When Margaret McGregor won her historic boxing match against Loi Chow, Dorothy Donahue threw her hands in the air and screamed.
"Oh God, she's great!" Donahue shouted over nearly 3,000 cheering fans at Seattle's Mercer Arena on Saturday night. "This is so exciting."
The crowd was in McGregor's corner nearly from the time she entered the arena to the tune of "It's a Man's World." The cheers echoed loudest when McGregor pummeled Chow, which was pretty often.
The McGregor-Chow bout may not have impressed boxing fans, but it made history and even changed some minds.
"I didn't think it was a good idea," admitted John Simpson, 25, of Seattle. But after seeing McGregor in the ring, he said he thinks it's a fine idea.
"She pretty much controlled the match," he said.
Lots of spectators were there for their first match, like Amanda Ryan, 21, of Seattle.
"I think it's exciting. It's history," Ryan said as she waited to buy sausages for her boyfriend and brother.
"If you train to be a boxer, you should fight other boxers whether they're men or women," she said.
Others in the near sellout crowd disagreed, with opinions splitting mostly along generational rather than gender lines.
"I think there are sports where women can compete equally with men, but I don't think boxing is one of them," said Sheila Wells, 46, of Renton.
Her fiance, Sherman Daniels, 46, agreed.
"I think it's not a good thing for boxing," he said. "Woman against man I'm not ready for that. Call me old-fashioned."
Across the country and the world, people have reacted to the male-female boxing match with a mix of fascination, excitement and dread.
Many boxing officials have decried the bout as a shameless sideshow that will hurt the sport. Rock Newman, who promotes heavyweight Riddick Bowe, reportedly offered both fighters $3,000 each not to fight double the $1,500 each will make from the match. They declined.
"It's a lot of money, but I want to fight," McGregor said the day before the match.
At the bout, some spectators predicted the fight could boost women's sports.
"It'll open the door for women," said Dan Barker, 24, of Seattle, who attended with his sister. As he spoke, the crowd whistled and hooted while the bikini-clad round-card girls stepped into the ring.
"At least they'll be getting a chance to compete in the main stage," he said.
McGregor, 36, is a landscaper from Bremerton, Wash., who started boxing about a year ago and won three matches in quick succession against women. She's now 4-0. Chow, 33, is a part-time jockey from Vancouver, British Columbia, with an 0-3 professional record who hadn't boxed for about three years before Saturday night.
Chow stepped in after the boxer he was training, Hector Morales, pulled out of the match. Many in the cowd pitied Chow's position.
"If you win, you beat up a girl, and if you lose. Either way, the guy's in a tough position," said Mike Pitlick, 25, of Auburn.
Reporters from a dozen countries covered the four-round fight, and a dozen television cameras recorded the event.
©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed
© 1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.