In the end, boxing champion Michael Katsidis only provided eight minutes or so of action in his long-awaited return to Australia.
But no one was complaining after witnessing a rare sight following his brutal knockout win over Mexican junior welterweight Michael Lozada on the Gold Coast last week.
That rarity was Katsidis smiling.
Indeed few would have begrudged Katsidis an easy night after a difficult 10 months since the tragic death of his brother, champion jockey Stathi.
Katsidis, 30, left Lozada wheezing on all fours after the 10-round fight was stopped 2minutes:18 seconds into the third…and quickly had Cuban Joel Casamayor in his sights.
It marked a triumphant return for Toowoomba-bred Katsidis (28-4 record, 23 KOs) in his first fight in Australia in five years.
And his barrage of body shots that dropped Lozada (38-9-1, 30 KOs) erased any doubts the two-time WBO interim lightweight champion would lose any power stepping up a division.
But there was another…more personal…reason a victorious Katsidis was beaming as the Gold Coast crowd chanted his name.
Katsidis said he could finally move on after Stathi’s death.
He refused to postpone last November’s fight with WBA and WBO lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez, held just weeks after his brother’s death.
Katsidis not only lost to Marquez despite flooring the superstar early, but also his next world title fight to American Robert Guerrero in April.
‘I had Marquez flat on his back only three weeks after Stathi was gone, now I am back and I have dealt with that better,’ Katsidis said.
‘More time has passed and that is going to contribute to my performances I believe.’
Katsidis’ manager Brendon Smith provided a rare insight into the demons his star charge had been battling.
‘It was great to see him relaxed…he was enjoying himself out there,’ Smith said.
‘We don’t make excuses but everyone knows exactly what happened…and it has been really difficult.
‘We’ve been struggling and we have worked through it.’
Katsidis said he had made a ‘statement’ with the knockout win and would again scour the world for his next fight, with the likes of Mexican superstar Erik Morales and British gun Amir Khan on his list.
But Smith said Casamayor, who inflicted Katsidis’ first loss in 2008, was a high priority…and he wanted it Down Under.
‘One that burns is Joel Casamayor…that’s one I would like to happen and I would like to bring Joel back right here in our backyard,’ he said.
Whether he remained at junior welterweight or returned to lightweight, Katsidis said he was ready to again trouble the world’s best.
‘I am sure there are people in England and America who were paying close attention to that fight,’ he said.
‘I held my own. There was not much difference from being at lightweight.
‘I am prepared to go to any lengths for the next fight.
‘This is my job. I will do whatever it takes.’
by Buford Balony