In Round 2 the crowd began yelling "�Qu� lo mate!"—"Kill him!" The angelic assassin needed no encouragement. Haugen's nose began to swell, and lumps formed around both eyes. Just when it seemed that one more punch would end the fight, Ch�vez appeared to back off. Later he would say he had not.
No matter. The punishment continued; Ch�vez piled pain upon hurt. Midway through the fifth round a furious six-punch combination dropped Haugen to a knee. Badly hurt, he was up at eight and willing to go on. Ch�vez moved in, a deer-hound chasing down a wounded stag. He fired off 23 more hard shots before referee Joe Cortez wisely stepped in and stopped the fight.
A moment later Ch�vez said to Haugen, "Now you know I don't fight with taxi drivers."
Haugen, blood dripping from his nose, grinned at his conqueror. "They must have been tough taxi drivers," he said, and the two men embraced.
That done, Ch�vez encountered Norris at a postfight press conference presided over by promoter Don King, who artfully ducked the question of exactly when the world might find out which of the two is indeed the best pound-for-pound fighter.
" Ch�vez demanded two things," said Goossen to reporters. "He wanted Terry to come down to 147 pounds, and he wanted $10 million. We said yes to both. So let's get it on." Then he turned to Ch�vez. "What about it, Julio?"
The fire came back to Ch�vez's eyes. "I'm not afraid of Terry Norris," he said. "Put the contract in front of me, put up the $10 million, and we'll fight."
All eyes turned to King, who is Ch�vez's promoter. "Why do you keep calling 'Don'?" said King, gesturing toward Goossen. "He's the one shooting off his mouth." Then King introduced another of his fighters, Julian Jackson, the WBC middleweight champ who knocked out Norris in 1989. "Let Terry fight Julian, then the winner can fight Julio."
Chaos ensued. Charges of cowardice were tossed about: Jackson at Norris, Norris at Ch�vez, Ch�vez at Norris, Goossen at King, King at Goossen and Norris. Later that evening King would say, "A Ch�vez-Norris fight will never happen. That would be like throwing [ Ch�vez] to the wolves." But at the press conference he was still playing the game, scoffing at the notion that anyone would be silly enough to negotiate multimillion-dollar fight deals in public.
In the middle of the shouting, Haugen got up and quietly walked out. No one noticed that he had left.