The Fighting Finnegan's Ch. 03bydavidpaul©
This is a work of fiction. Please note that the story is based in Australia and is written in Queen's English therefore my American audience will notice subtle differences in wording or phrases. This is the story of a family deeply involved in the world of boxing and how decisions can change the course of many lives.
Copyright© 2009 by David Paul
Two Years later
Madison Square Garden
Jack was in the fight of his life. Round 5 was a blur and he felt his left eye closing up. He had knocked the WBC & IBF World Middleweight Champion down in the second round but Ricardo Fermin was a proud champion and he came back in the third, fourth and fifth rounds.
"Jack look at me. Stop looking for the knock out. Keep working his body. You're younger, faster and stronger but at the moment he is alot smarter. Stop playing into his hands stick to the game plan."
"Will do David, how's the eye?"
"Forget the fucking eye Jack. Work the body and aim for his left side!"
The bell rang for the sixth round and Jack got up determined to stop Ricardo Fermin.
Gary Finnegan was watching Jack fight for the WBC &IBF Middleweight Championship at his home in New South Wales. Beside him was Ernie Johnson they were both cheering Jack on.
Gary couldn't believe the changes in Jack. He hadn't seen his Son in the flesh for over 2 years. Gary watched all Jack's fights and couldn't believe the difference in Jack's fighting style since leaving Australia. Jack had hit another level.
David Angelo was moulding a champion. Jack was in a tough fight. Ricardo Fermin was a great champion and had only lost 2 professional fights and they were at the start of his career. Gary crossed his fingers and mentally wished Jack well as the 6th round began.
Jack ducked Ricardo's first punch. He was going for head shots. Jack mentally told himself to stick to the plan. Jack ripped in some hard body shots to Ricardo's left side. He was hurt! Jack thought he had injured Ricardo's ribs obviously David had seen this.
Ricardo tried to slow down the fight but Jack relentlessly stalked him. Several more body shots found their mark and Jack knew he could win this fight. The bell rang for the end of the 6th round.
Billy Finnegan was sitting in a bar drinking with his latest squeeze. Her name was Bridget or Bianca he could never remember when he was drinking. They were both watching the fight. The crowd in the bar were cheering on 'Aussie Jack'. It was enough to make Billy vomit especially when they scanned the crowd at Madison Square Garden and in the front row was Scott& Eve Rankin. That Rankin was a no good rotten snake, it should have been Billy in the front row of the Garden not Scott fucking Rankin!
"Gee your brother is boxing well Billy, he might win this."
"Really thanks for the update Bridget."
"The name's Bianca Billy how many times do I have to tell you."
"Whatever just shut up and watch the fight."
"You know Billy Finnegan you can be a real prick sometimes."
"Yeah so they tell me."
Jack felt he had shaken loose the cobwebs and he no longer was worrying about the eye. He knew he could win this fight and the titles if he kept it together.
"Good work Jack you are wearing this guy down. Just remember he is not a champion for no reason. Stay with the body for this round but if you see an opening at the top take it as he is starting to drop his hands to protect his injured left side."
"No worries David."
"Damn you Aussies and your 'no worries'. Let's win this thing. We've put 2 years into this campaign. Go for it Jack!"
The bell rang for the 7th round and Jack went out to face the champ. Ricardo seemed less aggressive and less eager to mix it up with Jack. Ricardo was moving away everytime Jack went in for a body shot. The champ kept dropping his hands to protect his left and right side.
Jack got a few good combinations going but Ricardo Fermin was a proud man and had a body that wouldn't quit. Jack spent most of the round chasing Ricardo. The champ was done and it seemed to be just a matter of time if Jack didn't make a mistake. The bell rang for the end of the 7th round.
Cathy Reilly was watching the fight at her mother's house. It had been a rough couple of years for her mum. Cathy's Dad had succumbed to his injuries and passed away in the last year so the Reilly women decided to stick together and share the house. They were both thinking about selling the house and moving into the suburbs.
They were both bringing in good incomes and could afford a better house in a better area. They really needed a bigger house as there were 3 of them and Cathy wanted a backyard. Cathy watched the TV screen... Jack was finally fulfilling his dream and Cathy couldn't be prouder.
"Mum quick the next round is starting."
