by Celtic

Boxer Jack, as he preferred to be called, was in the locker room staring aimlessly. It had been a rough couple of days, with both the gym and boxing ring treating him like shit. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t up his bench weight. No matter how much he practiced, he couldn’t defeat any opponent he took on. With both anger and frustration, Jack returned his gaze to the lockers. Each one represented one of his opponents, each one a time he was bullied and beaten. With his shower towel still around his shoulders, he took a seat by one of the nearby benches and privately fumed. “Much bullshit” he said to himself “fuck them all”. Anyone he faced, anyone he gloved up and fought, they always seemed to be able to take him out. Why couldn’t he get a win? He was a boxer! He trained hard! He deserved a win! Blinded by rage, Jack punched the locker as hard as he could, wishing instead it was the face of one of his opponents.
“Fucking bastards!” he cursed… and ouch his hand.
Rolling his eyes at the shear dumbness of his actions, he took a quick moment to check himself. How could he be so foolish? How could he be so out of his senses? Was it just the ruff couple of days or something to do with his fellow boxers? They enjoyed punching him in the face until he saw stars. Until the sweat dripped from his face so much, he could no longer see. They enjoyed tying him up on the ropes being unable to defend himself from their hungry fists. They enjoyed, while on the ropes, punching his chest until it was red and weak. Left, right, left, right, steady hooks that would rock his upper body hard. They and one American opponent in particular, enjoyed working his stomach on the corner ropes. Furious hooks, killer upper cuts, powerful jabs, they would come to no end to blast his soft midsection. Even now the thoughts of it made him tense up and try to block his stomach. He was sick of it, sick of all these big guys picking on him! He was eager to get home and relax, to forget about the crap of the week. Not to mention, at least there he could self pity in peace and plan his revenge.
One day he would take them on and win… one day, they would see him as the alpha male. As the locker room became more crowded, he gaze hit the ground. If he didn’t make eye contact, they would mostly leave him alone. He quickly showered, ignoring the people coming and going, not like they mattered anyway. They would probably only laugh at him anyway. Getting a fresh pair of clothing and changing, he stopped short of his shirt. In the mirror he saw his reflection, he wanted to spit. One of his most frequent opponents, the American from before, liked to insult him when they fought. Little boy, pretty boy, weak, and worse. He knew he wasn’t there yet, but one day he would make the man pay. The thought put a smile on his face.

The Celtic Fighter, a name created mostly in honor of his heritage, was finishing up his workout. His muscles were screaming from the intense three hour pushing, but it didn’t matter. He was always hungry for a better looking body, and he would not stop till he got it. Today, while also allowing his heavily tattooed body some air, he was blasting chest and arms pretty hard. While boxing was enjoyable, especially with this kid always picking a fight with him, it wasn’t the only way to build muscle. Grunting under his breath, and trying not to show pain, his body became drenched in sweat. He had to dig deep and focus hard to finish this fifth and final rep on the bench. It was a new record for him after all, two hundred and twenty pounds. His arms strained under the weight and his chest heaved fast. His chest hair was soaked and his hair was even worse. But he would not let this beat him, he would rise up, man up! Clicking the bar into place he sat up to catch his breath. “Damn that was good” he praised himself. Cleaning off the equipment, he made a straight line for the locker room. While feeling great from the work out, his testosterone feeling high, he also felt disgusting with all the sweat from his body. A shower would do him good, and relax his body. The steam from the shower would fill most of the locker room, the other guys always joked about it. “Bitch what’s with you getting fucked by Satan?”
After a not so quick one, he returned to his locker with nothing but a towel over his waist. He stopped at the mirror to admire himself. “Not bad man, not bad”, he said to himself. Changing into his fresh clothing he turned to leave and accidently ran into someone…
“Excuse me bro didn’t – “

