Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis
“A Winning Combination” by Brendan DuBois
Card picked: Four of Diamonds
From: Murder on the Ropes, ed. Otto Penzler
Thoughts: Jerry Hughes is a life-style writer for the Sentinal. He covers arts festivals, volunteer events, and down-on-their-luck artists. In the opinion of his editor, “losers.” Jerry’s next assignment is to cover a local boxer, a young man with a rough background, on the eve of his first big bout, a fight that he’s probably going to lose.
Jerry isn’t happy about having to do the story, and Sonny, the boxer, isn’t thrilled by the reporter who obviously looks down on the sport. That changes when Jerry is attacked by a group of thugs on his way back uptown from the gym. Sonny recuses him and reluctantly agrees to tell Jerry his story.
The newspaper story ends up being good, maybe the best that Jerry has ever written, highlighting Sonny’s determination despite being the extreme underdog. Unfortunately, since the mugging Jerry feels an incredible amount of anxiety and hasn’t been able to enjoy his success. He’s shocked when he finds out that Sonny won his bout, easily. Sonny swears the fight wasn’t fixed, but Jerry thinks differently…
I really liked about 80% of this story. I liked the setup and the characters. This anthology has been light on stories with a protagonist on the outside of boxing. Unfortunately, the twist seemed really abrupt and jarring.