Twenty two Socs show up for the rumble; there are only twenty Greasers, but they manage to win this battle in the turf war. The opening punches are thrown by Darry and his friend from high school, Paul Holden, who had also been his teammate when the two played football together. This was an irony Hinton developed to complicate the story; Darry had actually been a Soc at one time, with a promising football and academic career. The death of the Curtis brothers' parents had caused Darry to either see himself and his brothers separated into foster homes, or alternately, he could go to work to earn a living to keep the family together. He chose the latter, working hard in construction and transferring his hopes for the future to Ponyboy.
In the novel The Outsiders, twenty-two Socs square off against twenty Greasers in the big rumble. While Darry is staring down Paul Holden and getting ready to begin the rumble, Dally yells, "Hold up!" out of nowhere. Darry turns to look, and Paul punches him in the jaw, and the melee begins. With Dally's arrival, there are now twenty-one Greasers fighting against twenty-two Socs. Throughout the rumble, Pony gets pinned down by a Soc until Darry punches the Soc off of Ponyboy's chest. Ponyboy attempts to help Dally during the fight until he is kicked in the head by another Soc. The greasers end up defeating the Socs in the rumble, and Dally immediately tells Ponyboy to come with him to the hospital to see Johnny. While they are visiting Johnny for the last time, Dally tells him that they just beat the Socs in the rumble. Johnny says, "Useless...fighting's no good.." (Hinton 148)
22 Socs vs 20 Greasers.