Hatcher came flying across the ring, launched a right, missed and fell. Bumphus tried to stagger away as Hatcher came growling off the floor. What happened next is anybody's guess, except that LoBianco stopped the fight at the right time for all the wrong reasons. With Hatcher once more on the attack, Bumphus grabbed him and was thrown down. Getting up, he grabbed Hatcher and held on. LoBianco jumped in and stopped it.
A moment later, Hatcher's wife, Lori, was standing on a set of steps leading into the ring, screaming, "We won! We won! I don't believe it! I don't believe it!"
It took three cops to keep Duva away from LoBianco, who was huddled in a neutral corner. Still angry, Duva then blasted into Bramble's dressing room.
"Come here, Daddy," Bramble said, kissing the bearish Duva on the cheek. "Don't worry, I'll get you another championship. I'll give the belt to you."
"You little doll," Duva said. "Kiss me on the lips."
Bramble scrambled away. "Get away from me. I'm supposed to be crazy. It's you who is crazy."
Bramble may be a nonconformist outside the ring, but he proved amazingly disciplined inside. "I just wish to hell he had a little fear," said Duva. "A little fear is healthy."
Mancini, who won the title two years ago, started his fifth defense, this one for a $1 million purse (to Bramble's $150,000), the way he started the other four, with a rush and with hooks from both sides. Bramble, his feet moving just enough to keep Mancini in front of him, met him straight up. The challenger's gloves were high and in close, his forearms straight down, the elbows positioned in tight.
"That's the way to fight a Mancini," Duva said. "He's a hooker. You stay in tight and let him whack from the outside while you shoot uppercuts at him because he's wide open."
In the first round Bramble, with either a hook or his head (referee Denkin ruled it a butt), ripped a cut over Mancini's right eye, which forced the champion to alter his plan to box his opponent. Mancini became desperate. He always sets a furious pace; now it was more furious than ever. He wanted to take Bramble out before the cut could take him out.