Part 1: The locker room fight
Celtic quickly cut himself off when he noticed who the kid was. While they were not mortal enemies, just uneasy rivals, they didn’t get along at all. Celtic was generally an easy going guy who could get along with anyone, he could not with Jack. He hated how Jack always mouthed off and showed attitude to other boxers and gym people. What was with some piss poor skinny ass kid thinking he could disrespect people? What made him think he could pick fights and not suffer for it? Hell, Celtic could probably punch THREW the kid’s skinny chest if he wanted to… and sometimes he really wanted to. All around, he was just disgusted with this kid’s attitude.
The “Boxer” Jack, on the other hand, hated how everyone looked down on him. Sure, he was small, but he had heart! He trained every day; he worked hard to become a boxer! Just because he was still small that didn’t mean people could pick on him. Given the chance he could be an amazing fighter! He just needed that chance. He- “wait, what?” Jack cursed. Infuriating him, Celtic casually brushed him off to return to his post work routine. “Seriously?” Jack thought. Once again this punk old man belittled him. Once again Celtic made him feel small. His face exploded with anger, he wanted this man to pay for his attitude. He wanted him to pay for this disrespect. But knowing full well he couldn’t take the older American, Jack would have to resign himself to glares and… “wait a second!” An idea suddenly came. Because they spent so much time at the gym, working out and training, Jack and Celtic were generally the last two to leave. Jack also knew Celtic had his own set of keys to lock up with. Meaning, no one else was here currently, no one to have prying eyes or watch Celtic’s back.
This was too perfect.
Fueled by his overwhelming intense anger for the man, and need to just pulverize the crap out of something, he closed his fist into a tightest ball his fist could manage. He flexed his arms as tight as he could, and summoned all of his strength. Then, with a nimbleness only a person of his small size could manage, he crossed the distance between him and slammed his fist into the side of Celtic’s ribs. “Damn does this feel good” Jack. The resulting force, that took Celtic completely by surprise, forced him back into the lockers with a painful gasp. “Ahhhhhhhhh the fuck!” Celtic cried out. Taking a moment to catch his breath left Jack free to capitalize on the attack. As the one side of Celtic’s rib was pounded, so now was the opposite side. Dropping his arms in a weak attempt to protect himself, Celtic found it too late. Swift combo blows pounded relentlessly on both sides, injuring Celtic to the point a bruise formed. The pain shot up his body, blinding him. Celtic knew he was in serious trouble… and there was little he could do about it.
Stunned as he was, Celtic barely registered being turned around and having his back slammed into the lockers. Of course, the initial attack was meant to only daze and surprise him. The real beating was about to come, and it came with Jack’s bare fist making contact with his chest. BAM, THUD! Two strong blows rocked Celtic’s chest left, then right. “Ugggghhhh” grunts of pain left Celtic despite his best efforts. Had this been in the ring, and an official match, these would have been pretty good clean hits. But now, they were just one of many hits in a cowardly assault. One that had no end in sight.
With a swift, double fisted blow to the center of his chest, Celtic grunted loudly then fell silent. This was not how he was planning on ending his day, and his body was not ready for such attack. He would – apparently be interrupted by an uppercut to the gut. Unflexed, and unready, Celtic doubled over in pain and let out a loud “oooooph” as the air escaped him. He wanted to reach down and protect his soft midsection, but another series of punches to his stomach ended that quickly. Each hit sunk in deep and made his insides shake, he wanted to puke. With each hit Celtic’s body shook from side to side, and his stomach sagged just a bit more. Having worked long and hard for a flat stomach, this was just adding insult to injury.
He tried to mouth a “please stop” but a sick combo of three chest punches, a stiff uppercut to the jaw and a straight powerful jab to the midsection quickly stopped that. Celtic gasped and groaned with each hit, and with each hit he felt weaker and weaker. Pushed back to the locker and with one hand on his chest to prevent Celtic from falling, Jack ripped into his body again. His body was rocked in ways Celtic could no longer keep track of, he just knew his body was on fire. Celtic attempted to raise his arms to block or attack, but even this was again countered. With a normally illegal hammer fist to the back of the head, Celtic saw stars, if he managed to see at all. Hitting the ground hard, Celtic let out yet another grunt of pain. He wanted to scream and curse, but the feeling of wanting to throw up stopped him. He needed something to happen, and fast. Maybe if he could just get a second to breathe, he could take this fight back.
“That’s for talking down to me bro!” Jack sneered as he stepped back. Running on a high never thought possible, that he could never dream of, he took a moment to do something equally unbelievable. He took a moment to admire himself. At the locker room mirror, put there mostly for showing off, he could see himself standing strong. He also witnessed Celtic in a world of pain, he witnessed him weak and powerless. Jack flexed hard in front of the sight. He threw a few mock punches in the air, as he held a boxers stance. He was feeling powerful, he was feeling unbeatable, and he didn’t want this to ever end. ”Finally,” he thought “they will respect me as a fighter!” Returning back to his punching bag, he knew what could be done. What fun could be had when no one else was around, and no one could stop the unbeatable Jack. Taking another moment to stretch out his muscles for the long beating that would come, Jack readied himself.
“And this is because you need it, old man!”
With that, Jack launched a devastating kick to Celtic’s head. The force of the blow snapped Celtic’s head back hard, slamming it against the locker doors. With vision blurred already from before, everything went black. He needed to take control of this fight and soon. If not… he could wind up completely broken and no longer able to fight. This depressing and despite line of thought, however, was interrupted by a sharp pain in his abdominals, courtesy of an unmerciful kick by Jack. “Ooooooph” Celtic groaned as air was forced from his body. Wrapping his arms around his midsection, Celtic rolled around in pain. This bastard, Celtic knew, was doing just as he would. Jack was working the head hard to keep him dazed and unable to put up a guard. Then he would work the midsection to keep him from catching his breath. Jack had taking Celtic’s strategy and made it his own. “Fuck” he thought out loud. The sneak attack was not only working, but doing considerable damage to his body armor, damage he could not counter. Lifted up, mostly by Jack's power, he felt himself once again slammed again the lockers. The force shook the lockers, and rattled their doors. Even worse, all he could do is stand there and have his chest heave. Celtic then felt his arms forcible being held back and being held in place. “Shit” Celtic thought, Jack was setting him up for –
A punch to his lower abs, a punch to his chest, a punch to his middle abs, a punch to the center of his chest, a punch to his upper abs, a punch to his lower chest, then an upper cut to his gut, once, twice, three times. All came fast and hard. Each forced a grunt of pure pain to escape Celtic. “Fuuuucccckkkkkk” Celtic spewed out between bit of blood and saliva being spit up. Red marks in the shape of a fist begun to appear, marks that Jack felt great pride in. “Finally” Jack thought, “He would know how it is to be marked and laughed at!” Unable, or unwilling to support Celtic’s weight any longer, he let Celtic drop like a rock. “That’s what you get punk” Jack mocked, his voice heavy with an accent. “Now get up, I’m not done with you!”
Mocking Celtic further, cause why not, Jack took on a boxer stance and threw a few mock light hits at Celtic. More slaps than anything with force, they were meant to embarrass, than damage. It worked. “Fuck you” Celtic thought, but pride forced himself to rise. He would not be beaten by this kid; he would not be knocked out and used as a punching bag! If only he could just get one good shot in, Celtic would be able to turn things around… at least long enough for him to regroup. A thought he would have to think quickly about as several more punches to his body rocked him hard. “Not done yet, right, old man?” With his back again to the lockers, Celtic’s chest heaved trying to catch his breath. His body was already on fire from the work out, and this beating made it MUCH worse. Behind Jack, the mirror tortured him with a dreadful sight. He could see bruises on his body, definitely not good. Two on his chest that were red as the sun, one for each pec muscle Jack pounded. As he heaved, he could feel his chest fall flat, like it was pudding. Whatever muscle was there had been tenderized but this punk kid. His stomach was in even worse shape. His upper and middle abs was several shades of red and blue, while his lower abs was black and red. Even worse, his stomach felt like it was going to burst. At this point, all he could do was wait for Jack to act and try to recover. When he did, Celtic had to be ready this time.
Unwilling to hold off his attack anymore, Jack was ready to resume the show. Ego and showing off was good and all, but Jack enjoyed the pounding far more. Rolling his arms and shoulders, he took up his boxer stance. Setting up for a massive left hook, Jack renewed his attack. Except, he took far too long this time… ego had finally caught up to him. Assaulted with what would have been a mean left hook, Celtic quickly dropped, allowing his knees to give, and dodged the attack. What would have hit his face, knocking him down and out for sure, instead punched the locker door hard. Jack yelped in pain and brought his fist back, Celtic had his opening.
Wasting no time, time he know he didn’t have, Celtic acted. Allowing his weight to carry him, he launched and connected with, a deep uppercut to Jack’s stomach. His fist plunged in deep from lack of real stomach muscles; not to mention they were completely unflexed. But he did not stop there. Known for interesting ways of slamming people down, he lifted the boy up with nothing but said fist into Jack’s stomach. Holding him there for a moment, for that was all his body could do at the moment; he then threw him off back into the lockers. The resulting yelp of pain was music to Celtic’s ears. Leaning back on the lockers, Jack covered his midsection with his arms, pain clearly on his face.
“That’s what you get boy, attacking someone from behind? You’re lucky I don’t beat you until you can’t move anymore!”
Jack’s response, in-between fits of pain, was to spit at Celtic. Arrogant to the last, the act did nothing to lessen the dire situation. “Fine then, time to learn your place punk!” Celtic said while his fists made it a reality. While Jack was still spinning from the deep blow to his insides, Celtic followed up with a left and right jabs, each hit making Jack’s head bang against the locker. Payback would be a bitch because just as Jack was feeling powerful before, Celtic was seeing red. It was time to put this punk in his place, this time for good. Jack’s legs wobbled despite his best effort, as another devastating blow (a jab) came to his stomach. Doubled over, he was quickly forced back into the lockers by a mean and not friendly push. “We are not done yet pretty boy”, Celtic mocked. Placing a hand on Jack’s chest, with Celtic wondering if there was even any muscle there, and pushing hard to keep his back on the lockers, Celtic threw uppercut after uppercut to Jack’s upper and lower stomach. He also worked in chest punches, because he knew how much Jack hated them. His face looked like he wanted to puke and die.
“Good” Celtic thought.
Celtic didn’t care, this kid dared engage in a cowardly attack. He had to learn. Shifting the boy up and onto his shoulders, an act his body protested, he flexed hard and pulled Jack’s trapped body down. Torture rack they called it, and it cause great pain in the chest and stomach areas. Once he was done, mostly showing off in front of the mirror, he then slammed Jack down on a nearby bench. Body slams were more of a wrestling thing, but it was painful, therefore Celtic liked it right now. Laying him out flat, he began to beat his chest and ribs hard. Bare fist pounded the boy, and left marks both red and bloody. Jack cried out in pain, but could not break the hold. Celtic’s fist slammed hard, with the grunts of pain and the force of the hits echoing off the walls of the locker room. After what seemed like an eternity, but was really only about five minutes, Celtic stepped back to admire his work. The kid took a lot of hits, and looked like crap. “Good” he thought “Lesson learned”. Jack was screaming inside his head from the pain of the assault. He was hurt and he was pissed, but what could he do?
“What now kid? Still going to throw attitude?”
“Fuck…. You…. Old… man”
“Still got some fight? I can easily take care of this.”
“oooooooooooophhhhhh, please stop”
“Beg me to stop bitch”
“Oooooooph please, no more hits to my chest”
“I told you, beg me to stop”
“Fine then, take this!”
“Done yet?”
“I fight you!”
“You tried to remember? Even being a sneak attack bitch can’t help you.”
“I fight you in the ring, I will beat you!”
“What? You’re kidding, right?”
“I fight you in the ring. Settle it once and for all.”
“… maybe. What's the prize?”
“Winner breaks loser. Never fight again.”
“Fine, I’m in. Meet me in the ring. Ten minutes. I’m going to take a piss.”
Jack was left alone in the locker room, still reeling from the attack. As he touched his stomach and chest, seeing if anything was broken, he wondered what the hell he just agreed to, and how the hell he was going to win this.

