"I don't know. But I'll find out."
Things did not start well Friday night. For the first preliminary the timekeeper set his round clock for 2½ minutes. There were no stools for the corners. And, worse yet, there weren't enough chairs for the New York State Athletic Commission to plop in front of the working press. But they made do. Then there was the bell, which sounded as if it had been borrowed from somebody's cow. But don't blame Buffalo. There hadn't been a title fight in that city in 34 years. Some things are hard to remember.
Duva went to bat first with Johnny Bumphus, whom he co-manages with Shelly Finkel. The 23-year-old Bumphus, who had a 22-0 record, had beaten Lorenzo Garcia to win Pryor's vacated WBA junior welterweight title last January, but he hadn't looked good doing it. He is 6 feet tall, and making the 140-pound limit has been taking too much out of him.
Duva evidently didn't think that Gene (Mad Dog) Hatcher would take much more out of Bumphus. And for the first 10 rounds the 24-year-old Hatcher, a crude, 5'8" brawler from Fort Worth with a 21-2 record, didn't take much. But when the bell barely tinkled to signal the end of the 10th round, Hatcher didn't hear it and kept punching. Angered, Bumphus began punching back. Referee Johnny LoBianco seemed lost. Finally Duva steamed into the ring and hauled Bumphus back to his corner.
Hatcher claimed Duva had hit him in the back during the postbell scuffle. Duva denied it, and a videotape replay from an angle different from that shown on television supported his contention. No matter. "It always takes something to get me going," said Mad Dog. "Usually it takes two rounds. Against Bumphus it took 10. I was really teed off after Duva hit me. I was ready."
Bumphus was anything but ready. When he started training for the fight in April he weighed 158 pounds. At 147—the welterweight limit, which is where he'll fight in the future—Bumphus was dazzling. But by the time he hit 140, six days before the Buffalo bout, he looked as if he had been a prisoner of war.
Before the 11th round, trainer Georgie Benton called out to Dan Duva, Lou's son, who co-promoted the card with Bob Arum. "How you got it scored?" Benton asked.
"No problem," said Dan. "He's so far ahead he can't lose."
Said Benton, "That's good, because his legs are gone. I'm going to try and drag it out."
The furious Mad Dog would have none of that. All night he had been trying to hit Bumphus with a wild right hand. But at 1:55 of the 11th round he succeeded in nailing the champion with a crisp left hook to the head, dropping him to the floor. Up at seven, Bumphus seemed disoriented.