Despite appearances, Eddie Van Kirk won the fight and he was looking for a ride to the hospital to get his eyebrows reattached to his forehead.
Across the hall, while handlers were moaning about the split-decision loss, Edwin Curet was saying with a shrug, "I'm used to getting jobbed . . . and I see I have no underwear to wear out of here."
Lou Benson, who had been a knockout victim at the hand of Jason Walker seemingly days before, wondered what he was going to say to his wife: "I promised her I'd quit if I lost, but I don't know."
One of the men assigned by the Maryland State Athletic #F Commission as a judge failed to post, so the referees were pressed into service.
Once again, promoter and matchmaker Stu Satosky had too many fights and too many rounds and the show wasn't over until well after the 11 o'clock news had ended.
It was prior to the Les Johnson-Tim Knight debacle when one of the overhead lights exploded, showering the ring with shards of glass.
Other than that, it was a typical fight night at the Pikesville Armory last night (and this morning).
The Van Kirk-Curet match was the main event 10-rounder and, upon hearing about half the 1,600 in attendance boo the decision, Eddie said, "I'll take it any way I can get it against that guy. He's done everything but win a world title.
"Actually, I never did what I was supposed to do, what my corner wanted me to do -- jab, jab, then throw the right.
"Instead," Van Kirk, now 24-6, continued, "I was positioning myself to get to his body and he was trying to get in under me. NTC Our heads smacked a hundred times."
Curet (26-12) looked none the worse for wear afterward. Eddie had four stitchable cuts over, under and alongside his eyes.
Speaking of eyebrows, the judges' cards raised a few when the decision was announced. Larry Barrett had it 98-92 for Curet, who landed the heavier blows. Referee Carl Milligan also saw it 98-92, but for Van Kirk. The deciding vote was cast by Terry Moore, who favored Van Kirk, 97-95, "because, although he didn't hurt the other guy, he tried so hard and you have to get something for that."
Benson (17-10) had to call on every trick learned during 17 years in the ring against Walker (13-4), a big rawboned kid with sting in both mitts. He did a nice job, too, until clipped with a right under the left ear in the ninth round.
"I didn't see it and it made me lose my balance," he said. "I thought I could beat the count and I think I did. That's the first time I've ever failed to make it up by the count of 10.
"I was winded and tired from punching and at the same time
trying to avoid those bombs he was throwing. One minute I'm thinking I'm winning and I got a good fight lined up and the next I'm telling you guys I thought I beat the count. That's the way it goes in this game."
Walker, best described as a loosey-goosey type, strolled into the ring alone and actually had to recruit a second from ringside.
"I've got mental problems," he admitted. "That wasn't me out there. I'm out of shape and haven't been in the ring in eight days, but that happens quite often with me. I get mad at a manager and leave the gym and, in the end, the only one it hurts is me."
Johnson (16-1), who comes with a ready-made cheering section of 200 lusty supporters from Rockville, showed the usual strong body attack and a solid fight plan. He controlled the first half of the eight-rounder, but then he could never say goodnight to Knight (14-6).
"I think I won," said Johnson, "because I slipped a lot of his punches, and I had good diversity in my punches."
A clothes dryer could have handled the Van Kirk-Curet bout. It was rough and tumble all the way and the usual test of conditioning as all Van Kirk rumbles are. "I'm not even tired," said Eddie.
I= Good thing. He was up half the night getting attended to.