Part 2: The Ring
It wouldn’t take long for Celtic to get ready. Having mostly changed and showered before all this happened. All he really had to do was to lace up some gloves. Being as he was, he always had a pair on him, even if the day didn’t call for boxing. Reaching into his locker, he pulled out two leather black gloves and put them on. He clenched his fists hard and threw a few mock punches in front of the mirror. He was ready for this fight, even if his body was still messed up. He would just have to block and dodge all of Jack’s hit, easy win right? Taking another moment before he left, he stretched out his body as best he could. His ribs and stomach were still in pain from the cheap shots, and the marks there wouldn’t go away for some time. He wouldn’t have fun explaining that to his fellow gym mates either. His chest felt hot and soft. Considering how much effort he put into building muscle, this was a huge insult to him. As long as he didn’t take any more serious hits he would be fine. Celtic knew he would be. This was the open ring, this was HIS battle ground. Jack could only win by cheating, and he didn’t have that advantage anymore…

It would take a few minutes before Jack could move again. His body was more than rocked from the unplanned assault, and he wasn’t really up for a boxing match. But he couldn’t back down now, or the others would never respect him. “Shit” he thought “I have to do this”. He also couldn’t let Celtic do this to him again; he couldn’t suffer ANOTHER beating from the upstart American. Not today, not ever again! Celtic would be on the ropes, begging for mercy as his insides are beaten. But, how? He was still unsure of- and the idea came to him. Managing to get his body moving again, he went to his bag that had his boxing gloves. Reaching into a side pocket, he found a pair of heavy metal knuckles in there. He used them to protect himself from anyone who would mess with him outside the gym. Putting them on, then his gloves over them, he knew he was ready. Celtic would pay. He went out to the ring to throw a few punches before Celtic showed up.

It was just over ten minutes later when the two would meet again. The Celtic Fighther, the older American man who picked up boxing for fun, was changed, gloved up, and ready for a fight. His ribs and stomach still hurt, and his head was a little dizzy, but he was ready. He showed no fear, just as a fighter should. Boxer Jack, the younger, smaller Asian who boxed most of his life, was ready to win… and he didn’t care how. The stage was set, the actors ready, now it was time to dance.
After checking his gloves for the final time, Celtic headed for the ring. He was eager for this fight, and for the rewards that would come from it. Interestingly, he found his rival already in the ring and warming up. After the beating the kid took in the locker room, he was rather surprised to see Jack moving at all. “Ok kid, I’ll give you props for that” Celtic thought to himself, “but I’m still going to end you here and now.” Keeping his eyes fixed on Jack, for Celtic couldn’t trust him after such a cowardly attack, he slowly entered the ring. He pulled up the ropes and ducked under them, firmly placing his feet into the ring. He circled around Jack for a few moments before settling into his corner.
“Are you ready for this punk” Celtic spat.
“You are going down bro” Jack jeered back.
As if compelled by a silent bell ring, the two pushed off from their corners and rushed for the center of the ring. There, they each began circling each other, each began sizing the other up, each looking for an opening to throw the first punch. Hoping to take the advantage early and quick, Celtic lunged forward with a left hook. Prepared for the attack, Jack blocked the hook with ease and responded with a jab of his own. Also ready for the attack, Celtic deflected the blow and swung twice more. Again, Jack dodged by ducking low, using his smaller height to his advantage. Swinging, Jack’s punches hit only open air as Celtic had pushed himself back to prevent the attack. A quick but uneventful start for the two. Already annoyed, the two returned to circling each other, looking for any opening they could exploit. This time, Jack struck first for the advantage but met with the same success that Celtic did before. Even with two quick jabs, Celtic blocked it with his high guard up. Responding quickly, Celtic went low to throw a powerful hit to the boy’s midsection.
Leaning low to assault the midsection, a personal favorite he liked to do to Jack, Celtic was surprised by a vicious blow to the side of his face. Assuming and even anticipating the move, Jack quickly closed the gap between the two and slammed his not so legal gloved fist into his face. The force of the hit rocked Celtic, far more than it should. With but a single hit, Celtic was knocked senseless and into the ropes. It was also the first hit that drew blood. “How the fuck did he hit so hard?” Because of his momentum and force of the blow, Celtic was quickly bounced off the ropes and flung back at Jack. Hoping to capitalize on this, Celtic used this momentum to throw another punch at the boy. It was his hope that the speed of the punch would catch the boy off guard. It didn’t and Jack easily dodged the punch. “Too fast and too messy of a punch”, Celtic thought to himself, one that should have never happened. Celtic would have continued to scold himself, but a mean uppercut from Jack shut that up quick. His head and body were flung back by the force of the blow, again something Jack should not be able to do.
“Fuck, how does this hurt so much!” Celtic cursed at himself “This is wrong, all wrong!”
Yet again, he was given neither time nor opportunity to collect himself or consider this, as two strong jabs came his way. A left and right hook came screaming at him and connected with his midsection, followed quickly by an upper cut to his chin. Celtic doubled over in sheer pain of another mean blow to the stomach and hit the mat. Coughing up even more spats of blood, Celtic feel face first on the matt several times while trying to get up. Was this really it, he thought. Could this really be the end for him? “UP BITCH!” Jack yelled. While Celtic was trying to get up, Jack circled around him, as if waiting for his prey to move. Jack was back in his mood, his mood of feeling like a god. But unlike last time, he kept the cocky ego in check. While he was winning and injured his prey well, Celtic was still dangerous. “I said up bitch!” Jack repeated. Celtic, for his part, was trying to do just that, but his much weakened body was having trouble. Using the ropes of the ring, he managed to get on his feet. Trying to take a stance he was once again blasted with a mean uppercut to the chin.
The force of the blow had also sent Celtic back into the ropes, where he had to hang on to prevent himself from falling. While normally a sound plan for staying upright, right now it left his already exhausted body exposed for more punishment. Unfortunately in boxing, this could very easily be a death sentence. Unfortunately for Celtic, punishment is just what Jack had in mind. Wasting no time in his assault and with a wicked smirk on his face, the first blow came as stiff upper cut to the right side of Celtic’s stomach. No matter how are Celtic flexed, the brass knuckles Jack wore tore right threw his a stomach muscle. It was just as Jack had hoped. The next hit, a right this time, burned from the impact and left its mark. Celtic gasped and yelped in pain at both blows, but was unable to do anything. If he moved his arms, his legs would give, opening himself up to even more pain. Yet, if he did not block, he wouldn’t have a midsection anymore. “Ugggggggh” Celtic moaned as more blows to his stomach came. Again and again straight jabs, mean hooks, deadly uppercuts and even double fisted blows came. They were joined with loud thuds slowly being replaced with grunts and yells of agony. Celtic wanted to throw up, he wanted to fall down and die.
Breathing hard, Jack needed a moment. He was still clearly in control of this fight, and wasn’t in danger of something bad happening. He also took a moment to admire his work. Beaten, with sweat dripping all over Celtic’s body, he was in no shape to do anything. Jack’s arrogance allowed him a small break to again breath and rest his body. Done, and stepping back into range, Jack proceeded to take a few more shots at Celtic’s stomach. Just to make sure it was nice and soft.
When Jack was sure Celtic’s stomach was mush, when the one thing Celtic prized was finished, he sought a new target, a higher one. After all, he wanted Celtic knocked out, not just beaten. Retaken his boxer stance, Jack started with straight jabs to Celtic’s head, snapping him back hard with each blow. Celtic groaned in pain, but was largely ignored by Jack. After all, he had better things to do than caring about some baby crying. “Shut up baby, and take it like a man!” he made his inner thoughts vocal. The ringing in Celtic’s head was agonizing, but again, there was little he could do about it. After about a solid minute of jabs, Jack switched to hooks, throwing his full weight into it. Left, right, left, right, the sound of the blows echoed off the walls of the gym.
As did Celtic’s cry of pain…
The last of Jack’s hits, at least for now, had managed to bust Celtic’s lip, sending blood onto the mat. It would have to be cleaned up later, but right now it was a sign of Jack’s dominance. He wanted it there, just like the others. Stepping back once again, to catch his breath and admire his work, he saw Celtic demolished. Hanging on the ropes, which were the only thing keeping him up, he saw a man that was once his biggest rival... now it was his biggest punching bag. Celtics stomach was beat red and already had several bruised on it. His ribs looked worse than ever, and his face? You could still tell it was Celtic even with the blood all over it. Seeing no harm in it, Jack returned to his corner to wipe the sweat from his face and body.

