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Oral Histories of Some Former Lankville Pugilists

November 6, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

By Oort Cloud Cook  (1949-1950, 8W, 1L, 6KO)
File Photo

I boxed for a long time in the amateurs– never getting anywhere.  And it killed me because I had bought this nice little ice cream truck, painted it green, ran a good business in the summer.  I’d take that truck through the alleys and rake in a hundred a night on the hot days.  “You’ve got a career in that,” my wife used to say.  “Forget about boxing.”  Then, she’d wipe down the plastic tablecloth and I’d think Christ to Hell I want to get that wire foundation bra off of her and get all over those cans.  But you gotta control yourself.

One time I was careening through an alley and this guy we called the professor stopped me for a Frozen Mallows Bar.  Started talking about random comets or some such nonsense.  But I thought it sounded good so I wrote down this Oort Cloud rubbish on account of it sounding good.  And my agent, he worked up a whole thing about my punches being like comets coming out of nowhere.  The press bought it up.  And that’s when I went professional.

Started out against Wayne Lemons down out at the Boulevard Theatre.  They had taken all the seats out and put a ring in there.  I beat Wayne in four rounds– it was a simple jab to the jaw and he went down like a stack of pancakes.  I went to him later in the dressing room.  “Good fight, Wayne,” I said.  He gave me a sneer and told me he was going to wait for me outside.  I couldn’t believe it.  Sure enough, when we went out to the parking lot, there he was– he even had a little blade.  “I’m gonna cut you,” he said.  A bunch of guys intervened and that pretty much ended Wayne’s pro career.  You gotta control yourself.  A few years later, they cut Wayne’s head off.

I won eight straight, six by knockout.  But then I came up against Andypop Lennus.  Christ, this kid wasn’t even a pro yet and when he did become a pro, he was terrible.  But he kicked hell out of me that day.  In the seventh round, we snuck a piece of chain into one of my gloves– we were looking for an edge, I admit it.  I let the chain come out just below the bottom edge of the glove and raked it across Lennus’ face three or four times.  Damn near took his nose off.  Then, I hit him with a folding chair.  “Getting close there, Cook,” the ref said.  “Might have to call that next time.” But Lennus, he still knocked me out.  And after that, I lost my taste for boxing.

My wife was wiping down the plastic tablecloth after that– I recall it was a checkerboard sort of pattern that amused me.  And she said, “Forget about boxing.  Think of your ice cream truck business.  Think of the children.”  We didn’t have any children but I figured on her talking about the ice cream kids.  So, I said, “Alright, I’ll retire”.  She looked real pleased by my decision and I was able to get that wire foundation bra off that night.

I retired in 1981.  We vacation at a trailer at Lankville Beach every year.  I think boxing has gone downhill.  You got all these foreigners and hillbillies now.  I don’t have no thoughts on it.

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