The Rumble in DUMBO

Ex-Boxer vs. Impact Addict: An Opera

But the most intense fight of the evening, the only one that drew blood, was between two women, Tiffany "Make 'Em" Peay and Janet "Don't Get Me Started" Clancy. Peay won, but as our announcer said, "There are no losers." The Lincolns gave them a standing ovation.

As for that Lincoln-Booth rematch, Leslie explains that he regards Booth, an actor, as an early exemplar of terrorism as performance. "It's like 9-11. It's public. It's done in front of an audience." This time Booth (Will Keenan) shot Lincoln (Zero Boy) and leaped into the ring. Then Mary Todd (Karen Finley) tried to bandage the president's head, sirens sounded, and in rushed real firefighters to loud cheers. Ladder 12. Ladder 79. Engine 266. The President could be extracted, but not saved.

David Leslie cruises for a bruising from Gerry Cooney (left).
photo: Nelson Bakerman
David Leslie cruises for a bruising from Gerry Cooney (left).

Gerry Cooney was the only boxer who climbed into his corner that night unadorned. No robe. Just black shorts and a F.I.S.T. T-shirt. The back of Leslie's splendid blue robe said "Addict."

Leslie reported later that he took the most brutal shots in the first round. "He kind of put me in my place right from the get-go. I was on Queer Street." Leslie thought he had a concussion. Still, he asked Cooney to knock him out—while they were in a clinch, he said. For $500.

There weren't many clinches. Cooney appeared to be toying with the artist. He was six inches taller, 75 pounds heavier, with 13 years as a professional. "Five hundred dollars to knock him out. Can you believe that?" Cooney marveled a couple of days later. "I thought, 'Whoa, what is that about?' That's dangerous." Cooney loved the show. He couldn't believe some of the undercards. The Mangina? "Well, whatever floats your boat."

Cooney described Leslie as an amateur with a big heart. "I have too many skills for that kind of a guy," said the ex-fighter. "But it was very nice to be there with all those people and see a show like that. I want to be a part of that crowd."

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