July 21, 1998 12:00 AM

Cocktails, not fisticuffs, were part of the scene at Wednesday’s New York premiere of “Girlfight,” the Sundance Film Festival’s winning movie about a teen Latina from Brooklyn who puts her fists to use as a prizefighter. In attendance were the film’s pugilistic star Michelle Rodriquez, Jaime Tirelli (who plays her trainer), costars Santiago Douglas and Ray Santiago, and director Karyn Kusama, as well as musician Lou Reed and his wife, performer Laurie Anderson. Asked whether or not he was forced to learn how to box for the film, Douglas told PEOPLE: “I had to know how to get my ass kicked, ’cause that’s what happened to me.” As for star Rodriguez, who was dressed to kill with a black cashmere scarf that did little to hide ample amounts of exposed flesh, she admitted, “Boxing is too competitive for me . . . I’m more of a chameleon.”

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