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1"Ladies and gentlemen!" veteran ring announcer L. Z. Scappelli proclaimed. "Now you're in for a treat. For the first time anywhere the Universal Boxing Authority has sanctioned a pro heavyweight bout between the sexes."
A whole tier of seats taken up by women rose in loud acclaim in the vast underground complex of Manhattan's Madison Stadium. So boisterous was their cheering that the boos and hisses from elsewhere around the arena were drowned out. Women hooted and screamed; they rose to their feet and pounded the plastic backs of their chairs.
* * *"It's quite a scene tonight, isn't it, Billy?" said audiovid announcer Chet Atkinson. The fight was blacked out in the New York City Zone because the main event -- Brigham versus Zeletski -- hadn't sold out the one hundred twenty thousand stadium seats by fight time.
"You better believe it," Billy "the Eclipse" Bonner, one-time UBA lightweight champion, replied. Each word seemed to roll around on a bed of marbles before leaving his mouth. "The ladies want to see blood."
"What do you think about Fera Jones stepping into the ring against a man, champ?"
"Well, Chet, I'm old-fashioned. I don't like to see ladies with the gloves on. I mean, even the WUBA is too much for me to watch sometimes. But there's no denying that women have been becoming more competitive. They hit harder and move faster every year."
"So do you think she has a chance tonight?"
"I don't think she'll get hurt too bad," Bonner replied. "Jellyroll is more of an act than he is a fighter. He's a joke setup with opponents that have no chance against him. I mean, the crowd loves it, I do too, but Jellyroll tipped the scale at almost three-eighty at weigh-in, and he doesn't have a knockout punch."
"Three-eighty," Chet agreed. "And six seven. But Fera Jones weighs an impressive two-sixty and stands six foot nine. She has the reach, age, and height advantage over Jellyroll. And she looks like she was molded from iron. I mean, just look at the muscle definition on those legs."
"Nice legs, I'll agree with that, Chet. But this is a brutal sport. Man is the warrior. I don't care how much the Radical Feminist Separatist Movement of Massachusetts wants to play with genetics, a man will always come out on top in one of these wars."
* * *It was never proven that Fera Jones was the product of SepFem-G, an outlawed genetics program that came out of the feminist studies department at Smith College. Actually there was evidence to the opposite. Fera lived with, and was managed and trained by, her father -- Leon Jones, a one-time history professor from UMass. Not that there weren't lots of questions about them.
Leon was Negro, medium brown with thick, kinky hair, generous lips and a broad nose. Fera was a natural, if dirty, blonde with skin too dark to be Caucasian but not exactly the right coloring for Negro skin. Her mother was unknown to the public. Fera claimed that she didn't know anything about her mother.
"Your father must have known who she was," a woman's magazine journalist once suggested in an interview.
"If I bring it up I can see the hurt in him," Fera replied. It was the most she had ever said about her mother publicly.
There were plenty of questions about Fera Jones. She was tall enough to play men's basketball and strong enough to compete in a strong-man contest.
PublisherGrand Central Publishing
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