Riddick Bowe Had Hall of Fame Talent, But Not a Hall of Fame Career

riddick-bowe

It was Saturday, October 31, 1992, Halloween night, when heavyweight contenders Lennox Lewis (21-0) and Donovan “Razor” Ruddock (25-3-1) met in a title elimination bout. The winner of Lewis-Ruddock was set to challenge the winner of the upcoming undisputed heavyweight title bout between champion Evander Holyfield (28-0) and top contender Riddick Bowe (31-0).

In some ways it was a reflection back to 1974 when the top four contenders met in two elimination bouts to determine the undisputed champ. It played out as follows. In January of 1974 Muhammad Ali decisioned Joe Frazier to win their rematch, and then in March heavyweight champ George Foreman knocked out second ranked Ken Norton. The winners Ali and Foreman met for the undisputed title in October and it was then and there that Ali's victory over Foreman signified the re-birth of the Ali legend.

Well, in the 90s version of the top four elimination, Lewis demolished Ruddock in two rounds and was assumed to be the next challenger for the Holyfield-Bowe winner. And on Friday night November 13, 1992, 13 days after Lewis-Ruddock, Holyfield and Bowe staged the most action packed heavyweight title bout, one that was voted fight of the year by Ring Magazine, since Larry Holmes won a 15-round split decision over Ken Norton in June of 1978 to claim the WBC title.

Bowe fought the signature fight of his career against Holyfield that night and won a 12-round unanimous decision to become undisputed heavyweight champion. During his title winning effort Bowe displayed HOF skill. It looked as if on that night he could've lived with and competed against any heavyweight who had ever worn the heavyweight crown, that's how good he looked. Riddick displayed a piston like jab, an unconventional but hard and accurate right hand, and his in-fighting for a big man was remarkable. His uppercuts and hooks were tight and compact and really had Holyfield on his heels when he tried to get inside and crowd Bowe during their bout. After beating Holyfield, Bowe was on top of the world and looked as if he was about to get revenge against Lewis who stopped him at the 1988 Olympics in the gold medal round four years earlier.

But it never happened…

A month after winning the title from Holyfield, Bowe threw his WBC belt in the trash and vacated the title instead of meeting Lewis, who was the number one contender. Unfortunately for Bowe, he threw away his chance to be a legitimate hall of famer along with the belt because other than fighting Holyfield, three times in total, there aren't enough quality wins on his resume to deserve induction. Make no mistake about it, Bowe had HOF skill. Riddick had height and reach, he could punch with both hands and could also fight inside and outside. His toughness and heart were questioned after he lost at the Olympics to Lewis, but his showing against Holyfield the first time they fought erased that.

However, other than fighting Holyfield three times, he never fought or beat another elite heavyweight, unless you count a washed up Michael Dokes, Larry Donald, Herbie Hide and Jose Luis Gonzalez. He also fought Andrew Golota twice and won by disqualification both times when Andrew repeatedly fouled him during both bouts. But everyone knows that Golota was also knocking the hell out of Bowe for a majority of both meetings. And the reality is most observers see the two Golota fights as losses for Bowe.

Riddick Bowe 43-1 (33) made a career out of fighting Evander Holyfield. Bowe defeated Holyfield two of the three times they met and stopped him in their final bout after Evander dumped him on the canvas earlier in the fight. But it's not like Bowe owned Holyfield. In their first fight he gave Evander a memorable beating, but he was also worked over and punched around by him too. When they met the second time a year later, Bowe wasn't in the shape he was for their first fight and Holyfield adjusted his style and out boxed Bowe using lateral movement and combination punching to win by decision. When they met in the rubber match, it was much like the rubber match between Ali and Frazier. Both Evander and Riddick had slipped and couldn't get out of each other’s way, and like it was with Frazier against Ali, by the time the third fight rolled around for Holyfield and Bowe…Riddick's height, weight and reach were too much for the smaller Holyfield to overcome.

When looking at Bowe's career in totality, it doesn't measure up with his career rivals Holyfield, Lewis and Mike Tyson when comparing the quality of opposition that they each faced. Riddick fought Evander and there isn’t much after that. Holyfield fought Bowe three times, and owns a win over him. He fought both Tyson and Lewis twice each when he was on the decline more than they were and went 2-1-1. Lewis fought both Holyfield and Tyson when they were past their prime and went 2-0-1 against them. And we know why he and Bowe never fought, because Riddick wouldn't fight him. As for Tyson, he was win-less in three fights with Holyfield and Lewis, but he did fight them. Yes, he and Bowe missed each other because Tyson was in prison for three years and that hurts the legacy of both Tyson and Bowe.

Not only did Bowe never fight two of the big three of his era (Lewis & Tyson) he never fought any other stalwarts and title holders of the era, the likes of Ray Mercer, George Foreman, Michael Moorer, David Tua, Oliver McCall, Razor Ruddock and Tommy Morrison. Bowe's prime was too short and his quality of opposition doesn't make the grade to merit HOF honors.

Had Bowe fought Lewis in the spring of 1993 as it was intended, his career may have unfolded completely differently. After Lewis beat Ruddock and Bowe beat Holyfield for the title, Bowe-Lewis was to the early 1990s what Mayweather-Pacquiao is to this generation regarding anticipation. I remember thinking when they turned pro that it was Lewis who would have the better career as opposed to Bowe. However, Bowe really did blossom under trainer Eddie Futch and by the end of 1992, Riddick looked to be the better and more finished fighter than did Lennox. I always felt that Bowe was unfairly criticized after losing to Lewis at the Olympics. Everyone forgets that Lewis participated at the 1984 games and lost to American Tyrell Biggs. Having already competed as an Olympian before gave him a distinct advantage over Bowe at the 1988 games, and it showed. Lennox was harder mentally and physically than Riddick was at that time. But Bowe was busier and fought better opposition out of the chute as pros than Lewis did and it showed.