Jack could feel everything aligning, this was his night. He quickly looked at the crowd and he focused on the front row where he saw Scott & Eve Rankin and Matt & Vera McEwan. Jack was happy that Matt had come in his Dad's place as his Dad was preparing Ernie for a big fight in Australia.
"Jack...are you with me?"
"Sorry David...I'm here."
"Look Jack the eye is getting worse. We need to finish this fight. Work the body and grab your opportunity."
"Ok David...let's do this."
The bell rang for the 8th round.
Jack got up and attacked his opponent from the start. He was going to be Champion! Ricardo Fermin had his time it was now Jack's turn. Jack unloaded a brutal combination on the Champs body. Ricardo Fermin staggered and tried to retreat but Jack followed.
Jack kept hammering away at the body and then it happened. Ricardo Fermin dropped his hands to protect his body. Jack unleashed a wild right that hit Ricardo Fermin directly on the temple. The punch rocked him to his core and he fell to the canvas.
The crowd went wild when Jack retreated to a neutral corner. The referee slowly counted Ricardo Fermin out. Jack had done it! The ring was chaos as Jack's support team led by David Angelo came running into the ring and tried to pick him up.
However, Jack quickly went to check on Ricardo Fermin to find he was conscious and sitting in his corner. Jack thanked him and gave him a quick hug. A few kind words were said and next minute Jack was being interviewed by Larry Merchant.
Jack said all the right things praising his opponent and then Jack's own support staff. Jack gave special thanks to David Angelo, Scott & Eve Rankin, Matt & Vera McEwan and lastly but certainly not least his Dad Gary. Jack finished the interview saying "We did it Dad...we did it!"
Gary Finnegan had a tear in his eye. He had never been more proud. His son was now Middleweight Champion of the world.
Billy Finnegan had never been more angry plus he just lost a bundle on the fight. He thought for sure that Ricardo Fermin's ring experience and superior height advantage would defeat Jack Finnegan. Jack had screwed him over yet again.
Jack had finally made it back to the change room. He had 2 belts in his possession the WBC & IBF Middleweight Championship belts to be precise. The support team were screaming and shouting and had opened champagne. Jack thanked everyone again then hit the shower. He knew he would be heading to the hospital to get checked over.
The left eye was the only real concern but Jack wasn't worried. Jack was taken straight to the hospital and checked over. Everything was fine...for a guy who had been in a fight that is. The swelling would reduce and the bruises would fade.
David then took Jack back to the hotel where a room had been booked for a victory party. Really it was just a small gathering with the support team, David, Matt and Vera and of course Scott and Eve.
When they arrived at the hotel all the staff and guests applauded him. Jack found it all quite embarrassing really. They were then shown to the private function room. A big banner was hanging in the room saying 'The Champ is here' and was filled with balloons and streamers.
The party was good. They ate, they drank and Jack caught up with Matt & Vera McEwan. Scott & Eve were like surrogate siblings and Eve was hugging and kissing both cheeks.
Jack had received a call from his Dad plus Ernie Johnson also spoke to him. Then to make things really surreal he got a call from the Prime Minister of Australia who had watched the fight and wanted to convey his congratulations and tell him how proud Australia was of him.
By that time Jack was exhausted so he headed up to his room and fell asleep on the bed holding his newly acquired belts.
Jack awoke next morning very sore and feeling like he had run into a freight train but he was happy. Jack jumped into the shower and had a long and refreshing one. He then jumped into the spa where the jets helped his aching body. He was meeting David and Scott for breakfast as a few decisions had to be made.
Breakfast was delicious and Jack was impressed with the buffet presented. David and Scott made small talk until breakfast was finished.
"What now Champ?"
"What do you mean Scott?"
"Do you have any idea what you want to do for the next couple of months?"
"Well Scott I think we all need a break."
"Couldn't agree more Jack." David said
"I'd like to go back to Australia for a short holiday."
"That sounds like a good plan as I'm going back to Florida for some rest. We'll start training again in mid April and line up our first defence of the WBC title."
"Scotty...can you book me a flight back with you and Eve?"
"Consider it done Champ."
"Well then it's settled. Now I just want to go up and see Matt and Vera before they leave for Hawaii."
"Ok mate see you at lunch."
