In one corner an aggressive panhandler. In the other a disabled, wheelchair-bound Vietnam veteran who turned out not to be the underdog.
When the two met up five days ago in northeast Albuquerque the attacker became the attacked.
Gary Gould said the attempted mugging had him fighting for his life reminding him of what it was like fighting for his life in Vietnam.
“I can’t walk; I’m paralyzed,” he told KRQE News 13 today. “I got blown up in Vietnam.
“I’ve been in a chair for 38 years.”
Gould, 58, is safe at home now miles away from the Billiard Palace where he took a break from playing pool last Thursday. He said he went out back to smoke a cigarette when a man approached him asking for money.
“He put his hand out like this,” Gould said. “I said, ‘I don’t have any money. Get out of my face, man.'”
Melvin Romero should have listened he didn’t. Instead he then demanded money and repeatedly stabbed Gould with a pair of scissors, according to a criminal complaint.
Gould has some marks and bruises now, but Romero’s the one who ended up hurt the most.
“When he stabbed me, I grabbed him, and I wrestled him to the ground,” Gould said. “Every time he kept trying to get back up, I had to knock him back down.
“They transported him, and I heard he lost a pint of blood.”
Romero wasn’t booked into jail until Monday four days after the attack because that’s how long it took him to recover in the hospital.