Riddick Bowe To Fight Tonight In Norfolk
06.10.06 - By Tom Luffman: 06.10.06 - Tonight Riddick Bowe (42-1 KO’s 33) will try to improve upon his last outing when he takes on George Linberger (29-8-1 KO’s 25). The challenger is riding the wave of a six fight win streak, with his last victory coming over toughman Eric “Butterbean” Esch (75-7-4 KO’s 56). The action will take place in Norfolk, Virginia’s Scope Arena.
Article posted on 06.10.2006
Currently I’m on an ominous political assignment in New Orleans and just yesterday while strolling on Bourbon Street at first light my assistant remarked, “the French Quarter looks like a used whore at this time in the morning." Indeed with the nearly over-powering smell of what can only be described as a urine-based leachate, gaggled of used car salesmen types from Dallas, and bleary eyed, make up smeared goth kids running about in the post dawn haze the Crescent City certainly has seen better moments than this morning. To come full circle the scene reminded me of Riddick Bowe’s career.
The once powerful and proud champion, twice the slayer of Evander Holyfield (39-8-2 KO’s 26) and Silver Medal winner in the 1988 Olympics, has fallen on tough times in his comeback bid. The first match in his attempt to become the heavyweight champion of the world occurred on September 25th, 2004, against journeyman Marcus Rhode (31-30-2 KO’s 26). Coming into the fight Rhode had lost his last four matches, with three of those coming by knockout. Furthermore, in his sixty five fight professional career (including no contests) Rhode has only beaten one man with a winning record, that being Mike Rabe who was 2-1 coming into their September 30th, 1996, fight.
To be fair, Bowe needed a fight to “shake the rust off” and comeback fights are not traditionally staged against top rated opponents. The pudgy 263 pound Bowe finished off Rhode in two. It wasn’t a great performance, but he had gotten his feet wet again. His second match pitted him against unheralded Billy “The Kid” Zumbrun (20-7-1 KO’s 11). Again Bowe’s opponent was a total “also ran” and again Bowe looked fat. The man that weighed 235 pounds when he became undisputed heavyweight champion now weighed a hefty and out-of-shape 280.
However, he was only fighting Billy Zumbrun, with the idea being the former champion could get his sea legs back. It seems like the thinking was to give Bowe several “ramp up” fights before his attempt at taking over the nauseatingly awful heavyweight division. Who knows, maybe he could get an undeserved title shot the way Shannon Briggs is? However, “The Kid” had a different idea and nearly upset Bowe in the process. The result was a razor thin disputed split decision for Riddick Bowe by the scores of 96-92, 96-92, and 93-95. Since this last match a year and a half has passed. During that time Bowe has declared bankruptcy and seen his fight against Ronald Bellamy (14-5-4 KO’s 9) cancelled.
What can you say about Riddick Bowe that hasn’t been written about Evander Holyfield, Muhammad Ali, or many other former champions who decide to overstay their welcome in the ring? Bowe once claimed in court to have brain damage, now he says he is fine. He’s financially (if not physically) broke. His skills are so diminished that a guy who was totally F’owned by Brian Minto (26-1 KO’s 15) earlier this year nearly beat him in his last outing. Since then he has taken over a year off and god only knows how much he’ll weigh for this one. I’m not sure if Linberger is the man to do it, but Bowe is going to get knocked out, hurt, and possibly killed in the ring.
I believe both Bowe and his old nemesis Evander Holyfield are going to see their boxing careers come to a very bad, but preventable end. No boxing fan should watch either of these men fight any boxing match without fully expecting a total car wreck. I just hope that Bowe’s admission of brain damage a few years ago was the ramblings of a man trying to get a plea bargain and not based on sound science. Otherwise, boxing will be the one that ends up with a black eye after his last fight.
A little extra… the aforementioned Brian Minto is set to take on Axel Schulz (26-4-1 KO’s 11) on November 25th, 2006, in Westfalen, Germany. Yes, this is that Schulz that narrowly lost in two bids to win the IBF heavyweight title. The first against George Foreman (76-5 KO’s 68) which was scored as a majority decision and the second a little over a year later, when he lost by split decision to Michael Moorer (47-4-1 KO’s 37). Schulz was decked in eight rounds his last time out by Wladimir Klitschko (46-3 KO’s 41) in 1999.
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