Lonnie Smith knocked down Billy Costello five times, took away his World Boxing Council super lightweight championship with an eighth-round knockout and apparently sent him into retirement.

Not long after the fight at New York's Madison Square Garden ended with Costello face down and the referee not even bothering to count, the beaten champion said, "I had no excuses . . . I tried hard. This was my last fight. I retire." Then he cried.

An announced crowd of 3,847, believed the smallest ever for a title fight ever in the main Garden, saw Smith (22-0-1) of Denver mix dancing with power to befuddle Costello, who lost for the first time after 30 victories. It was over at 2:31 of the eighth. Each weighed in at 138 1/2 pounds, 1 1/2 under limit.

Despite having been knocked down three times before the eighth round, Costello was ahead on two of the three official cards after the seventh. He floored Smith in the first round.

Earlier on the card, Wilfred Benitez, a former triple world champion, rose from a first-round knockdown to give previously unbeaten middleweight Kevin Moley a boxing lesson and win a unanimous 10-round decision.