With young Riddick Bowe Jr. bouncing lightly in his lap, dad fielded questions jovially after his eighth-round technical knockout of Pinklon Thomas Friday night. Bowe Sr. teased his handlers, chided reporters, lauded his fallen opponent, and spoke of the future.

Bowe (19-0, 17 KOs) did not score the explosive early round knockout many expected, and at times through the middle rounds looked lost in the ring. But when he did connect, he hit hard, sending Thomas reeling -- though never down.

"Pinklon definitely brought out the best in me tonight," Bowe said. "He was in great shape, but he got frustrated."

At one point, Bowe revealed, Thomas did inflict some pain, thumbing the former Olympic silver medalist in the right eye. "I was seeing three guys," he said. "Papa Smurf {trainer Eddie Futch} said to just hit the one in the middle."

To his credit, Thomas did manage to absorb all Bowe had to offer -- an arsenal that included several potent left-right combinations, the hardest coming in the third and eighth rounds.

Bowe's major weakness was a seeming unwillingness to put Thomas away. He would attack, connect with several blows, and then mysteriously withdraw just as one more punch appeared ready to send Thomas to the canvas.

Nevertheless, Bowe's own future looks bright.

"I'm hoping you guys {the press} won't say anymore that I'm lazy," Bowe said. "The crowd certainly didn't think Thomas was washed up, otherwise they wouldn't have come out."

Promoter Rock Newman was delighted with the crowd. Over 3,500 filled the UDC Physical Activities Center, prompting the D.C. fire marshal to order the doors shut at about 9 p.m., leaving dozens of ticketholders outside.