Canadian middleweight champion Dan Sherry exited the ring gingerly but still unbeaten, having outlasted Rockville's Aaron Smith for an eight-round unanimous decision last night at the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza.

The bout that started with Sherry (17-0) dominating the opening rounds ended the same way. Smith (4-4) held his own through the middle rounds, but did not connect enough in the final two rounds to win.

Sherry is managed by six-time world champion Sugar Ray Leonard, who sat at ringside.

"I've got to be happy with the win, but I'm never entirely happy unless my opponent is totally devastated," Sherry said. "There's always a margin of improvement."

Smith staged a remarkable comeback in Round 3, withstanding an endless barrage of punches from Sherry, then, perched in a corner seemingly ready to hit the canvas, emerging with a sly smile.

Smith then attacked a tiring Sherry, stalking him around the ring as the crowd chanted "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!" in support. He was back with a vengeance, and he fed on the crowd's loud backing. He also used broad grins and other facial contortions and feigned windmill shots to tease and frustrate Sherry.

"He was smart enough when he caught to tie me up," Sherry said. "I just tried to settle down. I had him about four or five times."

Sherry recovered in the fifth and sixth rounds, ignoring the taunts and landing several solid blows that left Smith woozy, the action suddenly grinding to a halt.

Smith, saying only "I wasn't at my best tonight," had his injured right wrist taped afterward. He will have X-rays today.

The much-ballyhooed professional ring debut of Brian Raditz, a psychologist from Philadelphia, was not pretty, but Raditz, who manages top-ranked lightweight Tracy Spann, managed to score a knockout and win some fans.

The 36-year-old Raditz danced around for two rounds with Virginia Beach's Russell Woodson in their super middleweight bout, landing some wild but effective punches. At 2:05 of the third, he landed an artless combination that floored the paunchy Woodson, who took several minutes to recover.

It did not take long to move through the rest of the undercard, only one of the four bouts lasting past the second round.

Rockville super middleweight and crowd favorite Les Johnson (6-0) scored an impressive first-round knockout of far overmatched Jimmy Garrett (2-8-1). Washington junior middleweight William Tibbs (2-1) dominated Hyattsville's Eric Elliot (1-1), capturing a six-round unanimous decision.

Rockville lightweight Wilfredo de la Cruz (5-4-2) knocked down the District's Tony Bennett (1-3) four times in their fight, scoring a knockout at 1:59 of the second round. And Jason Waller of Stafford, Va., (5-1-1) pummeled South Carolina's Steve Gossett (4-3) repeatedly before finishing him with a hard right hook at 2:39 of the first.