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Riddick Bowe


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Riddick Lamont Bowe (born August 10, 1967, Brooklyn, New York City) is an American boxer. He is a two time World Heavyweight champion and former undisputed heavyweight champion. He is best remembered for his trilogy of fights with Evander Holyfield and two brutal bouts with Andrew Golota. Bowe's only professional defeat came by a majority decision loss to Holyfield.

Bowe was born on August 10, 1967, the twelfth of his mother Dorothy Bowe's thirteen children.He was born and raised in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, which at the time was one of New York City's most infamous slums. His brother Henry died of AIDS and in 1988 his sister Brenda was stabbed to death by a drug addict during an attempted robbery.

Amateur boxing career

As an amateur, Bowe won the prestigious New York Golden Gloves championship among other tournaments, (in 1984 at the age of 17 he knocked out opponent James Smith in just 4 seconds) and in the 1985 National Golden Gloves championship he lost to Ft. Worth Lt. Hvy. wt. Donald Stephens, and he also won the silver medal in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, stopped in 2 rounds by Lennox Lewis.

Amateur highlights

Amateur Record: 104-18

1983 at United States Junior Championships, as a Middleweight, lost to Adolpho Washington by 2nd round TKO

1985 Junior World Champion as a Light Heavyweight, in competition in Bucharest. Defeated Péter Hart of Hungary in final.

1987 Heavyweight Bronze Medalist at Pan-American Games in Indianapolis. Lost to Jorge Luis Gonzalez on points

1988 Super Heavyweight Silver Medalist at 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. Results were:

Defeated Biko Botowamungu (Zaire, Congo) KO 2

Defeated Peter Hrivnak (Czechoslovakia) TKO 1

Defeated Alex Miroshnichenko (Soviet Union) points

Lost to Lennox Lewis (Canada) TKO by 2

New York Golden Gloves Champion

Riddick Bowe won four New York Golden Gloves Championships. Bowe won the 1985 178 lb Novice Championship, 1986 178 lb Open Championship and the 1987 and 1988 Super Heavyweight Open Championship. Bowe trained at the Bed-Stuy BA.

Professional career

Bowe turned pro after his Olympic loss however, his heart and dedication were brought into question. However, highly regarded trainer Eddie Futch took on the job of developing Bowe as he saw the talent. Eddie would say that Riddick had more potential than any boxer he had ever trained.

Bowe turned pro in March 1989, knocking out novice (but future #1 contender) Lionel Butler. His manager Rock Newman kept Bowe active, fighting 13 times in 1989, beating journeymen, the most notable being Garing Lane, whom he beat twice. In September 1990 he made his first step up in class, fighting faded ex-champ Pinklon Thomas, who he dominated until Thomas was pulled out after 8 rounds. The following month he knocked out the Bert Cooper in two rounds, which added to his reputation and high ranking. By the end of 1990 he had fought 8 times.

In March 1991 he overcame some rocky opening rounds to knock out the 1984 Olympic Super-Heavyweight Gold medallist Tyrell Biggs. However his image suffered when in his next fight, slick boxing ex-champ Tony Tubbs, whose own career had suffered with drugs and weight issues, appeared to outbox and outsmart Bowe, only to have the judges award Bowe with a unanimous decision that was jeered loudly by the crowd. In August 1991 he knocked out future champ Bruce Seldon in one round, and in July 1992 fought Pierre Coetzer in an eliminator, knocking out the durable South African in 7 rounds.

Fights against Elijah Tillery

Bowe fought a duo of interesting bouts against journeyman Elijah Tillery in 1991. Their first fight is known for its bizarre conclusion. Bowe dominated the first round and dropped Tillery. After the round ended, Tillery walked toward Bowe and taunted him, and Bowe responded by punching Tillery. Tillery then landed several kicks on Bowe, and Bowe then unleashed a flurry of punches on Tillery as Tillery lay on the ropes. Bowe's trainer, Rock Newman, then grabbed Tillery and pulled him over the ropes as Bowe continued to throw punches. Tillery somersaulted over the ropes and was quickly detained by security. After order was restored and the fighters returned to the ring, Tillery and Bowe continued a war of words, and there continued to be minor incidents as the ring was cleared. Tillery was disqualified for the fracas with Bowe getting the win, much to the surprise of the television announcers.

