"Go get him, Bruce!" Tom Logan, Curry's trainer, screamed from the corner. "He's the guy sitting in the second row. Press him. You've got to go get him."
Slowly, Curry pursued Benitez, occasionally banging to the body, pressing the fight, but not much. By the fifth round, Benitez began to realize he was in against a different Curry this time. The Puerto Rican became bolder, became once more the clever boxer who had taken the junior welterweight title from Antonio Cervantes of Colombia. Sliding swiftly in and out, Benitez hammered at Curry in short, sharp bursts: jabs, hooks, straight right hands. They came in a blur. He has astonishing hand speed.
Unhurt, but his strength fading rapidly, Curry husbanded his punches, saving what he had left for the one big punch that could end it. He almost found it—four seconds after the bell ended the seventh round.
With eight seconds to go in the round, which he had dominated, Benitez scored with a hard right to the head. Stung, Curry went at him with both hands, and Benitez met him with both hands. Toe-to-toe they pounded each other. The bell rang. Still they fought. Referee Tony Perez tried to move in between the fighters, and Benitez hooked him hard to the head, blackening his left eye. As Perez staggered back, Curry smashed a crushing hook to the right side of Benitez' head. The Puerto Rican's legs quivered. Benitez' corner was in an uproar.
Leaping into the ring, Benitez' assistant trainer, Jaran Manzanet, yelled back over his shoulder, "Get him. He's hurt. He's hurt."
Quickly his corner hustled Benitez to his stool, sat him down and went to work with ice water and smelling salts.
"He's hurt," Manzanet yelled again.
"I see that," snapped Gregorio. "I see that."
Benitez' recovery was amazing. "Curry has a big punch," he said afterward, "I have a bigger spirit." From the eighth round on, he said, seeing Curry with his right eye was like peeking through a keyhole. Somehow he saw enough of him to bloody his nose in the eighth round, and he finished strongly to win the final two rounds.
Later, Curry stopped by Teddy Brenner's office to pick up a $1,000 check to get his group home to California. On the way out, Reid cashed the check at the Garden box office, collecting 10 $100 bills. The next morning it was discovered one of the bills was counterfeit.