2196. All the wooers cried out that none would favor Irus or deal his opponent a foul blow. Straightway Odysseus girt up his rags. When his great arms and shoulders and thighs were seen, the wooers were amazed and Irus was frightened.
2197. He would have slipped away if Antinous had not
caught him and said to him, “You lubber, you! If you do not stand up
before this man I will have you flung on my ship and sent over to King
Echetus, who will cut off your nose and ears and give your flesh to his
dogs to eat.” He took hold of Irus and dragged him into the ring.
2198. The fighters faced each other. But Odysseus with
his hands upraised stood for long without striking, for he was pondering
if he should strike Irus a hard or a light blow. It seemed to him
better to strike him lightly, so that his strength should not be made a
matter for the wooers to note and wonder at.
2199. Irus struck first. He struck Odysseus on the shoulder. Then Odysseus aimed a blow at his neck, just below the ear, and the beggar fell to the ground, with the blood gushing from his mouth and nose.