It was of little help to Marvis that the fighters' dressing rooms were separated only by a thin wall. Holmes listened intently to the noise coming from the other room: "Woof. Woof. Holmes is going to fall. What time is it? It's KO time." Then there was a chorus of imitated barking.
Holmes looked at his lawyer. Charles Spaziani. "Get the mitts." he growled. "I want to get it ready."
Spaziani put on two catcher-size mitts and held them up. Quickly, Holmes slammed home four hard right hands.
"It's ready." he said.
Early in the first round, Frazier dropped his hands and mocked Holmes, at which point the 6'3" Holmes grabbed the 6'1" Frazier high on both shoulders, picked him up and hurled him against the ropes. "I just wanted to teach him sonic respect." Holmes said later.
Just past the two-minute mark. Holmes fired a jab and crossed with a crackling right that caught Frazier flush in the face. The challenger fell on the seal of his bizarre green and gold-threaded Bermuda shorts-like trunks. He was up at the count of eight, and a moment later Holmes was on hint, driving him back into his own corner.
Holmes battered him with right hands, and then after each of three rights he motioned for Referee Mills Lane to stop the fight. Lane stayed put, and Holmes said to himself, "The hell with it." He hurled six more thunderous rights, and then, just as Lane moved in to stop it at the 2:57 mark, he fired a left hook to the body.
The following morning, Holmes, his anger abated, said he was now in a state of semiretirement. "One more fight." he said, ignoring a mandatory defense against Greg Page, for which he has already signed a contract. " Gerrie Coetzee [the WBA champion from South Africa]. For $100 million, and every minute they wait the price is going up. I'll fight him anyplace. For $100,000,027,54. I'll even fight him in his house. For $100,000,068,21."
Then he turned to Marvis, who was sitting nearby. "And don't you be in a hurry." he said kindly. "Do what I did: wait for everybody to get old. I waited for your dad to retire, and for Ali to get old. Then I made my move. All you got to do is be patient like I was."
Smokin' Joe nodded. "That sounds like good advice from the champ." he said. He's learning.