New eBook “The Last Round” is Available
The Last Round is available for the Kindle and Nook. Here’s some info and an excerpt:
For The Title.
Middleweight boxer Jamal Jefferson’s goal is to become the undisputed Middleweight Champion of the World. He wants to win all four title belts, defend them, and retire undefeated at age thirty. Jamal is determined to reach his goal, so he trains hard and fights harder. He’s certain that with his trainer Pops, his manager Stephanie Rhodes and his fiancée Tia Fuentes in his corner, nothing can stop him.
But on the night that Jamal wins the first of four Middleweight titles, Tia isn’t with him. Instead of being by his side, she’s with his primary rival for the claim of best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, WBC Middleweight Champion Ernest “The Gunslinger” Gaines.
Tia and Gaines have a history. Tia says it’s a bad history. But actions speak louder than words, and Jamal wonders if she’s telling the truth, or if there’s something going on between her and Gaines. Is the girl he loves really in his corner?
When Jamal finally steps into the ring to fight Gaines, he’ll be fighting for more than the undisputed championship. He’ll be fighting for his pride and his dignity. And he’ll be fighting to make sure that after the last round is fought, one of them will leave the ring with everything – the undisputed championship, and perhaps the undisputed claim to the woman they both want.
Las Vegas, Nevada
“Is it a cut?” Jamal asked as Pops rubbed something into his brow, either Vaseline or a coagulant. “He butted me.”
“Nah, you’re all right,” Pops said. “Now look, I think you hurt him good with that right to the body; maybe busted a rib. Keep going back there. Tenderize that motherfucker on that side. If he tries to cover it up, go up top and knock his ass back into the Disco era.”
Jamal leaned to look around Pops to see what was going on in Delgado’s corner. The ring girl, who was holding up the card signifying that the fourth round was coming up, thought he was leaning to look at her. She paused in mid-step, broadened her smile, and gave him a wink. Jamal ignored her. If the chick knew what was good for her she’d keep it moving, because Tia was not above jumping from the front row and over the ropes to give her a worse beat down than he was trying to give Delgado. The girl moved on, out of his way, and Jamal saw Delgado’s manager throwing the towel at the referee.
And then all hell broke loose in the ring. Jamal rose from his stool and his corner men kept him ascending, hoisting him up in the air. They’d carried him halfway around the ring before he managed to struggle back to the canvas and push his way back to his corner. He looked over the ropes down into the audience, to the front row where Tia was sitting.
She wasn’t there.
Ring announcer Michael Buffer was somewhere behind Jamal among the mass of people pushing and shoving and trying to be a part of the celebration. Jamal barely heard him as he announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, due to what’s reported as a fractured rib, the red corner is forced to retire after the third round…”
Jamal turned around, looking for Tia among the gang of happy friends and well-wishers crowded into the ring. The HBO reporter was grabbing at his arm, trying to get his attention for the post-fight interview. Jamal spit out his mouthpiece, and thinking he was ready to talk, the reporter got excited and shoved his microphone under his nose. Jamal turned his back on him and strained to see over heads in the ring, trying to locate Tia.
Michael Buffer was shouting, “…the winner, and new WBA Middleweight Champion of the Woooorld…Ja-maaaaal Jefferson!
Somebody grabbed Jamal’s right hand and lifted his glove into the air. It was Stephanie Rhodes, his manager and promoter. Where was Tia?
On his other side Pops leaned close and said into his ear, “I think she went back to the dressing room.”
Jamal and his team were in the stadium tunnel leading to his dressing room and being trailed by a pack of reporters when Jamal saw WBC Middleweight Champion Ernest “The Gunslinger” Gaines and two members of his entourage approaching from the other direction. One of the dudes was named Reggie something. Jamal didn’t recognize the other one.
Gaines was dressed in monotone – a damn near day glow orange suit with a matching brim and shoes. The only break in color were the gold chains draped around his neck.
When they drew near Gaines slowed his stride, grinned at him and said, “Congratulations on winning nothing, Jay. Everybody knows Delgado was washed up five years ago.”
Jamal stopped in his tracks. Pops muttered, “Oh, hell…”
“Is that why you were ducking him?” Jamal spat back. “Seems like every time he wanted to unify the belts, you had something else to do.”
Gaines snorted and said, “I wouldn’t waste my time fighting that has been. Not enough money in it. But hey, I understand why you did it, Jay. You had to get a title somehow, and you damn sure can’t take mine.”
One of Gaines’ henchmen snickered, “Oh, snap!” and bumped fists with the other idiot.
Jamal said, “Any time you want to sign the contract, pull your pen out.”
Still grinning, Gaines shook his head. “I got more exciting things to do. Speaking of which, Tia was so bored watching you dance with an old man that she couldn’t even hang around to watch. So I kept her company for you, gave her something more exciting to do with her evening. She’s in your dressing room right now trying to recover.”
Pops and two members of Jamal’s crew grabbed him before he could reach Gaines. Paparazzi camera flashes went off like Fourth of July fireworks.
Gaines grinned at the reporters and onlookers and said, “Nothing to see here, people. Just a boy trying to be a man.” Gaines continued up the tunnel with his boys on his heels, but he wasn’t done. When he was past Jamal’s group he turned back and sneered, “Damn Jay, it really must suck being you. Even when you try to equal me you can’t. Oh, and that goes for in the ring, too. But anyway, congratulations…champ.” Seconds later he was up the tunnel and out of sight, with his taunting laughter echoing back.
When Jamal reached his dressing room door he said to his team, “Everybody but Pops hold tight for a minute.” Then he went in to find out what the fuck Tia had been up to.
THE LAST ROUND