“How could this have happened” Celtic silently thought to himself. He had the muscle, he had the experience, he was just better than Jack. How could this little kid beat him? How could his punches be so strong now, only after a short time when he- it suddenly came to Celtic. Jack had always carried brass knuckles with him, incase he got jumped outside the gym. The kid was mouthy, but he wasn’t that stupid outside the ring. With his insiders burning, Celtic knew he couldn’t take another hit, least of all from Jack’s cheating fist. He would have to come up with a plan, and quick. For if he didn’t he would never fight again. With his body reasonably cleaned off of nasty sweat, and after taking after taking another moment to strech out his arms (this was really a work out!) Jack turned to face his once time foe again. He was still just laying there on the ropes, begging to be pumbled some more. Jack, with a grin, was all to happy to do so. Coming in fast, much to Celtics surpise again, he threw two quick hooks that shocked Celtic and knocked him to the ground. “That it old man” Jack spat, clearly thinking the older man was knocked out for good. Somehow Celtic had remained awake, even if his face burned like the sun. His sweat and beaten body drenched the area he was in, but he knew this was going to be his one and only shot. Rising slowy, and staggering quite a bit, he waited for Jack to come in close and finish him off. That’s when he attacked.
Had he been a spectator watching the fight, Celtic would have pointed out how desperate he looked, how stupid he looked. But right now, in a fight that could mean life or death, he didn’t care. Summoning up anything he had left, Celtic punched as hard as he could into Jack’s chest. You see, for all his bluster or cheating ways, Jack would always have one giant weak spot. The boy yelped in pain, being hit with the force he once wielded himself. With the loud “oopppffff” of surprise and pain, Celtic knew he hit his mark. Using this success to recharge himself, well somewhat, and getting up on one knee, Celtic sprang again. This time, a strong left uppercut to the chest, right pec. Once again, it connected, and Jack cried out in pain. Celtic could feel his second wind coming, and feeling he could finally take this fight back. Doubling over from the blow, Celtic took total advantage of this and swung again, then again, then again. Even with gloves on, his were legal at least; giant red marks began to appear on Jack’s chest. “Good” Celtic thought, “very good!” Jack, roaring in pain, but could only stand there and take it. And take it he did. From upper cuts, Celtic moved to straight jabs to the chest, assuring he could do enough damage so he could stand up without counter attack.

Back on his feet, and working off his own momentum, Celtic held back nothing. “Time to learn your place boy!” With Jack dazed and confused, he was an easy target. With wild swings, he pounded the boy’s ribs with his might. Marks first red turned deep brown from bruising. Each blow to Jack’s side, each hard pounding Jack took, was awarding Celtic with a cry of agony from Jack. They were high pitched and full of pain. “Good start boy, now let’s see what else the pretty boy can do!” Next swift uppercuts, jabs, hooks and more pounded Jack’s midsection, throwing him around the ring like a rag doll. Unable to even keep his arms up, Jack rocked back and forth, sometimes falling on Celtic himself. Pushed back into the ropes, mostly so Jack would be bounced back and connect hard with a hit, Jack would see no end to this. Coughing up blood and losing air fast, Jack couldn’t keep up with the hits, and feel many more times. Unwilling to stop, Celtic forced the boy up, only to pound and knock him down again. Had this been an official boxing match, the ref would have called the fight long ago. However, since no ref, Jack would have no help at all. With all the force Celtic could gather, he swung his fists with fierce left and right hooks, pounding the boy’s chest. Cries of agony gave way to cries of desperation, and then low whimpers. If Jack wasn’t ready to be KO’ed, he would be very soon. Sweat dripped from Jack’s body as the force of the blows rocked Jack’s body left and right, rock him off his feet and into the air, then finally rocked him back into the ropes.
Forced to the ropes, arms pulled behind him and tied in place, Jack would come to know defeat. His body, already beaten far beyond its limit today, would finally break. Punched in the midsection repeatedly, he would groan softly, but do little else. His body barely holding enough air to remain awake, he couldn’t do much anyway. When the whole of his midsection was dark and brown, Celtic moved to the ribs. Being as thin as he was, the ribs were clearly seen and exposed. Straight jabs shocked Jack’s bones and made him bounce with the ropes. If they would not break by the end of this, they would surely be bruised. Jack wanted to fall, he wanted to curl up into a ball and cry, he wanted to throw up.

