1 JANUARY 1965, Page 20

Peerless Jim Driscoll

I saw Jim Driscoll fight in nineteen-ten. That takes you back a bit. You don't see men Like Driscoll any more. The breed's died out. There's no one fit to lace his boots about. All right, son. Have your laugh. You know it all. You think these mugs, today, that cuff and maul Their way through ten or fifteen threes can fight: They hardly know their left hand from their right. But Jim, he knew; he never slapped or swung, His left hand flickered like a cobra's tongue And when he followed with the old one-two Black lightning of those fists would dazzle you. By Jesus he could hit. I'Ve never seen A sweeter puncher: every blow as clean As silver. Peerless Jim, the papers called him, And yet he never swaggered, never bragged. I saw him once when he got properly tagged— A sucker punch from nowhere on the chin And he was hurt; but all he did was grin And nod as if to say, `I asked for that.' No one was ever more worth looking at Up there beneath the ache of arc-lamps: he Was just what we'd all like our sons to be Or like those gods you heard about at school ... Well, yes, I'm old, and maybe I'm a fool. I only saw him once outside the ring And I admit I found it disappointing: He looked just—I don't know—just ordinary, And smaller, too, than what I thought he'd be; An ordinary man, in fact, like you or me.