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Oral Histories of Some Former Lankville Pugilists

September 20, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments
By Proverb Orsino

By Proverb Orsino 26W-4L, 22KO

I was born in 1925 in the Great Lankville Southern Basin Area. The first thing I remember was the Great Flood of 1931, you remember that? No, of course not, what year were you born? 1982? What a bullshit year that was. What a bullshit time to be born in. You shoulda’ been born in 1925, really.

Anyway, the river rose 325-feet and everybody drowned. The only people that didn’t drown were the people on the Great Hill above the Great Basin and guess what? (The interviewer could not guess). Whattdya’ mean you don’t know? Why do you think I’m sitting here talking to you, 1982? (The interviewer could still not guess). Because I lived on the god damn Great Hill, that’s why. C’mon, 1982– you asleep or something?

Anyway, the thing I most remember is the legend of the Hard Time Killer. You know about that? Of course you don’t, 1982. All you know about is them calculators, am I right? Am I right? (Orsino was mostly right). The Hard Time Killer was this boogeyman, I guess you could say that afflicted areas that was going through a hard time and the Southern Basin Area was sure as hell going through one. He went around and took people in the night and you never saw them again. Nobody never did find out if he was real or imagined but I think he was real. And since Ma and Pa were too poor to afford any kind of a gun or anything (although we did have an uncle that had a gas chamber), I figured on training up in boxing so’s I could defend the family. And that’s how I became a boxer, 1982.

I trained with L.D. Swans who had been a bare-knuckle fighter– he lived on the Great Hill too. L.D. was able to get me some fights in some of the larger towns in and around the Basin. One time, we was driving somewhere and we heard on the radio about the great Basin fighter Proverb Orsino. I remember the commentator saying something about how I was “moving north, licking opponents as they came”. I always remembered that. Felt good about that, 1982, know what I’m saying. You have any accomplishments like that, 1982? You ever get your name mentioned on your little calculator, there? You’re god damn right you don’t.

Anyway, that’s just what happened, I moved north and took on challengers and I licked them all. And then I got to Lankville City and that’s where I ran into some tough customers. There was the Lynn Dickey fight– you do any homework on that, 1982? (1982 had not). That was in the Round Garden and they had a big lavish puppet show before the fight. There was like a thousand puppets. It was some kind of a war commentary cause the war was on by then. Some of the puppets was dressed in Island uniforms, you know, with the jackboots and all that nonsense. At the end, the good puppets, the Lankvillian puppets shot a bunch of the bad puppets. Christ, they used real bullets and everything. I never did see a puppet get shot, let alone a good couple hundred of ’em. I know that because on my way into the ring I saw all the damn bullet holes in the floor, in some of the chairs– Christ, what a mess.

Anyway, Lynn Dickey wore me out. He let me hit him pretty much at will for the first three or four rounds and I was boxed out by then. Then he just jabbed me in the sternum for the entire fifth round. When I came back to the corner after the fifth, L.D. said– “Jesus, Proverb, he’s hitting you in the sternum.” And I said, “yeah, L.D. I know’s it.” But L.D. didn’t have no advice for me. He just took a big sponge that didn’t have no water on it– I mean, this sponge was dry as a bone, and rubbed it all over my jaw. It weren’t effective, I’ll say that now.

So, I come out for the sixth and it was over after thirty seconds. Just one sternum punch after another– couldn’t get my hands up. At one point, Dickey was like, “hey Proverb. Aren’t you gonna’ protect your sternum none? I feel kind of like an ass about just hitting you there over and over again.” But then he hit me in the face and I went down and that was it.

I had won 26 straight fights before that Dickey fight but then I lost four in a row. And I hated to lose, let me tell you, 1982. Hated it. I lived in a modest apartment over a bakery back in the Basin and every time I’d go back after losing, I’d tear the hell out of the place. Got so where I didn’t have anything left. And one time, the baker, Mr. Mendenhall said to me, “hey Proverb, you better quit that. Or I’ll toss you out on your ass.” And that was a wake up call. I sent a telegram to L.D. and that was that. Then I took up with Mr. Mendenhall, he gave me a nice little job. I handled the breakfast hand cakes for 22 years and then I took over the place after they came and beheaded Mr. Mendenhall. And I run it another 9 years before I sold it to some corporation. Made a nice little profit off it.

You want something else, 1982? (1982 declined and the interview was ended prematurely).

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