But none of this came.

For next his head was snapped back, to the left and to the right hard with many hits. Jack knew he would have many bruises there as well. Maybe even his face would be disfigured for a time. His chest, Jack’s weakest part, was slammed with fist after fist. Muscle did little to protect his body as it had already given up long ago. Jack tried to scream out, but he no longer had the energy to do so. All he could do was hang there and be the punching bag… the punching bag he always was. Each blow came faster and harder now, and Jack sagged on the ropes more and more. Had his arms not been tied, he would have surely fallen, completely knocked out. Drenched in sweet, his arms on fire and his breath short, Celtic stepped back to see his work. The Boxer Jack, the mouthy kid who cheated, was beaten. He sagged there on the ropes, completely unable to do anything but be his punching bag.

“Guess I won the bet kid” Celtic sneered.



by Celtic


Drenched in sweat.
Arms on fire.
Stomach turned to mush.
Chest pounded.
Ribs bruised.
Even flexing hurt…
Celtic had won the fight, but at what price?

He had been in bouts before, he had won some and lost some. He had fought bigger and smaller challengers, and even had some marks to prove it. But they were, as strange as the phrase was, with honor. They were two men locked in fair combat to see who would win. There was no fear yes, but there was no underhanded cowardly crap either. They wanted a strong fight and to beat someone, but there was still respect. Bro code! But what this kid did, was insane. Jack had broken the boxing code, spit in it’s face and would pay for it. But now, Celtic had other ideas. He was in desperate need of a shower, a two hour long full body massage (for a couple of days), and about a week off. Ok, maybe a month... What should have been an easy short fight, turned into the worse two hours of his life. A beating in the locker room, a near devastating beating in the ring, and almost losing everything to this skinny as hell kid? Who would have thought? But, in the end, he had won! He had beaten the kid the way he deserved, the way many would say “he had coming”. Almost on instinct, Celtic raised his arms in victory and immediately regretted it. Sweat fell from his chest hair, as the bruised muscle begged to stop.Stretched out, his stomach and ribs screamed out in pain, a very stern reminder of all that happened.Boxer Jack had cheated, and cheated hard. Under his seemingly regulation gloves, a pair of brass knuckles had assaulted Celtic’s body. It was a fight he would remember for a long time. Favoring his stomach and ribs, his blurry sweat and blood filled vision took in his challenger. Badly bruised from face to lower stomach, Jack only still stood because of the corner ropes supporting him.“Good” Celtic coughed between words, “he earned this”. Celtic took another moment to sneer, mostly out of the pain of the match than gloating. His stomach and ribs still screamed from keeping him up, probably a good idea to find a place to lay down for a bit. Might even fill up one of the baths and pass out there. He smirked, had he eaten anything before the fight, it would have been all over the ring. But now, what to do next?
For a brief moment, Celtic entrained the thought of just leaving. Jack, even as arrogant as he was, had clearly learned from this. Even if he didn’t, well the beating today would assure he had a LOT of time to think it over. And even if he cheated, twice, he still took on a opponent that was much bigger than him. So maybe props for that? But what about the bet? The stakes were destroying the other so as they could never fight again, but what was the point now? Hadn’t enough blood and sweat been shed today? Hadn’t enough bruises dispensed? Not to mention the ever so slight problem of Celtic being in no shape to wage another fight, having even one hit ending him in his tracks.
And yet…
This kid had attacked him in the locker room. With bare fist and no regard, he had assaulted him from behind, slammed in on lockers and floors like some punching toy. He had beaten his body for the purpose of embarrassing. He had done so like a coward. He used brass knuckles to batter his body, bruise his body and bones, and nearly destroy Celtic for good! This kid had tried taking away his sport, his life… Should pity be shown to a person who would not show it to him? Given the chance, this kid would have broken every bone in his body. Celtic would be a wheelchair for life, weak and useless. Limping over, and still favoring his side, he placed a still gloved hand on Jack. Jack winched but said nothing, unable to speak save for grunts and gasps of pain. He was probably expecting a beating that would finish him for good. What he got, was a way out. “Done Jack?” Celtic said between deep gasps of air, still low on the energy. He also hoped using his name, instead of boy or some other insult, would make him see reason. “Can we drop this finally? So we can both just leave and live to fight another day?”There was both pity and understanding in Celtic’s eyes. This had already gone too far, and it was time to bury it. When no response came, Celtic knew it was done.He figured Jack didn’t like it, or the way things turned out, but it was done.
Or at least thought it was…
Just disgusted with the day, and unwilling to even fight anymore, Celtic turned to leave for the locker room. He had a date with the longest shower (or even hot tub stay) in history and he was NOT going to miss it. Shit, what time was it anyway? He was suppose to meet some of the guys for drinks not soon after closing up. Well, at least he would have one hell of a story to tell… Lifting up the ropes to exit,a battle cry from the depth of hell roared behind him. “The fuck?” he thought as he turned back. Just in time, he saw Jack screaming towards him with a fist aimed right at his head. Mistaking pity for insult, Jack had rallied himself for one last blaze of glory. Only one hit would be required to end Celtic, and both of them knew it. If that connected, there was a good chance Celtic would never wake up again… Ducking down low, while his body protested the whole way, Celtic countered with a quick, but strong blow to Jack’s midsection. The skin on his stomach rippled from the blow as it sunk in deep, almost as if hitting Jack’s spine. Bits of blood and saliva shot out of Jack’s mouth, making contact with the ring floor and Celtic’s back.The force of the blow, connecting with an already weakened target, also sent Jack stumbling back. Celtic pressed the attack and connected with an uppercut to the chin that sent Jack further back, this time into the ropes.
“You son of a bitch!” Celtic pulsated with rage. “Twice? Twice you attack me with my back turned!”
Jack had pushed Celtic to the limit, and broke any reserve Celtic might have had. Any lingering respect that was there, was forever lost, now replaced with pure vengeance. Three times in the course of two hours, this little bitch had tried to end him. Tried to take away the one thing he could do to better himself. To do this to a man? Three strikes and you’re out. Blacked out with rage, adrenaline surged through his body, giving him new strength. Any pain that Celtic had and was still feeling was now blocked out by rage. Nothing would stop him. This would not end well… Ignoring the continued protests of his body, Celtic used a running start to slam his shoulder right into Jack’s pitiful chest. Stepping back, he did so again, and again. Celtic could feel the ring ropes strain from trying to keep them both from falling out. He almost didn’t care, but also didn’t want this to end. With several combo blows to the chest and face, Celtic repositioned him to the center ropes. Here the backboard would strain, but not break from the force of the shoulder checks, as Jack’s cries of agony grew more intense. Jack had muttered something, unfortunately in his native language. Thinking it an insult (he wasn’t that far off), Celtic blasted Jack’s face with a right hook, shutting the young man up. Not content, he did something that normally would not have occurred to him. He had already used a wrestling move before, why not play wrestler? Just like the ones on tv! Invigorated, he climbed the ropes and started pounding Jack's head from the top ropes. He imaged the crowd counting away the blows, then cheering when he finished with a mean hammer fist, the force of which slumped Jack down hard. Celtic flexed hard for his imaginary audience, and act that took some effort. Returning to his bout, Jack’s body was once again rocked by no less than a dozen boots to the chest, all of which laid Jack out flat. Lifting the beaten fighter up by the hair, but not before a few more blows to the face, and back onto the ropes, Celtic took a few steps back. Jumping he preformed a double leg kick right into the chest of Jack. Both hit the mat and both screamed in pain. “Maybe not the best idea” Celtic thought in a brief moment of clarity. Beaten body, plus slamming on mats, equals a world of hurt. Yet his rage once again overtook him, and he was back up. Using the power of his forearm, Celtic slammed Jack’s head back several times, knocked the sense clear out of him. Turning himself around, Celtic slammed a right and left elbow combo hit directly into Jack’s solar plexus. Stepping forward, he let the bow hit the ring floor hard. Grabbing a fist full of hair, Celtic added insult to injury by dragging Jack to the to the center of the ring. Once there, he dropped two elbows deep into Jack’s stomach. Jack moaned deeply in pain and curled up into a ball. On his side, and clearly exposing his ribs, Celtic was all to happy to slam several boot strikes into them. But he wasn’t done yet.Still screaming out in pain, Jack was once again lifted back onto his feet. With a killer strike to his chest, Jack doubled over… and right into Celtic’s arms. Lifting the boy up and onto his shoulders (fortunately he was light), Celtic pulled down hard on both his legs and chest, executing a devastating torture rack. Pain screamed throughout Jack’s entire body, as demonstrated by his renewed inhuman cries of pain.
Seemingly empowered by this, Celtic lifted the unfortunate boy up and over … right onto the ropes suspending him in the air. Cracking his knuckles, Celtic threw uppercut after uppercut to the younger man’s chest and midsection, each spewing bits of blood and saliva onto the mat below. With a mean shoulder slam into Jack’s stomach from below, Celtic lifted Jack high up and slammed him hard on the ring. Jack screamed in fury and agony, his entire body feeling it. Liking the feel of it, he picked Jack up and did it again. Once and the screams seemed to rock the gym. In final response to this, Celtic slammed a massive boot several times down onto Jack’s chest, stomach and sides.
This was turning into Rocky when that stupid Russian told him “I must break you!”.
Again, Celtic took the younger man into his arms and forced him up. Raising one arm, as if mockingly showing Jack the winner, Celtic slammed a gloved fist (his rage made him forget they were still on) into his ribs. Open and unprotected the hit sunk in deep. Jack’s body rocked, and red showed up over fresh purple bruises. Celtic hit him again, and again, until a cracking sound could be heard. Celtic stopped and blinked for a moment, had just what happened, happen? No, could enough punches really do that? This had gone too far, this had- the thought was immediately cut off with Jack spitting into Celtic’s face. Instead of mercy, Jack had cursed Celtic in his native language. Even after all of this, Jack was still defiant! No, a person with a broken rib could not do this, so Celtic once again saw red. Wrapping his arms around Jack’s chest, mostly to keep him up, Celtic introduced Jack’s sides to his knee. Many. Many. Times. Clearly regretting doing the stupid, Jack changed his tone and begged for mercy. But his cries, as well as further crunching sounds were drowned out by the force of the blows. When his knees grew tired and sore, Celtic shifted his grip slightly down. With his arms between the chest and midsection area, Celtic squeezed hard and gave the best bear hug his body could manage. Jack’s cries of pain would not stop till Celtic threw the beaten boy into the ropes, so hard he would quickly bounce off of them. Jack would soon find himself back on the mat, curtsey of a close line to the chest.

