The starting bell rang loud and clear over the roar of the crowd as the announcer ducked out of the ring and the two men came in swinging. Coble started out with strong offense, throwing a flurry of punches in quick succession, but Hurricane just danced around the challenger, easily avoiding every swipe. The onslaught kept coming, Hurricane would back out of the way, and off to the side, and Coble would rally with another barrage of jabs, and an occasional wide swing. Coble seemed to be trying to overpower the larger man, while Hurricane was taking a slower strategy, keeping out of the way and letting Coble wear himself out. After a few flurries Hurricane started throwing a few experimental jabs of his own, Coble would come in with rapid jabs on his left, so Hurricane would duck right and hit him with a quick cross. Coble was terrible about leaving himself exposed. Each time the crowd would go wild.

Occasionally when this would happen Famke would shoot Holden a look. She didn’t follow the fights, she wouldn’t know the odds of his bet, but Hurricane was the talk of the town. She knew enough that she could guess, enough to wonder what Holden was playing at. She certainly didn’t like what she was seeing, though. Hurricane was going to win this fight with no issues whatsoever. And then something changed in the ring.

The pattern continued, much as before, Coble sending out a flurry of jabs, and Hurricane dancing out of the way and retaliating. Coble didn’t seem to have any desire to adjust his strategy, even when it was sure to lose him the match. And then suddenly, one of the flurries landed. Hurricane didn’t get out of the way in time, and took the last two jabs to the face. He staggered back and fell back into the pattern. Jab, dodge, return. Jab, dodge, return. And then a second flurry landed. Famke turned to holden with suspicion in her eyes.

Holden saw immediately what was happening, of course. Hurricane couldn’t simply throw the fight outright, he had to make it look good. He had to carefully balance it, put up a good show of going toe to toe with this guy. He had to be on top of his game. But at the same time he couldn’t just go down out of the blue. He had to make it look believable. After a certain time, once they felt the audience had gotten their money’s worth, Hurricane would start making more and more intentional mistakes, and Coble would take him down. There was no way this clown was going to land a punch any other way.

The routine continued this way for a while, though they did start to mix things up a bit as they continued. The flurry of jabs turned into a series of powerful swings, accompanied by blasts from Coble’s trumpet player. Hurricane’s trumpet player had to switch from applying sound effects for dodging to doing blocking noises, as he shifted to a more sedate defense. Back and forth the fighters went, until the ringing of the bell marked the end of the first round, and sent them into their corners for a short break. Holden couldn’t wait for round two.


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