Glen Johnson and Antonio Tarver were joking about a unification bout. Roy Jones, considered by some the world's best pound-for-pound fighter, was in the back of an ambulance.
Johnson had just given Jones the beating of his life, putting his future in doubt. The underdog kept his IBF light heavyweight title by knocking out Jones in the ninth round Saturday night.
"I was never hurt," said Johnson, a Jamaican living in Miami. "I was working to find what I needed. I kept working the body. I keep chopping him down one point at a time until I found the right punch."
Now Johnson and Tarver, the Tampa resident who took the WBC title from Jones, are talking about a fight of their own. Johnson, 41-9-2 with 28 knockouts, said he is ready to fight anybody, including Tarver.
"We've got to sell tickets, brother," Tarver said with a loud laugh during Johnson's postfight news conference. "You've got to talk it up, baby. You can't get paid sitting up here being the nice guy. We've got to get this thing started."
Jones won titles at several classes, including the WBA heavyweight title in March 2003. He dropped weight quickly to fight Tarver in November, barely winning. In the May rematch, Tarver won with a second-round knockout.
"I want to see the man go on and enjoy his life after boxing," Tarver said. "We don't need to see Roy Jones go through the things he went through (Saturday), the things he went through on May 15."
Saturday, Johnson came out charging, and Jones began to draw boos by the seventh round. Johnson threw 437 punches to 270 for Jones, who spent most of the fight against the ropes or backing up.
Then Johnson landed the right-left that put Jones out. It took Jones almost four minutes to get on his feet. Finally, he walked out of the ring helped by his trainers. The trip to the hospital, his handlers said, was for a checkup and he was okay.
Ex-heavyweight champ wins in return bout
SHAWNEE, Okla. _ Riddick Bowe showed he could still punch in his first fight in eight years. He also believed he showed critics something else.
"They said crazy things like I was punchy," he said. "They're the ones who are punchy."
Saturday, Bowe knocked Marcus Rhode down four times before the fight was called at 2:45 of the second round. He stood in the ring afterward, trading barbs with reporters.
Bowe, who beat Evander Holyfield for the unified heavyweight title Nov. 13, 1992, then lost the rematch a year later, returned despite a brain a doctor testified was damaged by years of getting hit. But Bowe said he was miserable without boxing.
"I felt like a kid in a candy store," Bowe, 37, said of the fight. "This is something I've been craving for eight years."
Bowe could have problems getting licensed in states with strict commissions, but he plans to fight about once a month. He said he weighed 253 pounds Saturday but appeared about 30 pounds heavier.
But unlike after his last fight, Dec. 14, 1996, when he slurred his words after taking a beating from Andrew Golota, he spoke clearly.
"The uncrowned champion, that's me," Bowe said. "Once I get my swagger back, I'd like to fight them all."