“DONE YET BITCH?” Celtic roared.

Unable to move, and short of breath, Celtic knew Jack could only lay there and accept his beating. Glaring, Celtic quickly mounted the younger fighting and started pounding away at his ribs and chest. Forgoing straight jabs in favor of faster moving and flowing hooks, Celtic pounded every inch of Jack’s upper body, leaving nothing unaffected. From wrestling to MMA? Celtic’s fury was clearly enjoying itself. Quickly shifting his position (again, something he saw on tv), he took position on Jacks side. Placing a hand on the opposite rib and side, Celtic slammed a stiff knee into Jack’s open rib cage. Again and again he would do this, only pausing to switch sides and continue. Finally, he would wrap his legs around the chest of Jack, and squeezed hard, only stopping with his screams did.
He had done it.
Jack was broken, and would never return to this gym again.
For a moment, both laid there in silence. One, broken and beaten, had not the strength to move or speak. The other, coming off terrible beating and rage high, was exhausted. Every inch of Celtic’s body came back screaming in pain, with nothing now able to block it. Yet somehow, he managed to drag himself to the center ropes before giving out. This alone probably saved him uncomfortable questions. A few moments later, his friends would arrive, worried as to what happened to them. Upon seeing the ring, police and ambulance would be called. With no cameras to speak off, the story would be difficult to piece together at first. However, with the discovery of Jack’s brass knuckles on him, and his repetition among the gym staff, the case would be quickly and quietly settled up. Celtic would be hailed as “the man” for taking on such a cowardly cheater and manning up to win the day. Jack… well it would be assumed he would never be heard from again.

But one never knows.



