|"I'll take you."|
|— Paul to Darry during the rumble in The Outsiders, page 143|
He is described as a husky, blond man .
When Darry states that he would take on anyone, a blond man steps forward, and looks at him, while quietly greeting him. Darry greets him back, and Ponyboy hears Soda give a squeak, while realizing that the blonde is Paul Holden. It is noted that he was was considered to be the best halfback on Darry's football team, in high school, and he and Darry would usually buddy it around. Ponyboy guesses that Paul is a junior in college, and he looks at Darry with an expression Ponyboy can not place, but dislikes. He then wonders if his expression was contempt, pity, hatred, or all three. He also wonders why - which he guesses is because Darry stands representing all three of them, and Paul only felt contempt, pity, and hate for greasers. Darry is then noted to not have moved a muscle nor changed his expression, but can be seen by some that he despised Paul, not just of jealousy.
After some waiting, Paul states that he would take him, and something like a smile crosses Darry's face. Ponyboy knows that Darry can take Paul any time - but that was two to three years prior, and wonders if he was better now. Neither of his brothers were beaten in a fight, but he does not hope for someone to beat them. Paul and Darry then move counterclockwise in a circle under the light, and eye each other. They size each other up, and possibly remember old faults of theirs, wondering if they were still present. The rest wait with mounting tension, and Ponyboy is reminded of Jack London's books, but it is different, as the moment either Paul or Darry swing a punch, the rumble would begin.
Someone (Dallas) yells to hold up twice, and Darry turns to see who it is, but Paul swings a hard right to the jaw, which makes him almost fall, and therefore beginning the rumble.