The bell clanged and Ali sprang from the stool like he’d been shot out of a canon. He danced around the periphery of the ring and, even as the trespasser moved in for the kill, it was clear this was a different fighter. Ali peppered the great shadowed face with four piston-quick rights—holy-hell-and-sit-aside-momma shots. The last stunned the bastard, and Ali pounced. The creature covered up and Ali wormed his way underneath, jacking his fist up and up and up and up again, and then one final time, beneath the trespasser’s mitts, rocking him backward with each blow.
And now that hideous face was changing. Fleming squinted in the dim light. He leaned forward and saw, from the corner of his eye, that Scott and Carter were doing the same.
The trespasser threw a roundhouse and Ali ducked it. The great man spun clear and thundered a savage blow to the back of the creature’s head. A shower of black, viscous gelatin spackled the canvas floor, mixing there with Ali’s blood.
And now Ali roared! His bellow filled the gymnasium, and Fleming felt chills race down his back. Dundee shrieked encouragement from the corner, punching the air like a trader on Wall Street. The trespasser turned and stumbled across the ring, looking for refuge, but Ali stalked him, throwing punch after punch.