For a surprise Scott had booked the 3 of them into first class for the trip back to Australia. Jack was overjoyed as he could use the extra space at the moment. He needed to stretch out as he was still sore. The plane took off but Jack couldn't sleep. He was still a bit disturbed about the message received on his phone. It was from Cathy Reilly congratulating him on winning the fight. He had tried to forget Cathy but failed miserably.
Jack briefly reflected on the fact that he had been away from home for nearly 2 years. David Angelo had delivered what he had promised that first day in Camden Gym.
"Listen to me Jack Finnegan and I will make you a Champion. However it's my way or the highway. You are going to work harder than ever before."
David hadn't lied. He punished Jack. Jack had thought he was fit but he wasn't. David Angelo soon took care of that. Everything was monitored including training, diet, even free time. There was no drinking ever and no women leading up to a fight.
Jack had done alright on the women front. The ladies found his Australian accent sexy and he bedded many a young beauty. He missed having the occasional beer but understood why.
The opponents he faced were a class above of what he had experienced in Australia. David carefully hand picked his first 6 fights and each opponent taught Jack something new. As his fitness and skill base improved Jack fought tougher opponents and many fights went the distance.
It was a good lesson as in Australia Jack hadn't advanced much past 5 rounds except for the Cobb fight as he was normally knocking out his opponents in the early rounds. In the first 12 months of his stay in America Jack was in the top ten on the WBC & IBF rankings.
Boxing is a very political sport and many fights were scheduled and then delayed for one reason or another. It was a frustrating period for Jack but David kept him busy with different types of opponents and Jack was becoming a better fighter for it. Slowly but surely the bigger fights presented themselves.
Jack was making a name for himself and having David Angelo as his trainer gave him a media presence. He fought all the great fighters and they all fell before him. Jack suddenly found he had a reputation as a giant killer.
He had beaten classy fighters like Denys Oleksander, Reece Maxen, Dan Sweeney, Herman Meino and Patrick Hugo. Jack Finnegan finally found himself as the number one contender in the WBC & IBF rankings.
Only one obstacle remained and that was Ricardo Fermin, pound for pound one of the best fighters in the world. David Angelo was convinced Jack had the tools to upset the Champion. Scott and Eve Rankin had been regularly coming to America and were very close to Jack.
Scott Rankin negotiated the deal and everything was set for a New York February fight at MSG. The fight was billed as 'Clash of the Titans'. The build up to the fight was long and relatively civil as both fighters respected each other.
Jack wondered to himself how his Dad was going since he had only heard snippets of news. Jack knew Ernie Johnson was about to make his launch as a serious contender on the world stage. Ernie was ranked at number 15 on the WBC Rankings, Number 13 on the IBF Rankings and was in the top ten in the WBO rankings. Jack had a feeling that somewhere down the track they would meet in the ring...maybe. With those thoughts Jack drifted off to sleep.
The plane landed in Sydney and Jack departed with Scott and Eve to go through customs. Jack wasn't prepared for the media storm that he walked into. He was mobbed by fans, television cameras and microphones. Questions were coming at him left and right.
Australia was a fiercely proud sporting nation and loved their sporting heroes so it was no surprise to Scott or Eve Rankin. Jack was escorted to a room in the Airport to conduct media interviews with Scott and Eve by his side.
Billy Finnegan was on the phone talking to a client when Peter Johns walked into his office. Billy quickly finished his call and turned around to his boss.
"Come with me Billy, you've got to see this."
Billy made his way to the conference room where on the large screen was Jack Finnegan with his 2 world title belts prominently displayed in front of him. Billy scowled and heard Jack say
"....as I said before... yes I would definitely like to fight more in Australia and perhaps bring a title defence here.."
Peter turned to Billy with a grin.
"This is it Billy. Think what a money maker Jack Finnegan vs. Ernie Johnson in Sydney Australia would be. Just think of the revenue that would be generated...for us."
"Peter there's no way that prick Rankin will deal with us nor my bloody brother for that fact."
"Wrong Billy. We use the media and put pressure on them until they do the deal. Remember the Mundine vs Green fight that was all due to public pressure. Finnegan is a world champion and Ernie is the best fighter in Australia. It's a match made in heaven."
"But the WBC & IBF surely won't agree."