by Celtic


The Celtic Fighter, or just Celtic, sat in the locker room with his head against the wall.
It had been little over two months since the cowardly but brutal attack from Boxer Jack. He needed this time to recover from bruised ribs, and nearly destroyed adnominal wall. Shifting his weight he placed a hand on his chest, then stomach. The pain had finally stopped, the burning had gone out, but the memory would live on. The guys at the gym for all their hyper masculine attitudes were sympatric to him, knowing the devious beating he suffered. It wasn’t just a normal fight he had; the boy had cheated, and with brass knuckles no less. Sure, he won in the end, but at a VERY high price. But now he was back in the game, he was fit and ready for the world. He had hit the gym for several days before the first offer for a fight came in. Celtic was nervous at first, but then the thrill of the fight came screaming back. Once fighting was in your blood, it never really left.
He had spoken to some of the other guys about this new kid, this Dante, having never met or seen him before. Dante was said to have a slim but well built body, more athletic than skinny fit. He had a good pair of arms and a well defined chest, but his weak spot seemed to be his stomach. Too much focus on one thing would do that to you. Also probably wasn’t supposed to hear about the weak gut part, but Celtic wasn’t complaining. His fighting style reflected his younger age, being both rough and playful. He enjoyed the dance, but could knock you out the moment you blinked. The thing he liked most about this guy was his attitude on the sport. While he took the fight seriously, and fought to win, he was light hearted and had fun with it. He was a guy you could fight long and hard with, would give it his all and expect you to do the same, but then share drinks with afterwards. It was one of the reasons he accepted the fight request. After Jack, he wanted someone who he could have a laid back fight with, a friendly fight that was still a good work out.
Lost as he was in his own thoughts and memories, Celtic hadn’t bothered to register someone entering the locker room, take an interest, and then sit next to him. When it did register, Celtic had to blink a few times to make sure he wasn’t tripping, or accidently fallen into some over hyped anime. His upper body was well built and muscled, even for a kid that was skinnier than a twig. His hair was also spiky like someone out of Dragon ball Z. He honestly wouldn’t be surprised if this guy had a monkey’s tail hidden somewhere. If some loud ass that’s named began with H suddenly appeared, he- the guy must have noticed Celtic eyeing him up, because he was the first to break the silence.
“Yeah I know, I’m a hit to the diaphragm.”
“One look at me and you lose your breath right?”
“Bit forward of you, but luckily your cute.”
“Uh, yeah. Glossing over that last part, was that supposed to be a pun or something?”
“Was your father a boxer, man?”
“No why?”
“Cause you’re a knock out!”
“Oh Gods above…”
Celtic groaned hard at the bad puns, this kid sure did know how to pick them. Celtic quickly wondered if the kids mind was just that quick witted or too many blows to the face from boxing permanently damaged him. But, as enjoyable of an experience as this was, (being hit on by a stranger with bad puns who wouldn’t love that) Celtic had to return to the present. He could only procrastinate so long before it was fight time, and he had to make sure he was ready. Quickly rising, he performed a few quick stretches to loosen up his muscles, and shadow box at the mirror for a few to warm up the body. He finished up by flexing hard to both impress and intimidate the kid still watching. Who was he anyway?
“Not bad, I heard you were strong.”
“Yeah sure, thanks man. Listen, I have to go, got a fight in a few minutes.”
“No kidding handsome, who do you think you are fighting?”
“You’re kidding…”
“Nope, you liked me so much you put a ring on it. HA! Get it! Ring!”
With that Dante pushed off the wall and headed for the ring, leaving Celtic to wonder just how interesting this bout was going to be.
The Fight
The ring room, like most of the gym, was quite today. Being early enough in the day, most people were still at their day jobs. As he approached the ring, he heard the slow rhythmic thuds of someone punching the side of the ring; the kid must have been warming up. Not a bad idea, Celtic thought, at least he wasn’t dealing with a total newbie. His hits were slow but steady, and sounding as if there wasn’t much force being applied. So the kid was either taking it slow, or he just didn’t have the muscle or experience to be a power hitter. Watching for a moment, Celtic concluded he didn’t want to take chances. While Jack’s attack had left him badly beaten, it also taught him to never underestimate. This kid could be quick and strong, or just quick and deadly. Pushing past the ropes and throwing his shirt and towel on his side, Celtic called out to his younger opponent. “Yo. Dante was it? You ready for this, or need another min to warm up.” Pausing for a moment, as if disbelieving he heard something, Dante turned and greeted him warmly with a huge smile. Kid could be a fucking lady killer…
“Hey paps! Glad you could make it!”
“Paps? Oh you will pay for that kido.”
“Kido? Nope, sorry not ringing any bells!”
“Will I be subjected to this bad one liners all day?”
“Everyone has a plan till they are punched in the face brah!”
Dante laughed and rolled his shoulders a few times before leaning back on his corner. His form and body type would be impressive and intimidating to first time boxers. Making an admittedly hasty assessment, Celtic also figured Dante could definitely clean up well in the beginner bracket. Personality to put people at easy and body that can dish out punishment? Yeah… Celtic also noted that while lacing up his gloves, Dante bore a near childish smile of excitement, he was like a kid in a candy story. And…was he actually shaking with anticipation? He was ready for a fight and ready for some fun. Celtic smirked; the kid had heart, and a good attitude, now he wondered if he could dance. With gloves on, and both fighters ready, the two approached each other and touched gloves. Just because they were about to beat the crap out of each other, didn’t mean they couldn’t be civil about it.
Then in the span of a moment, in less time it took to blink, it happened. The world slowed, and faded away, only the ring existed. Two fighters locked gazed and prepared for what was about to happen. Muscles in their arms and chest tensed, ready for the battle ahead. Their minds raced with tactics and scenarios, each for blocking, hitting and winning. The thrill of the fight sent shivers up and down his spin, Celtic was so ready for this. He needed this, and he was overjoyed to be back in the game! Then with but the blinking of the eye, the moment was over and the battle was joined. Dante came in fast, throwing combo jabs and hooks almost faster than Celtic could see them. “Shit this kid is fast!” he thought while keeping his guard up. While the hits were not strong, nor hard to block, they definitely had a “death by a thousand cuts” feel to them. When a pause in a seemingly endless barrage of punches came, Celtic pressed his attack. Throwing a few quick jabs to distract the younger fighter he set up for a blow to the midsection, followed by an upper cut to send him back. None of them connected, and in fact only met open air. The kid has seen it coming, and dodged them all with stunning speed. “Shit, this kid is really fast!”
“Coming up a little short there paps!
“Heh, fuck you kid, I’m just warming up!”
“If it’s too much for you, you can always punch out of work early!”
Had this not been an official(ish) fight, Celtic would have dropped his gloves and tackled the kid. Just how many puns did he have? No, for the sake of humanity, this vile evil had to be destroyed! He alone would take up the burden of expelling and defeating the pun overlord. So then, in response to yet another hideous pun, Celtic kicked off the ring mats as hard as he could to renew his assault. Dropping down low to exploit a weakness first, he threw two wide and strong hooks to the midsection, following it up with a stiff uppercut to send the point home. They all missed, again. Dante had dodged everything by leaping back at the correct moment, and was now dancing around the older Celtic. He would have to find some way of slowing the kid down before-
More out of surprise than pain, a gloved fist had connected and stung the side of Celtic’s ribs. He didn’t even see it coming, which infuriated him even more. But as quickly as Dante closed him, he was already out of reach and dancing around him again. “Fuck, I’m going to enjoy knocking Flash flat on his face.” he thought. Reaching down low again, he faked a blow to the midsection, and then quickly switched to a hook to the head. His gloved fist just missed Dante’s face, something that brought a smile to Dante’s face. Celtic could only imagine what stupid pun was forming in his head. “To fast, to furious bro!” Celtic lined another shot to the temple and took it, more out of annoyance than training. He missed again. A rather annoying recurring theme was playing out here. Celtic quickly changed strategies based on this. In open ring like this, the kid was just too damn fast, he could just dance around and work the body hard as he wished. But if he could be pushed into the ropes or even the corner, Celtic could keep the boy in one place and take him out at will.
