"But he won, Mr. Donatelli," said Henry. "Alfred won." "That's not enough."
At the end of chapter 14, Alfred wins his first fight. The fight itself is ugly, and the crowd boos the action; but Alfred wins. Mr. Donatelli immediately zeroes in on the fact that winning is not the most important thing about this match and also that Alfred does not have a killer instinct. Donatelli knows that while Alfred fought his best, Alfred fought because he had to, not because he wanted to. Mr. Donatelli first realizes that Alfred is not cut out to be a boxer at the end of his first fight because Alfred did not enjoy the actual sport of boxing, nor did he enjoy winning. This tells Mr. Donatelli something crucial about Alfred, something that limits his boxing potential, but makes Mr. Donatelli appreciate him more.