calling for order but no one was listening. Instead they were screaming, advising on things to help. Kim was only concerned with letting the ambulance team through.
Above all the rabble was a cry of, “Champion! He’s the champion.”
The Punchline’s coach was holding his arm in the air, pointing to his client with pride. SIMON PENN – the middle Penn triplet from the AUCTION HOUSE in City Main – was soaked in blood. Most it belonged to Sonny Adams better known as the BOURNTON BLIZZARD. Simon’s expression was intense. Even then, even as the Blizzard lay clinging to life he remained fixed on his opponent. The triplets were fair of colour but there was a darkness cast across Simon’s eyes that day that was inhuman, unnatural.
Only when the ambulance team entered the ring did they manage to start dispersing the crowd. Simon Penn was ushered away to the City General. COLDFORD CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT would no doubt follow him with questions as to what went wrong. Kim could tell them. She saw it beginning months before when they first announced the fight. Simon had been on the amateur boxing scene since he was a boy but his promoters started talking him big on the professional stage and what better way to introduce him than with a challenge to the three times reigning City middle weight champion. Sonny Adams accepted the challenge with good grace. He was known for bringing good sportsmanship to the ring and always treated his opponents with respect. The COLDFORD CITY crowd were intrigued. Of course the triplets were already famous in their own right. Everyone knew of the PENN family of the AUCTION HOUSE so when one of them teased a show down with the Hail from the North it turned heads. Simon himself said little. The talk before hand bored him. It suited his purposes more to get in the ring and fight it out but his promoters were insistent on creating a rivalry when he and Sonny Adams had barely even met.
“Your reign as Champion is over,” they said. “Punchline Penn is going to tear you down.”
The public lapped it up. Tickets to the event sold out within minutes. They boasted how Punchline Penn was going to tear through the Bournton Blizzard. The public wanted that until that was exactly what they got.
The promoters wanted the best out of their fighter. They had made such a big deal about him after all and they needed Simon’s killer instinct. Clive Doran – boxing promoter and close personal friend to the father of the triplets, Reginald – had seen that instinct in Simon before. Despite sharing a birthdate with his brothers Simon was essentially a middle child. MARCUS was the eldest and as such was Crown Prince of the Auction House. REGGIE, as the youngest, was given leave to be care free. Where did that leave Simon?
“Your job is to not make your family name a fucking laughing stock,” Clive barked at his fighter, slapping him across the head. Simon frowned severely. Clive knew Simon could react to him and he wouldn’t be much use in defending himself if he did but Reginald was insistent he got the best out of the boy so strike him he did. Simon didn’t react though. He knew what it was going to take to beat the Blizzard and he stored his rage. If he lost, then he could take it out on Clive.
“Do you hear that audience cheer?” Clive pointed out. Simon had been so fixed on the task at hand he hadn’t paid any attention to the crowd. “They ain’t cheering for you. They are cheering for him because they want him to make you look like a punk,” spat the promoter.
Simon growled but this time he fixed his stare on the door he was to enter through. He was focussed and determined but that wasn’t going to win the fight against the Blizzard. That wasn’t going to put the name PUNCHLINE PENN in lights. Clive needed to bring out the killer instinct in him. He needed to bring to the surface that same rage he had seen when Reggie was rushed to General with multiple fractures, concussion, broken ribs and stitches.
Clive had just arrived on scene that day to find Rita Penn cradling young Reggie, covered in blood as though someone had thrown a bucket of red paint over her.
“It’s okay baby! It’s okay!” She’s was sobbing, rocking her boy in her arms.
Simon stood by watching. Marcus had his hand on his brother’s shoulder holding him back. Did Simon regret hospitalising his little brother? No he didn’t and they were as close as brothers could be, a little too close sometimes Clive observed. He certainly wouldn’t regret what he did to Sonny Adams.
“The city is watching and they want to see what you can do,” Clive said as a parting shot. “They want to see him humiliate you.” He slapped him again. “Now tear him the fuck apart.”
Eleven rounds. The Blizzard still stood strong. His young opponent was a stubborn one.
The break into the final round pulled Simon back to his corner.
“You have one last round to finish this.” Clive hissed in his ear. “Don’t fuck this up.” He slapped him one last time.
The bell rang. Rage took over. No longer Simon but pure PUNCHLINE. He charged, raining blows into the mid riff. The Blizzard was withstanding them but Punchline was relentless. The audience cheer became a wave of unsettled horror as Simon roared and delivered a heavy blow to the solar plexus causing Sonny to fall against the ropes. Sonny’s own team were calling something to the referee as Simon leapt on top of him. He hit him again. He kept hitting him. Sonny’s nose burst. The bell began to ring. The ref snatched Simon’s shoulder but he was thrown back. It ceased being a boxing match and became grievous assault.
Ding! Ding! Ding!
The bell did no good.
Sonny Adams was paralysed that day because of damage caused to the brain. He survived but he was never the same. The reigning champion had been knocked down. The promoters had their way. Punchline Penn was a name firmly in lights that no one would forget anytime soon. He would be remembered for breaking a champion in a match that went down in history as the shame of Coldford boxing.