“The Weeping Willow” or “The Weepin’ Willow” is a tale that combines elements of humor, boxing, and a unique character study within the gritty and competitive world of early 20th-century boxing. This story, told through the eyes of Monk Costigan, a boxing manager, introduces us to a boxer unlike any other, Ambrose Willow, whose peculiar trait of weeping during fights becomes both a tactical advantage and a spectacle for the audience.

It was submitted to Fight Story and Argosy but rejected.

This story not only provides a humorous and entertaining look at the boxing scene but also explores themes of human peculiarity, the spectacle of sports, and the unexpected ways in which individuals can achieve success. Willow’s condition, initially seen as a weakness, becomes his greatest asset, challenging the traditional expectations of what makes a successful athlete.


Monk Costigan, having managed seven non-champions, discovers Ambrose Willow, a boxer with the odd condition of bursting into tears the moment he starts boxing. This peculiar trait confounds Costigan and his associate, Joe Harper, but also intrigues them due to its potential as a draw for audiences looking for novelty in the boxing world. Despite Willow’s lackluster skills and his melancholic demeanor, Costigan sees potential in him as a box office attraction and takes him to New York for training and fights.

Willow’s career under Costigan begins with a fight against Leary, where Willow’s weeping disarms his opponent, leading to a knockout victory. The spectacle of Willow’s tears draws public interest, turning him into a sensation overnight. Yet, Costigan is aware of Willow’s limitations as a fighter and carefully selects his opponents to maintain his draw while avoiding too many losses.

A pivotal moment comes when Costigan and Tom Nelson, manager of Sailor Flynn, a promising boxer, are pressured by a promoter to have their fighters face off. Despite mutual reluctance due to Willow’s unusual fighting style, they agree to the match. In the ring, Flynn initially dominates, but the turning point comes when Costigan tells Willow a joke between rounds. The delayed reaction causes Willow to burst into laughter during the fight, startling Flynn and leading to his defeat.


  • Monk Costigan: The narrator and manager of Ambrose Willow, a savvy boxing manager who sees the potential in Willow’s unique condition as a draw for audiences.
  • Ambrose Willow (The Weeping Willow): A boxer with an abnormal condition that causes him to weep profusely when boxing. His melancholic demeanor and unusual fighting style make him a novelty in the boxing world.
  • Joe Harper: An associate of Costigan who provides insight into Willow’s condition and assists in managing him.
  • Leary: Willow’s first opponent under Costigan’s management, who is bewildered and defeated by Willow’s weeping.
  • Rourke: Another boxer who faces Willow. Despite dominating most of the fight, Rourke is unnerved by Willow’s tears and eventually loses.
  • Tom Nelson: Manager of Sailor Flynn, who is skeptical of Willow’s abilities and reluctant to match his fighter against Willow.
  • Sailor Flynn: A boxer with a promising future who is matched against Willow. Flynn’s initial dominance is overturned when Willow’s unexpected laughter, triggered by a delayed reaction to a joke, leads to Flynn’s defeat.

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