"Happy?" Larry Holmes said. "No."
After dominating Muhammad Ali tonight to retain his heavyweight championship, Holmes said the greatest victory of his career "will make people know me all over the world."
But he wasn't happy that he made Ali a target for a stream of left jabs that left the 38-year-old three-time champion defenseless after 10 rounds.
"When you fight a friend," Holmes said, "and when you fight a man you call a brother, you do what you have to do. You can't get happiness out of that. I was in a no-win situation. All I got out of it was money."
When Ali did not answer the bell for the 11th round, Holmes had scored his eighth consecutive knockout in defense of his title. Ali, knocked out for the first time in his 60-fight career, sat still on the stool. Coming to Ali, Holmes said to the man he calls his idol, "I love you and I really respect you. You can come to may house anytime. And anytime you need me, I'll be there to help."
Now Ali should quit for good, Holmes said. "If I was Ali, I wouldn't fight again," the champion said.
"He proved something tonight. I feel he is one helluva fighter, one helluva athlete and a helluva man. He's the only man ever to go into the ring with a champ to win the title a fourth time. That's a helluva achievement."
Seven years ago, Holmes was Ali's sparring partner, a protege whom Ali always introduced as a future heaveyweight champion. Holmes didn't want to fight Ali because "I don't want to hurt the greatest fighter ever."
Holmes hurt him tonight. Ali never mounted any offense, save for an occasional long right hand in the early rounds that smacked of a desperate attempt to score a one-punch knockout over a good man eight years his junior.
Holmes, meanwhile, scored at will against an Ali who could not stop even the simplest punch. Holmes' jab easily found its way through Ali's peek-a-boo defense and the champion bludgeoned Ali with lefts and rights to the body.
Holmes was graceful in his victory press conference (Ali did not show up to answer questions and reportedly was taken back to his hotel suite).
Holmes said, "Anyone who laid off two years like Ali and came back to fight the baddest heavyweight there is, I take my hat off to him. It is an accomplishment to come back that way and give me a helluva fight.
Perhaps only a protege who humiliated his old mentor could say this was a good fight. It was one-sided from beginning to end, with Holmes the likely winner of every round. Holmes even admitted, "I pulled back in one whole round and didn't try to hurt him. Ali is still strong, but he never hurt me at all.
"Ali took my best shots. Most guys I hit as hard as I hit Ali wouldn't have stood up."
When someone suggested that Ali was a shell of his former self and did not belong in the right tonight, Holmes grew angry.
"Those people who say that can go jump in the lake, because they don't know anything. Let them jump in the right with the baddest heavyweight there is. Let them go through two solid months on training. All you do, all Ali and I did, was run and box every day for months. You sit in your room alone. No sex for months. You worry this guy is going to knock your head off.
"See if you can do it and not have a heart attack when you go into the ring to face that guy."
But Ali was paid $8 million to jump in, someone said.
"You might not live to spend it," Holmes snapped.
Holmes said he didn't think he would fight again this year.
"We don't know who's next," he said. "We'll take whatever happens. I'm in no hurry to fight anymore this year. We fought four times already."
Afterward, Holmes was one of the first visitors admitted to the suite where Ali went into semiseclusion.
A spokesman for the former champion said he was not hurt but did not want to discuss the fight immediately.
Trainer Angelo Dundee said he asked referee Richard Greene to stop the fight when Ali was completely ineffectual against the World Boxing Council champion.
"Dundee asked me to stop the fight before the bell rang," said Greene. "I would have done it anyway."
There appeared to be a hassle between Bundini Brown, who have been one of Ali's followers throughout his career, and Dundee.
"Bundini wanted the fight to go on," said Greene. "But Angelo asked me to stop it, saying, 'This is it.'"