Antonio is seventeen years old and is Felix’s best friend. Like Felix, Antonio is a great boxer who loves to train. He and Felix both have a dream of becoming world-famous boxing champions. Antonio is described as ‘‘fair, lean, and lanky,’’ with hair that falls over his eyes. He has avoided all the negative influences of his neighborhood, such as gangs and drugs, and is instead focused on boxing. Not only does he train himself as an athlete, but he reads about boxing and boxers, and he really knows the sport. As a boxer, he has proven himself over and over in competition, and he has a fan base in his community. He is known for his excellent boxing skills and ability to use his speed and height in a match.
The most important relationship for Antonio is his friendship with Felix. No other friends or family are mentioned in the story, and he is careful to preserve this important relationship. Felix helps him stay focused on boxing, which is productive and good for him. When Felix suggests they train separately for the fight, Antonio readily agrees. He understands that Felix is right, although he has a little harder time making the break. When they agree to train apart from each other, Antonio is ready to finish their run together, but Felix says they should go ahead and split apart right then until after the fight. Also, when they are at the junior high getting ready for the fight, Antonio thinks he sees Felix waving at him, so he waves back. Whether or not it was wishful thinking, the reader does not know, but Antonio’s reaction shows a deep desire to see his friend again. He wants to train hard, be completely ready, and do the compassionate thing by knocking out Felix right away in the first round. When they do meet, Antonio fights as hard as Felix does, and they both take and deliver a lot of hard hits. When the match is over and the bell rings for the last time, however, they immediately stop being boxers and leave together as amigo brothers. Antonio’s friendship with Felix is far more important than knowing who won the fight.
Felix is seventeen years old, and is Antonio’s best friend. He and Antonio are both boxers who take their sport seriously and love to train to become better. Felix is described as ‘‘dark, short, and husky,’’ with his hair in an Afro. Like Antonio, he dreams of becoming a boxing world champion someday and has chosen boxing over gangs and other negative elements in his community. He studies the sport, reading boxing magazines and knowing all the boxers’ stats. He trains hard as an athlete, and he has a fan base as a result of his many wins in competition. He is known for his powerful hits, so his boxing strategy is to get in close to his opponent and start slugging.
Felix’s relationship with Antonio is extremely important to him, as they have been friends since childhood. Antonio is like a brother to Felix, who helps Felix stay out of trouble and focused on positive things like boxing. It is Felix who initiates the conversation about training separately for the match so that he and Antonio can separate their friendship from the work they must do. The night before the fight, Felix goes to see a movie about boxing and imagines himself and Antonio as the main characters. This demonstrates that even when he tries to distract himself from the fact that he will have to fight his best friend, his loyalty to his friend is always present. He wants to win, but he wants to do it by knocking his friend out quickly and cleanly in the first round. In the end, he leaves the match with Antonio without even hearing who won. He had missed his friend, and being the amigo brothers is more important than which champion won the title.
Sara Constantakis, Thomas E. Barden – Short Stories for Students – Presenting Analysis, Context & Criticism on Commonly Studied Short Stories, vol. 28 (2010) – Piri Thomas – Published by Gale Cengage Learning.