SAN ANTONIO - His face was swollen and the crowd of 10,000 fans that at first chanted his name let out a smattering of frustrated boos when he didn't get a knockout.
Still, Evander Holyfield felt good. And perhaps a bit relieved.
He had won a tough fight, a long, 12-round unanimous decision over Fres Oquendo. The 44-year-old looked a bit slow and didn't have lights-out power the few times he did connect.
But a win is a win, and this one was another step in the former champion's comeback quest for another heavyweight title.
"I bring my heart and soul every time," Holyfield said after he outlasted Oquendo on Friday night in a slim decision. The judges scored the fight 116-111, 114-113 and 114-113.
"My goal is to be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world," Holyfield said. "This whole world would be successful if everybody stopped quitting. But everybody has this thing of, 'Oh, you can't do it.' You know, misery loves company."
Holyfield is billing this comeback as "Holyfield V: The Final Chapter."
He won his second bout on his climb back into the heavyweight title picture.
The first win came against overmatched insurance salesman Jeremy Bates in Dallas in August.
Oquendo, a tough fighter and much younger than Holyfield at 33, figured to be a stiffer challenge.
He was, although the Puerto Rican seemed willing to let the former champ take the fight to him for much of the night and couldn't bring a decisive blow. Even so, he still managed to tag Holyfield repeatedly.
Oquendo got in enough punches that he thought he had won the fight and stormed out of the ring after the decision.
"It was robbery," Oquendo said. "He's a veteran. A warrior. But I was superior."
"I knocked him down early, but he didn't take a chance after that," Holyfield said, referring to the hard right-hand shot to the temple that floored Oquendo in the first round. "I came to fight. He didn't."
Holyfield won his 50th professional fight, raising his record to 40-8-2 with 26 knockouts.
Holyfield dismissed critics who have said he's too old and slow to be pursuing such a dangerous game.
"I don't have to say nothing to them people," Holyfield said.