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مجموعه: کتاب های فوق متوسط / کتاب: مرد سیندرلایی / درس 15

کتاب های فوق متوسط

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  • زمان مطالعه 11 دقیقه
  • سطح متوسط

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متن انگلیسی درس

Chapter 14 The Luckiest Man

“Alice?” The house seemed empty. Mae looked at the uneaten meal on her sister’s kitchen table. Then she heard noises from the closet in the hall. They were all there—Mae’s three children and her sister—listening to the fight on the radio.

“The crowd was expecting big things from champion Max Baer in the eighth round,” the radio announcer was saying. “But Jim Braddock refused to be beaten.”

Rosy looked up and saw her mother. “It’s the police,” she said to the others.

“By the ninth round, it was a fact that Braddock had fought better than anybody expected,” continued the announcer. “But some people were saying that Baer allowed this to happen. In the tenth round, the champion was in complete control of the fight.”

Mae reached to turn off the radio. Jay’s eyes met hers. “Please, Mom.”

She looked into their hopeful faces and knew that she couldn’t say no. But she refused to listen herself. Without a word, she turned and walked away, as the eleventh round began.

Round 11 Baer was mad as he rushed out. He chased Braddock around the ring, throwing punches at the challenger . . . and then it came—Baer’s big punch, the one that had killed two men.

When it hit him, Braddock’s mind was in a fog. He felt heavy and light at the same time, and his legs could only just support him. He felt the ropes on his back.

Suddenly, a memory of his family came into Jim’s head—his wife and children. The reason why he was here. He let the ropes support him for a few seconds, and then he pushed forward, back on his feet.

Baer just stared at Braddock, unable to believe that the challenger had taken the punch and not been knocked out. Jim looked back into Baer’s broken face and smiled.

For the rest of the round, Baer tried to finish his opponent, but his wild punches missed. Braddock hit back with a jab, a cross, another jab. With each punch, he felt his strength returning. There was blood on Baer’s face now.

At the end of the round, Braddock’s corner men worked urgently on the cut under the fighter’s eye. Joe Gould seemed close to tears. “Jimmy,” said his manager. “Win, or lose . . .”

“Thanks, Joe, for all of it.” Jim lifted a bloody glove. “Now stop talking.”

Round 12 Baer started the twelfth round still trying to finish the fight with one big punch. But the challenger was faster and dodged the punches.

“He’s slow!” shouted Gould from the corner.

The crowd was shouting in both happiness and fear.

“You’re right, it is a funeral,” shouted the young reporter next to Sporty Lewis. “Max Baer’s funeral.”

But Lewis didn’t hear. He was on his feet, shouting like everybody else. The crowd’s shout was like a wave of noise.

“Braddock! Braddock! Braddock!”

It was too much for Max Baer. He ran at Braddock, moving his fists fast and hard. The punches hit the challenger, the last one below the belt. Braddock bent over in pain as the round ended.

Joe Gould jumped over the ropes, shouting angrily at Baer. The referee and the fight’s doctor had to lift the little manager back out of the ring.

Baer just stood in the center of the ring.

“That low punch lost you the round,” the referee told him.

Baer waved him away and moved back to his corner. Ancil Hoffman was waiting for him. “You’re losing! Are you listening to me? Do you want to lose the title to this nobody?”

At her sister’s house in New Jersey, Mae had stopped pretending to herself that she was reading the newspaper—that she wasn’t listening to the radio.

She went back to the hall, where the others still sat listening.

Mae hid around the corner so her children couldn’t see her. She stood in the dark and listened to the thirteenth and fourteenth rounds with growing fear.

At last, when there was just one more round in the fight, she stepped out of the shadows. Rosy moved to the side. “Sit here, Mommy.” Mae joined her children. Pale with worry, she listened to the announcer.

“It’s the fifteenth and final round. The crowd is shouting at Braddock to stay away because Baer is looking for the knockout . . . but Braddock is not staying away, and Baer is delivering the biggest punches of his life.”

Mae saw the fear now in her children’s eyes. Would their father come home tonight?

“But Braddock is not only standing . . . he’s coming forward!”

Round 15 In the ring, Max Baer and Jim Braddock were beaten, bloody and tired. They fought for air as they circled each other, looking for a chance to get past their opponent’s defenses.