The fighters rematched two months later, with Bowe dominating and TKO'ing Tillery, dealing Tillery his first TKO loss.

World title

In November 1992 he fought reigning champ Evander Holyfield for the undisputed title. With his heart and dedication still in question, Bowe won a unanimous decision in an entertaining fight, even flooring Holyfield in the 11th. However, it was the 10th round that most boxing fans will remember. The epic and brutal back and forth exchanges helped make it Ring Magazine's "Round of the Year". Commentator Al Bernstein exclaimed, "That was one of the best heavyweight rounds ever!"

Only a couple of weeks earlier in London, Bowe's old Olympic rival Lennox Lewis knocked out Canadian Donovan "Razor" Ruddock in 2 rounds, establishing himself as the WBC's #1 contender. The Bowe/Holyfield and Lewis/Ruddock fights were part of a mini-tournament where all 4 fighters agreed that the two winners would meet each other for the championship. Bowe's manager Rock Newman made a proposal that the $32million purse HBO were offering be split 90-10 in Bowe's favor, an "absurd" offer which Lewis rejected. Lewis's manager Frank Maloney rejected another offer of $2million for Lewis to fight on a Bowe undercard, citing his distrust of the Bowe camp after the aforementioned negotiations. So in a move that would hurt Bowe's image he held a press conference in which he dumped the WBC belt in a bin rather than fight Lewis. The famous trash can incident did little to denigrate Lennox Lewis or the WBC as he had hoped it would.

In February 1993 Bowe defended the title against the 34 year old ex-champ Michael Dokes, whom he knocked out in 1 round. On the undercard Olympic heavyweight gold medallist Ray Mercer blew his proposed world title challenge to Bowe as ex-contender Jesse Ferguson outpointed him. In May 1993 Ferguson was granted Mercer's shot, however was knocked out in 2 rounds.

In the rematch with Holyfield, Bowe looked overweight. He had entered training camp at a 286 lbs, and weighed in at 246 lbs, eleven pounds heavier than in the first fight with Holyfield.

Bowe and Holyfield exchanged hard punches, but Bowe ended up losing the belt to Holyfield by a majority decision. This fight was also known for a bizarre stunt in which parachutist James "Fan Man" Miller dropped into the open air arena, landing in the ropes by Bowe's corner. This surreal scene delayed the fight in the 7th round.

After title loss

In 1994 two comeback fights were not overly impressive, in August he faced the much smaller Buster Mathis Jr, and after struggling to connect with his bobbing and weaving target, hit him illegally while he was down, knocking him out yet escaping with a 'No Contest' verdict thanks to referee Arthur Mercante Sr.

In December 1994 he punched Larry Donald at a press conference, before outpointing the 1992 Olympian, giving the 16-0 Donald his first loss.

WBO title and Holyfield rubbermatch

In March 1995 Bowe picked up the less regarded WBO belt by knocking down England's Herbie Hide some 6 times en route to a 6th round KO.

In June 1995, after a heated build up, he defended the title against his hated arch rival in the amateurs, Jorge Luis Gonzales in Las Vegas. The build-up contained bizarre trash-talk which included Gonzalez declaring a desire to eat Bowe's heart and liking himself to a lion to Bowe's hyena. Bowe won by sixth round knockout. He vacated the WBO championship soon after.

After the Gonzales fight, Bowe had his highly anticipated rubbermatch against Evander Holyfield. Holyfield knocked Bowe down with a single left hook but Bowe prevailed, by a knockout in eight.