Celtic threw a series of hits, each aimed for the head or body, each designed to have Dante dodge back than actually hit. Responding just as he predicted, Dante steadily moved back closer to the ropes. “Good, now it’s time to get pounded kid.” As Dante’s back touched the rope, his smirk for just a moment was replaced with concern. He realized the trap but was already far too late to escape. Or at least he should have been. Celtic, capitalizing on such, leaped in to bash his face hard with a series of hooks. But yet again, what should have been a clean easy attack, turned right foul for Celtic. As his hook was in mid swing, Celtic’s chest was blasted with a quick combo of jabs to push him back, and that it did. Attempting to counter attack with a mean right hook, he found instead his midsection blasted with a set of rapid fire punches, each sinking in just a little bit more than the one before. “Ughhh, ooopphhh, ugggggggh”. Celtic stepped back to spare his midsection. Lowering his guard to protect his stomach, and attempting to get his head out of the stars, he was rocked back and forth by a series of fast but strong hooks. Sweat sprayed from his hair to both sides of the ring as Celtic’s vision stumbled. Putting up his guard to protect his face, his stomach was once against blasted with jabs faster than he could see or count. Grunting loud in real pain this time, he doubled over when an upper cut to the chest sent him back into the ropes.
Sonic the hedgehog apparently had become a boxer and was now calling himself Dante.
Senseless, Celtic hung on the rope for a moment, only to have his midsection blasted again and again. Celtic tried his best to keep his stomach tense and tight, but the punches just kept coming and coming. Jabs, hooks, even uppercuts came at him and blasted what muscle Celtic had. Grunts of pain and groans of muscle defeat escaped him after each hit. This was humiliating to say the least. When he tried to put up a guard, the hits moved to his chest, rocking the muscle there left to right. On instinct, he flexed his chest hard, hoping to stay off some of the pain, but just too much came. When he brought his guard up again, his judgment, as well as any thought process, was interrupted by mean hooks to the face. Celtic’s arms dropped to his side as any sense he had was clearly knocked out of him. When it stopped he attempted to lift his guard up but was blindsided by a mean right hook to the face, sending him down for the count.
Landing with a hard thud, sweat once clinging to the hair on his head, chest and stomach, bounced off the ring floor. Pain screamed from his stomach and chest, and his vision wasn’t any better. His head rang louder than the boxing bell, and for far longer. Red marks would form around the punishment he suffered, if they hadn’t already.
Celtic coughed hard in pan, having just had his insides steadily assaulted. His lungs worked hard to take in desperately need oxygen as he managed to roll onto his back. Death by a thousand cuts indeed.
Realization had finally worked its way past the pain, Celtic knew he was down. Dante had beaten him so hard, his body had given out. Anger (yet some pride in another) surged throughout his body. He refused to let pun boy win this fight.
Celtic had commanded his body to get up, but the pain had refused. Having taken more hits now than all of what had Jack had done had really taken its toll. He tried arching his back, to give himself some leverage, but nothing came. He tried forcing a arm up, but that to did not respond.
Celtic was a fighter; he was ever since the bigger kids would pick on him in grade school. He would return home with black eyes, bruised body, and even a broken hand or two, but he would never give up. Not now, not ever. His will roared to life, screaming at his body more than the pain ever could.
Refusing to give up, ignoring the enormous amounts of protest from his body, Celtic’s will begin to win over. First his upper body rose, then his arms began to work. His body was stiff, but still working. He would do this.
First up on one knee, then rising, Celtic stumbled and fell back onto the ropes. His equilibrium was off, but he was up. His legs wobbled but continued to hold his weight. Slow but steady steps…
He shook his head several times, getting the cobwebs out of it. This was his first match back, and he couldn’t mess it up. He had to get his head back into the game, he had to fight hard and smart. This kid was quick, too quick. So he had to use his muscle as well as his brain to win this one.
Celtic pounded his gloves together, ready for more.
“Took you long enough old man, thought you were out for some punch.”
“Heh, sorry had to pick up my dry cleaning while I was out.”
As the two circled each other, exchanging friendly banter for good measure, Celtic had to admit he was enjoying himself. Sure, taking hits and getting knocked down wasn’t the best, but the fight over all was an enjoyable one. With a grin, Celtic set his mind on making it even more fun. Celtic swiftly launched himself forward with a right jab to the head. It missed but Celtic was able to bring his guard down fast enough to block the hit to his midsection. “Well that’s one blocked at least” Celtic thought before being rocked by a right hook. Stumbling back, he felt another series of quick blows blast his chest hard. But instead of retreating back, Celtic stepped forward and threw a few slow but strong jabs at Dante. The gamble worked and Dante was knocked square in the face, taken completely off guard. “That’s right!” he thought quickly, “The kid is fast, but not up close.” Celtic pressed the attack by launching additional hooks to the face, each landing and forcing Dante to grunt. Celtic had a new plan. If he could keep Dante close, and force his ego to stand and fight, Celtic could press the advantage. Celtic developed a pattern, and set it into motion. Dante danced around some of the hits, but suffered several blows to the face, chest and ribs. Celtic was careful to avoid the midsection since that always seem to be blocked and guarded more than any other. More punched where thrown but Dante danced back with his sonic like speed.
Celtic followed.
He had to stay in close to press the advantage. Celtic threw a series of jabs to the face and chest, some connecting some pushing Dante to his limit. His smile broke, replaced with the lust boxers felt when they just wanted to pound something. Dante returned the hits in kind and soon the center of the ring turned into a fierce melee. It had worked, Dante was standing his ground and Celtic was more than willing to do the same. Dante would be rocked back and forth with jabs and hooks to the face and chest, while Celtic would suffer jabs and uppercuts to the head and stomach. When the pounding took a pause, both were drenched in sweat and exhausted. Both had their guard up, but weakly.
“Not bad kid.”
“Not bad yourself paps”
“Heh, no one linger this time?”
“Sorry man…”
“Forgot the punch line!”
“… I asked for that.”
“Yes you did!”
“Ready to go down?”
“Bring it paps!”
The two leaped at each other again, both set on being the last person standing. Celtic would swing wicked hooks and jabs while Dante would find his targets all over. Hits would be blocked, taken, and rocked. But in the end, Celtic would land the hit of a life time. Sweat flung from the younger man’s hair and chest from the force of the blow. Around the impact of the glove, skin swelled and rippled. His stomach muscles, impressive as they were, retracted and gave in, no longer able to absorb hits. As if in slow motion, Dante doubled over, but Celtic continued his assault. Blow after blow, uppercut after uppercut blasted Dante in the stomach. He coughed up air hard as his body fell on Celtic. Whatever muscle was there had already be destroyed. With one final hit, with everything Celtic had, and even his weight into it, he blasted Dante’s stomach… and then he hit the floor hard. As powerful and swift as he was, he was ultimately no match for strength and experience. Things Dante would learn in time, but that didn’t help right now. In the center of the ring Dante laid sprawled out, several battle marks on his chest and abs. Celtic stood above him, favoring his own stomach, but still clearly the victor. He bore a huge smile on his face, not from the victory but from being in such an awesome match. With some effort, Celtic cleaned his own sweat from his face and cleared up his vision. For such a young kid, he sure had a lot of fight in him! Once done, he reached down to help the young man he learned to respect in battle up. It would take a few minutes, but Dante would be awake soon enough. Much to his surprise when he did wake, Dante laughed, a weak one, but a laugh none the less. Confused, Celtic stood there, rather unsure what to do.
“Oh sorry” he coughed in-between laughs and trying to catch his breath, “I’m just a little punch drunk from partying all day!”
“I should knock you out again for such a bad pun.”
“What? You’re a boxer, you love punch lines!”
Another pun and another joke? The guy had just gotten his ass kicked in the ring and knocked out cold, yet he could still drop some lame jokes? This kid was something. Like really something. Yet despite himself, Celtic began to laugh. No matter what happened, or what kind of outcome occurred, this kid was here with a smile and a bad joke to make you laugh. This was defiantly a young man that had earned his respect. Helping him up, he knew this day was more than just a great fight.
It was the first day in a long and strong friendship.