Oh No, Say it Ain’t So, Bowe

BY Marc Lichtenfeld ON March 04, 2005
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“No no, no, no, no, no no no no no, no no no no, no no no no no, no no no no no no”
                                                                                                              – J. Geils Band

In November I wrote a column for TheSweetScience.com titled "Evander Holyfield’s Last Fight." I argued that as long as Evander Holyfield passed the required medical tests, he should be allowed to fight – despite the fact that I, along with nearly everyone else, believe he should retire.

Now I hear that Riddick Bowe will be fighting later this month and that he did in fact pass medical tests in Missouri. To be honest, I was a little surprised. Last weekend I heard Bowe on a late-night ESPN radio talk show. His mind still seemed sharp, he was quick and witty, but he was slurring so badly I had difficulty understanding much of the interview.

I don’t pretend for a minute to have a whole lot of medical knowledge (my recommended treatment for most maladies is Cold-Eeze and chicken soup). But I have to think that a person who slurs his words, who didn’t in the past, has got to have some kind of neurological injury – the kind of damage that would likely be exacerbated by continuous blows to the head.

So how do I resolve my own internal conflict that says a man should be able to earn a living any way he sees fit, with my belief that, yes, some people do need to be protected from themselves? I’m not sure that I can, to be honest with you.

But I think I have a solution. It’s a little farfetched, but I think it’s so crazy that it just might work. Ready?

Stop paying attention.

What would happen if Riddick Bowe fought and nobody watched? Do you think the next promoter would take the chance and put him on a card? Hell no. If a Riddick Bowe (or any other aging, used up fighter) doesn’t garner any box office dollars or media coverage, he will be forced into retirement. It’s pure capitalism. Economics 101 - supply and demand.

I know it’s a harsh solution. And it’s difficult for the media not to pay attention when a former champion, especially quality ones like Bowe and Holyfield, get in the ring.

But if we really care about the health of these men, as we profess, let’s do them a favor and not pay any mind the next time a promoter tries to cash in on their name one “last” time. It’s not like you’ll miss much – not when the fighter is a shell of his former self and he will likely be fighting a mismatch. So save your dollars.

Instead, support the good things going on in boxing. Go to a local club show. Donate to a needy boxing program. Buy a solid pay-per-view event and show the suits that you want competitive matches. (ESPN’s April 23 show comes to mind.)

Then we can remember the beloved boxers in their primes, instead of when they became punch lines to jokes. And I wouldn’t be surprised if a few future tax dollars are saved as well.

JABS

• I’m excited about the ESPN show mentioned above. Margarito – Cintron should be a terrific fight and the undercard is topnotch as well.

• I usually like HBO’s broadcast team, but they did a real disservice to DeMarcus Corley in the first few rounds of last week’s fight with Miguel Cotto. Before Corley had Cotto on Queer Street, the HBO crew seemed to ignore the fact that Corley was displaying a rock solid chin and is a very good fighter. 

• I’m ecstatic to see that Bob Mladinich has joined TheSweetScience.com. I read his stuff all the time in Boxing Digest and he is one of my favorite boxing writers. He always finds a unique angle on a story and talks to a lot of interesting people. Be sure to check him out.

Until next time, obey my commands and protect yourself at all times.

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