Bowe vs. Golota

After his rubbermatch with Holyfield, Bowe was matched up against the undefeated heavyweight contender Andrew Golota at the Madison Square Garden, on an HBO Boxing event. Bowe's weight problem again resurfaced, as the favorite entered the ring at a career high of 252 lbs. Though ahead on points, Golota was disqualified in the seventh round after Bowe went down from being repeatedly punched in the testicles. What ensued was a dramatic riot that left a large number of spectators and policemen injured, including Golota himself, who was hit by a Bowe entourage man's two-way radio and required 11 stitches to close a cut on his head. Golota's trainer, Lou Duva, who has a heart condition, was taken to a doctor as a precaution.

The fight made many sports shows, including SportsCenter, and there was a good amount of public interest in a rematch. The rematch was on Pay Per View and Golota, after dropping Bowe in the second round and being dropped himself later, was leading on the scorecards only to be disqualified in the ninth round, once again for repeatedly punching Bowe in the testicles. Despite not having another riot, this fight also proved to be controversial and a protest was filed by Golota's camp to try to overturn the fight's result. The two Bowe fights earned Golota the derisive nickname Foul Pole.

This fight was featured on HBO's documentary Legendary Nights The Tale of Bowe Golota

Joining the Marine Corps

After the Golota fights, Bowe retired from boxing and decided to join the United States Marine Corps Reserve. He said he made the decision both to make his mother proud and to re-dedicate himself to training, with the intention of returning to boxing shortly after. On his first day of recruit training, however, Bowe discussed leaving the Corps with Marine commanders, and quit after just 11 days of training at the recruit depot at Parris Island, South Carolina. The Marine Corps has been criticized for compromising their traditional recruiting measures and accommodating Bowe's request.

Legal troubles

Following Bowe's failure to become a Marine, his life was marred with legal incidents. Three months after leaving Marine Boot Camp he was accused of battering his sister. Three months after that, assault and battery on his wife. Bowe then was convicted of kidnapping his wife and children after Bowe went to his wife's Charlotte, North Carolina home and threatened her with a knife, handcuffs, duct tape and pepper spray. He forced her and their children into a vehicle and set out for his Fort Washington, Maryland, home. Bowe was initially sentenced to only 30 days as a result of a lenient sentence due to brain damage claimed by Bowe's defense. Indeed, tapes of Bowe talking before and after his brutal fights with Golota show a man with very slurred speech. This sentence was later overturned and Bowe served 17 months in federal prison.

In 2001, Bowe was arrested in Long Island after a domestic dispute with his wife. Bowe allegedly dragged his wife and left her with cuts on her knees and elbows.

Return to boxing

On September 25, 2004, after seven and a half years away from boxing, Bowe returned with a second round knockout over Marcus Rhode. In a second comeback fight, in April 2005, Bowe narrowly defeated journeyman Billy Zumbrun, in a fight in which Bowe was badly overweight and absorbed many heavy blows from Zumbrun.

Mr. Bowe declared bankruptcy in 2005. In July 2008, Boxrec.com reported that Bowe might return to the ring after three years on September 12, 2008 in Győr, Hungary against Hungarian journeyman Zoltán Petrányi. But he didn't show up for the fight.

With the help of manager Bob Bain, on December 13, 2008, 41-year old Bowe returned to the ring for the first time in over three and a half years on the undercard of the Wladimir Klitschko-Hasim Rahman heavyweight title bout in Mannheim, Germany. He won eight round decision over challenger Gene Pukall.

His current boxing record stands at 43-1 with 33 wins by way of knock-out. “No matter what, God is on my side,” Bowe said. “I’m not perfect, but I’m not the worst, either. God brought me this far. He’s not done with me yet.” In early 2010 he said “I want to get back in the ring as soon as I can and Gomez would be a good fight for me.”

Riddick Bowe timeline

August 10, 1967: Born in Brooklyn, New York City, United States

1988: Lost to Lennox Lewis for the Olympic gold medal in Seoul, South Korea.

March 7, 1989: Debuted as a professional, beating Lionel Butler

July 8, 1990: Beat Art Card in first nationally televised bout

October 21, 1991: Declared winner by disqualification over Elijah Tillery who began kicking Bowe until he was grabbed around the neck and thrown outside the ring by Bowe's manager, Rock Newman. A melee ensued. It would not be the last time things went chaotic before or during a Bowe fight.