Baer’s fists flew and all of his punches were strong enough to knock a man out, but they were wild and anxious. Braddock remained on his feet. He kept coming forward, bringing the fight to Baer.

The final seconds of the fight seemed to stretch forever. For the boxers, the crowd seemed to disappear; the referee, the judges, and the managers were gone, too. For each man there was only the other fighter.

Braddock danced to the side and threw a jab. Baer saw his chance. He threw his famous right punch and hit Braddock right in the head. It knocked the challenger to the side, and now Baer could hit him with the second punch. Silence fell over the crowd.

Was this the end?

No. Braddock turned and just managed to dodge the next punch. He hit back, and the two men were still throwing punches when the final bell rang. The fight had ended!

Everybody waited to hear the fight officials announce a winner.

It was clear which fighter the crowd wanted.

“Braddock! Braddock! Braddock!”

Minutes later, Braddock was still resting on the ropes while the fight doctor examined him and Joe Gould took his boxing gloves off.

I don’t like it,” said Joe. “The judges are taking too long.”

A shadow fell across their corner. It was Max Baer, who looked Jim Braddock in the eye. “You beat me. It doesn’t matter what they say.”

Jim tried to find the right words, but Baer was gone before he had a chance to say them.

At last, the judges handed a small, white card to the fight announcer. He climbed over the ropes and moved to the microphone in the middle of the ring.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the winner . . . and new heavyweight champion of the world . . .”

The rest of his words were lost in an explosion of noise.

The same noise filled the streets of Newark. People poured from their houses into the streets to celebrate. They poured out of Father Rorick’s church to join everybody else in an unplanned street party. People laughed and cried with happiness. Faces that looked old with worry became suddenly young again.

At her sister’s house, Mae’s cry cut the night. As the family celebrated, little Rosy smiled proudly at her mother. “It’s the steak,” she said.

Back at the Madison Square Garden Bowl, the crowd pushed forward for a better look at the Cinderella Man. Everybody wanted to shake his hand, to touch him, to take home a little of his magic for themselves.

James J. Braddock stood in the center of the ring with his arms lifted over his head. Tears poured from his eyes. He listened to the crowd’s shouts, but his heart was in another place. It was in a little New Jersey apartment, where his wife and three children would soon be waiting for him to come home. In the end, they were the reason why he was not only the heavyweight champion of the world, but also the luckiest man in it.

And so James J. Braddock, at the age of 29, became the heavyweight champion of the world on June 13, 1935. None of the judges disagreed with the decision. For the public and the press, his win was one of the biggest surprises in the history of the sport. Most agreed that Baer had been beaten by a better boxer on the night.

For two years, Braddock didn’t box again. Finally, a fight was arranged with Joe Louis, the “Brown Bomber” from Detroit. On June 22, 1937, the two fighters met in Chicago.

By this time, Braddock was not as strong or healthy as he had been. His left arm was very weak, but he still managed to knock Louis down in the first round. By the fourth round, Joe Louis was controlling the fight. According to Braddock, “After a couple of rounds, I knew I was in there with a great fighter.” The end came when Louis knocked Braddock out in the eighth round. “When he hit me with that right, I just lay there.” Joe Louis later became one of the greatest heavyweight title holders in the history of boxing.

James J. Braddock fought one more fight after that, in 1938, against a young boxer from Wales, Tommy Farr. Farr had lasted all fifteen rounds against Louis, and most people expected him to beat Braddock. Again, Braddock surprised everybody by winning the fight. Then he decided to leave the sport as a winner. “I have won my last fight,” he announced to the press.

After he stopped boxing, Jim Braddock remained friends with Joe Gould. And Braddock had a lot to thank his manager for.

When Gould had allowed Joe Louis to challenge Braddock for the title in 1937, he had demanded money from all Joe Louis’s heavyweight title fights for the next ten years if Louis won. Jim and Mae Braddock were never poor again. The couple lived in the same New Jersey house that they bought after Jim won the heavyweight title. Jim spent the rest of his life surrounded by friends and neighbors who admired and loved him.

Looking back, Jim Braddock said that, when Baer hit him with his best punch and Jim didn’t fall, he was “the happiest guy in the world.” The story of the Cinderella Man did have a happy ending.

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