It’s true that Kid Zug’s boxing skills were a shadow of what they had been 35 years earlier—and that his opponent, “Happy” Frey had a big-mouth—but for the boys in the village of Pescadero, a boxing match with world champ Abe Attell could not have brought them more excitement.
Details of the 1918 event remain sketchy but as the day of the fight drew near people came from all around.
When the moment finally arrived, the combatants entered the ring and the crowd was breathless. Kid Zug was stone-faced and silent. Happy Frey was clearly nervous and ringsiders wondered if either fighter was sober.
The referee spoke to them for a moment and signaled for the bell to start the fight.
Both boxers were tentative. Zug kept his hands high to protect his scarred face. Happy’s inexperience quickly presented an opening for the Kid who launched a solid right cross which staggered Happy and knocked out several of his teeth.
The fight was over.
Although the ending was unexpected, the stunned crowd seemed satisified with the outcome—especially those that had bet on the Kid.
Zug’s ability to strike so swiftly at his advanced age amazed everyone.
Pescaderans would never forget the short boxing match on San Gregorio Street.
But a year later, in the summer of 1919, a brutal murder occurred in Pescadero. It ws a seamy case involving the slaying of a wealthy, elderly widow—and all bets were that the people Zug worked for had something to do with it.
Around this time it was report4d that Zug fell ill with pneumonia. In Pescadero many villagers were coming down with the dreaded “Spanish” flu, the post-World War I influenza pandemic that took the lives of millions worldwide.
Some insiders suspected that Zug’s illness might have presented a perfect cover to get him out of town during the murder investigation.
For weeks the Kid was confined to a hospital room in San Mateo. As soon as he recovered, to everyone’s astonishment, Zug was back on the wooden sidewalks of Pescadero, intimidating and menacing.
Not long after returning to town, Zug faced real trouble. According to official court testimony and leaks to the local press, he was a major principle in an assault case. On a late Saturday night in September 1919 the lightweight pugilist was accused of badly beating 40-year-old Frank Goularte, the 190-pound son of the Pescadero blacksmith. In the melee, Goularte suffered two black eyes, a fractured nose and bruises on his face and head.
While he was being patched up, authorities questioned Frank Goularte.
….To be continued