November 13, 1992: Won the world Heavyweight championship, beating Evander Holyfield. Bowe and Holyfield slugged it out for 12 rounds, with Bowe having a slight edge. A knockdown in the 11th round sealed Holyfield’s fate, and Bowe would win by unanimous decision.

Early 1993: He and his manager Rock Newman visited Pope John Paul II in the Vatican City, offering him the autographed gloves that Bowe used to beat Holyfield. The Pope accepted the gift.

February 6, 1993 Bowe knocked out former WBA Heavyweight champion Michael Dokes in the first round, in his first title defense.

May 22, 1993 Bowe knocked out Jesse Ferguson in the second round, in what his trainer Eddie Futch called his greatest performance.

November 6, 1993: Lost the title to Holyfield, by decision in 12.

August 13, 1994: His fight with Buster Mathis Jr. declared a no contest after Bowe hit his opponent while Mathis Jr. lay on the canvas.

December, 1994: In the final pre-fight conference before their fight, he threw a one-two combo at Larry Donald. He beat Donald by decision in 12.

March 11, 1995: He won the lightly regarded WBO world Heavyweight championship, knocking out Herbie Hide in six rounds.

Summer of 1995: He and Jorge Luis Gonzalez engaged in a series of violent press conferences across the United States before their fight. Their last pre-fight conference was held behind protective glasses. Bowe won by knockout in six.

November 4, 1995: He and Holyfield, fought the last fight of their classic trilogy. Bowe seemed to dominate the early rounds, and the ailing Holyfield was struggling in the fight, a fight that commentator George Foreman was notably concerned about, repeatedly saying the fight should be stopped. Holyfield however had a spurt of energy early in the sixth round, and knocked Bowe down. Bowe recovered from the knockdown and went on to win by knockout in round eight.

July 11, 1996: He defeated Andrew Golota by disqualification in round seven after being repeatedly punched in the testicles . The ensuing riot became breaking news across the United States, and an infamous night in the history of boxing. Golota was hit in the head by a member of Bowe’s entourage with either a large mid-90s cellphone or walkie-talkie, bloodying him.

December 14, 1996: He defeated Golota in their rematch, again by disqualification. Golota was ahead on all three scorecards, but at the end of the ninth round, Golota landed three brutal shots to Bowe's testicles. It turned out to be Bowe's last fight until 2004. Bowe declared there would not be a rematch. For a long time after Golota was disqualified Bowe lay unmoving in the ring with his eyes closed, which prompted fears from some about his condition. His slurred speech during the post fight interview did little to alleviate those fears.

December, 1996: Bowe announced he would leave his wife and children and large fleet of cars in Fort Washington, MD to join the United States Marine Corps. He dropped out of boot camp soon afterward.

1999: He kidnapped his wife and children at her parent's community in North Carolina. They were released unharmed, after an interstate drive.

January, 2001: Bowe applied for a presidential pardon from President Bill Clinton stating, "I became the heavyweight champion of the world from hard work. I was able to provide certain necessities to my large family. Many people depended on me and still depend on me to this very day for certain necessities," Bowe wrote. "If I am not given back my livelihood, we might just lose everything."

May 18, 2004: Bowe was released from federal prison after serving 18 months for kidnapping. He announced his intention to return to boxing and attempt to reclaim the world Heavyweight championship.

September 25, 2004: After seven and a half years away from boxing, Bowe returned with a second round knockout over Marcus Rhode. In a second comeback fight in April 2005, Bowe narrowly defeated journeyman Billy Zumbrun, in a fight in which Bowe was badly overweight and absorbed many heavy blows from Zumbrun.

On October 17, 2005 he declared bankruptcy.

On November 9, 2007, Riddick Bowe announced that he will enter the world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), fighting exclusively for the promotional outfit Xcess Entertainment, with his first fight being December 12, 2007, against lanky Philadelphia journeyman David R. Stec.

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