Back at the apartment after the fight, Aunt Pearl shows concern over Alfred's injuries but reveals that she, too, had a dream when she was seventeen — to join the chorus at the Apollo Theater — but her mother would not allow it. She doesn't necessarily regret the way her life turned out (she has no idea if anything might have come of the singing opportunity), but she regrets not having the chance to try. Alfred's first fight is nothing glamorous. He doesn't even know who his opponent will be until a few minutes before the contest. As Bud says, "[It] ain't Madison Square Garden." In the Donatelli code, however, every fight is important. An ex-Marine named Elston Hubbard opens the card impressively, knocking out his opponent in one minute, twenty seconds and foreshadowing a key event later in the novel. He is mature, strong, and confident. Even Bud is impressed.
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