"Have you seen the latest rankings?"
"Not yet Peter."
"Well Ernie is now ranked number 10 by the WBC and number 8 by the IBF and the WBO have him at number 4. Jesus Billy what's wrong with you, you should be on top of this!"
"Sorry Peter. I've been preoccupied with the Rugby Union guys. News Limited is making life difficult."
"No excuse Billy. Go see your father and Ernie today and plant the seed. We need to strike while the iron's hot"
Finally the news conference was over. Jack grabbed his bags and made his way to Scott's SUV. Jack would spend the night with Scott and Eve and then head over the next day to visit his Dad.
Jack left a message letting Gary know he was home and he would see him the next day. Jack slid back in the seat and went to sleep.
Sweat was pouring off Ernie Johnson. "Faster Ernie Faster" Gary was shouting. Ernie was hitting the bag with everything he had. "Time" Gary shouted.
"Good work Ernie. Great session. Ruben Jackson won't know what hit him. Go and have a shower."
"Will do boss."
Ernie was a great kid Gary thought to himself. Gary firmly believed the young man could get to the top and at 20 was maturing nicely as a fighter. Gary looked around the Gym .If Harry Weaver was alive today he wouldn't even recognise it.
The Gym had been expanded and had every known piece of equipment required had been purchased by IMG but they expected a return for their investment and quickly.
Gary wished he had never signed with IMG as they were ruthless and didn't care about their clients at all. On the other side of the coin however was that he wouldn't have met Ernie without them. Ernie was like a son to Gary which was more than he could say about Billy.
Gary didn't even recognise who Billy was, he barked orders like a drill instructor and Gary clashed constantly with him. IMG wanted to push Ernie into big fights against opponents he wasn't ready for and Gary refused to do it, suffice to say Gary never got his 'incentive bonuses' outlined in the contract.
Ernie decided to have a quick spa. Gary was just cleaning up when Billy strode through the door.
"Gary we need to talk."
"What's this Gary crap...how about hello Dad."
"Ok hello Dad we need to talk."
"What is it Billy?"
"Have you seen the latest rankings?"
"Yes I have but I think they flatter Ernie at the moment."
"Well we disagree."
"You mean Peter fucking Johns don't you."
"Show some respect Gary."
"Why?.... you pricks don't show me any. Just say what you want to say as I have to get home to cook Ernie dinner."
"We are going after Jack."
"Yep Ernie Johnson vs. Jack Finnegan in Australia for the titles."
"No way Billy. Ernie isn't ready yet for the step up in class. Did you even watch the Fermin fight?"
"Jack was lucky."
"Lucky! Jesus Billy you amaze me at every turn! How the hell can you call yourself a sports agent when you know nothing about sports?"
"Stop calling me Gary!."
"Dad let me remind you, your contract is up in March and if you disagree we'll find a new trainer for Ernie."
"Well Billy let me remind you, you're fucking with the wrong bloke. Now get out of my sight and tell that prick Peter Johns he can go to hell. I choose the fights for my fighter not IMG!"
"Read your contract Dad. See you later.....maybe."
Billy turned around and saw Ernie standing there looking angry.
"Oh Ernie....I didn't know you were still here. How's it going Champ?"
"Don't ever threaten my trainer again. Just don't forget if Gary goes I go. Remember we are in the middle of contract extension talks."
"Ernie this was nothing but just a bit of father/son tension."
"Just leave Billy." Gary said
Billy quickly left cursing his bad luck that Ernie had been present.
Gary Finnegan was furious. That son of a bitch Peter Johns and IMG. Who the hell was that man who had once been his son? Gary felt a tightening in his chest and shots of pain in his left arm.
"Oh shit Ernie......." was the last thing Gary said before he collapsed on the floor.
Jack had just sat down for dinner when his phone rang. Jack decided to ignore it and have his dinner thinking it could wait. The conversation at the dinner table was pleasant and everyone was in good spirits. After dinner Jack tried phoning his Dad but only got the answering machine. He left a message, telling his Dad that he would see him tomorrow.
Jack thought he better check his messages on the phone. There were several from media outlets requesting interviews but the last one was totally unexpected from Ernie Johnson. It sounded like he was on the verge of breaking down and asked Jack to call him immediately.