It was obvious that The Doc was going to win. It was just a matter of how long it would take.
It took 8 minutes, 5 seconds.
Halfway through the third round of the opening fight at the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza last night, Brian "Messin' With Your Mind" Raditz, the 36-year-old boxing psychologist from Philadelphia, knocked out Russell Woodson of Virginia Beach, thereby winning his debut -- and probably only -- professional fight.
There was a last-minute change in the four-round fight card. The story, according to fight promoter Don Elbaum, is that 24-year-old Lester Richardson, also of Virginia Beach and also making his pro debut, chickened out.
Either way, the replacement turned out to be an easy sacrifice to the ol' doc's ego. This was the first pro fight for Woodson, thirtyish, who hadn't fought at all in three years. Where Raditz was 6 feet 1 and 171 pounds, Woodson was 5 feet 5, 161 pounds. He was reeeal soft. The audience dubbed him "Jelly Belly."
When Raditz was done with him, he was a Jelly Head too.
Raditz looked fine in those royal blue silk shorts with white stripes. His opponent was wearing faded red sweat pants cut off at the knees.
The Doc was bopping around the ring like a jubilant 4-year-old. The Belly was a slug.
When the opening bell rang, Raditz came out as if his shorts were on fire. He was swinging from the left, jabbing with the right, and the Belly took each shot gratuitously. Then suddenly, the fight dropped down to 33 1/3 rpm. It was as if Raditz knew he had won and he wanted to savor every punch.
"Come on Doc! Take out the Jelly Belly!" yelled the mostly male crowd.
"Uppercut! Uppercut!" coached a couple of sportswriters.
"Hit him in the stomach, Doc!" shouted somebody else.
By the end of Round 2, Woodson was weaving around the ring with this sad puppy look.
Then Doc clocked Woodson with a left coming out of California. He followed it with a rapid firing of punches to Woodson's head. Pop! Pop! Pop!
The psychologist, who said just last Sunday, "I don't want to hurt my opponent," was hurting his opponent. And when Woodson crumbled to the canvas, barely two minutes into the third round, Raditz flashed the biggest and brightest smile Rockville's ever seen.
Then he jumped into a corny fighter's stance -- just to make sure the photographers got it.