An extract from Mick Brown’s article ‘Rough Diamonds’:

“For an hour you could feel the tension winding up in the hall like tape on a spool, fuelled by lager and bravado, and at eight o’clock, when the lights went down, it was as if someone had hit the pause button. Plunged into momentary darkness, the hall held its collective breath.

‘Fighting’ Brian McCue, a small man in baggy shorts, the upper half of his body covered in tattoos, removed the gown embroidered with the words ‘Charlie’s Bar’, and rested against the ropes as if in a trance, while a little man in a black trilby hat jabbered kill-him stuff in his ear. 

McCue had travelled down from Blackpool that morning in a rented Ford Orion witli four friends. He is 32 years old, 5ft 4in, and was once, he tells you with some pride, the smallest professional heavyweight in Britain. 

This is in the past tense, not because anybody smaller has come along in the meantime, but because Brian is no longer professional. Nowadays he works as a nightclub doorman. in Blackpool. The money he will earn tonight is something extra. His opponent, Michael Taylor, 35, from Woolwich, south London, is a nightclub doorman too. He is also a scrap metal merchant, and sometime professional strip-o-gram (policemen and ‘Chippendales’ a speciality), who says he will fight ‘anyone, anywhere’ for the money. Michael is dead straight about this. ‘I ain’t that good a fighter, but I make it hard for those that are.’ “

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