Intro to Morrissey vs. Poole

This post is an excerpt from the revised book Morrissey vs. Poole: Politics, Prizefighting and the Murder of Bill the Butcher.

 The hot air laid stagnant in the room as the man in the corner tried to sleep.  Giving up on the possibility of sleep, the “Troy Giant” pulled himself into a sitting position on the edge of the bed.  The throbbing pain on both sides of his rib cage told him to lie back down but the World Prizefighting Champion (American Prizefighting Champion, at least) was determined to stand.


John Morrissey Circa 1860

As he struggled to his feet and straightened out his six-foot frame, John Morrissey let out a heavy moan.  As he stood, the light in the room revealed the tapestry of burn marks across his bare back as he staggered to the window.  New York City was coming to life as Morrissey struggled to keep his feet.

As he turned back to his room, Morrissey caught a glimpse of himself in a small mirror.  After five days in bed, his eye was still swollen and disfigured.  The hole in his cheek had almost healed but it would have to be hidden by his beard for the rest of his life.  His lips presented a swollen cracked mess.

In all his years of prizefighting, Morrissey had never been beaten beyond recognition.  Morrissey had kept to his rooms for five days and refused to see his beloved Susan.  It would be at least another week before his eye was healed enough to finalize the wedding plans.

William Poole had made John Morrissey do something that no other man was ever able to do.  He made John Morrissey say, “Enough.”  And “Bill the Butcher” was going to pay.

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Morrissey vs Poole Paperback Cover

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