Around sundown today, game little Rocky Ramon - the Texas Marathon Man - probably will be carried out of the Baltimore Civic Center boxing ring.
Even Sugar Ray Leonard, the man who plans to send him to dream land, thinks it's a pity.
"I met Rocky already," said undefeated Leonard. "He's a nice little dude."
"He says he wants to beat me so he can buy his wife a washer and dryer," Leonard said, grinning. "It's kind of a shame I'll have to put him through my spin-dry cycle."
The 5-foot-4 Ramon hauls appliances around San Antonio as a delivery man, but hereabouts the 5-9 1/2 Leonard is the master of rapid delivery.
"My punching's better all the time. Now everything counts," said Leonard, who enters this nationally televised (blacked out in Washington) eight-round welter weight bout with three straight knockouts.
"They used to say I couldn't hit. Now they say I'm sacrificing speed for power," said Leonard. "I got 'em where I want 'em. They can't make up their minds."
Leonard doesn't have much on his side in his seventh pro fight: only power, speed, height, weight, and the hometown.
Ramon, with his modest 21-11-1 record, has endurance.
"I've run 32 marathons," said the 25-year-old, ranked No. 10 among North American junior welterweights. "But what I'm even better at is running up towers."
Running up towers?
"I hold the record for running up The Tower of the Americans in San Antonio. It's 622 feet high."
Ramon's best marathon time is two hours, 40 minutes. He's done the 1,064 steps of the Tower in six minutes. "The promoters wanted me to run up the Washington Monument today," reported Ramon. "I told 'em, 'it may be kinda short by Texas standards, but I still got to fight tomorrow.' Besides, I didn't come here to run."
Ramon, who routinely does 10 miles of roadwork at 5 a.m. and another 10 at 5 p.m. after work, does all his running outside the ring.
His two fights with Freddie (Stepper) Harris last year, epitomizes his style.In the first bout Ramon was on the deck six times, then got up in the 10th to knock Harris stiffer than Phil.
Claiming a lucky punch, Harris asked for a rematch.
"The next time," says Ramon, "I hit him with a lot of unlucky punches. I nearly killed the poor guy."
So much for subtlety. Ramon plans to press Leonard like he's wearing a cheap suit.
"I weighted 136 1/2 last night," said Ramon, 'and he's 145. And he's much taller. That's a lot to make up. But he's never really been pressured.
"I wish the fight were 12 rounds I could wear him down. I'm in the best shape of my life.
"If it's necessary to die in the ring I'm ready."
To call this fight Ramon's chance of a lifetime would be an understatement. "My brother Blackie is my trainer. When he told me about this fight, I thought, 'Is this guy kidding me? I've been praying for a shot at Leonard."
After years against fighters of the caliber of Stepper Harris and Termite Watkins, Rosendo (Rocky) Ramon has suddenly hit national TV - Wide World of Sports on ABC-TV at 4 p.m.
"I never saw so many cameras and people as they had at that weigh-in today," Ramon said, laughing. "I thought the president of the United States had jut come in. Then I realized it was for me."