Bowe was in his prime circa 1992-93, whereas Lewis didn't fully flower until three or four years later under trainer Emanuel Steward. Had they fought when they were originally scheduled to, I would've picked Bowe. Sadly for Bowe the fight never happened and it is Lewis who went on to become a legitimate Hall Of Famer.

On the night of 11/13/92 Riddick Bowe looked like a can't miss Hall of Fame fighter. The Bowe who fought Holyfield the first time was too much for Evander, and if forced to speculate he probably would've been too much for Tyson and Lewis on their best nights too. The problem is, we just don't know and there weren't enough of those nights after Holyfield I to justify his induction into the Hall of Fame, aside from the fact that he's still alive and can participate and speak during the festivities in June of next year.

Lastly, I'm glad for Riddick Bowe that he'll be inducted into the IBHOF despite thinking he didn't have the longevity and enough quality wins to make the cut, because he's more deserving than some others who have already had their fist cast in stone.

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

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COMMENTS

-sumopop :

He had more wins over great heavyweights than Mike Tyson. Who had zero.


-Froggy :

He had more wins over great heavyweights than Mike Tyson. Who had zero.
I said once before on this forum, the best fighter Tyson ever beat was Razor Ruddick and got into some disagreements about it by some ! I haven't changed my mind, Tyson beat very many very good heavyweights, but Ruddock was the best he beat !


-Buzz Murdock :

Riddick Bowe and his manager Rock Newman were something else back in the daze. I think Riddick even had an audience with the Pope...But the old story played out---too much too soon...and Mr. Bowe's life took a nasty turn...Last I heard he got kayoed in some kick boxing game overseas,,,Too bad, I would agree with Frank that in his prime, he was almost unbeatable. After the Golota debacles it was all down-hill.


-The Commish :

I have never seen a fighter ruined so quickly as I saw Bowe ruined by back-to-back fights against Andrew Golota. I was ringside for both of those brutal fights, and all of us at ringside could hear the effects of Golota's clubbing blows behind the head, low shots and shots to the back. Bowe took a street-like-mugging from a gang of thugs going wilding in those fights. It was soon after that second Golota fight in which Bowe started acting irrationally and displaying a sort of split personality. A change in his speech pattern was noticeable almost immediately. After the second Golota fight, Gil Clancy told me, "Riddick Bowe will never be the same again. Those two fights ruined him.". He was absolutely right. So beat up, so hurt, so in pain from the Golota fights, Bowe lost his zest for boxing. He walked away from boxing after the second Golota fight, not showing any desire to go near a ring again. He was just 28. He came back around six years later and won his return fight, and followed with two more wins over the next few years. But he was merely going through the motions. His weight was around 300 pounds. He never met a plate of BBQ ribs or fried chicken he didn't like. Gerry Cooney and I had Bowe on the phone as a guest last year. It was sad. We could barely understand this once glib, vibrant heavyweight. I announced his fights in the New York Golden Gloves. I was ringside for nearly all of his fights and sat in his dressing room prior to many of them. He was as enjoyable to be around as any fighter I have ever met. On our show, listening to him, I had tears in my eyes. Riddick Bowe brought a lot to the sport of boxing. The sport of boxing took even more from Riddick Bowe. I'm glad he's going to be enshrined in the IBHOF next year. -Randy G.


-stormcentre :

Bowe - when he had his trilogy with Holyfield - was probably one of the most relaxed but brilliant heavyweight combination punchers I have seen. With a few exceptions; the only heavyweights I have seen that throw combinations like that are guys that started off as middleweights or lighter, where they learnt and applied proper combination punching techniques, and then made their way up to heavyweight without losing their (combination punching and other technical) skills. Many heavyweight fighters, particularly those that start off as heavyweights, are a little lazy, (over) reliant on power, and sometimes even also disinterested in the finer aspects of the sport.


-brownsugar :

Great comments... I was very disappointed that Bowe never faced Lewis... I was watching when Lennox easily dispatched America's heavyweight hope without even making an effort to fight back. The disgusting manner in which Bowe lost....made me want to burn the American flag I was waving and move to England (to be a subject of the Queen). He avoided Lennox like the plague..... Lewis called out Bowe incessantly. ...Bowe replied with the chirping sounds of a cricket. I want to say that Bowe may have had HOF talent......but lacked a HOF heart....however that would a grossly inaccurate and crass statement....Bowes' career can't be reduced to a single careless sound bite. I truly believe that Bowe the pro had evolved enough as a pro to have potentially beaten Lewis had he just believed in himself more


-stormcentre :

If they (Lewis and Bowe) fought at the right time (for both; but mostly Bowe) the fight would have been absolutely awesome.


-Froggy :

Great comments... I was very disappointed that Bowe never faced Lewis... I was watching when Lennox easily dispatched America's heavyweight hope without even making an effort to fight back. The disgusting manner in which Bowe lost....made me want to burn the American flag I was waving and move to England (to be a subject of the Queen). He avoided Lennox like the plague..... Lewis called out Bowe incessantly. ...Bowe replied with the chirping sounds of a cricket. I want to say that Bowe may have had HOF talent......but lacked a HOF heart....however that would a grossly inaccurate and crass statement....Bowes' career can't be reduced to a single careless sound bite. I truly believe that Bowe the pro had evolved enough as a pro to have potentially beaten Lewis had he just believed in himself more
After Lewis beat Bowe in the Olympics you wouldn't have had to move all the way to England, Lewis won the gold medal for Canada the country where he grew up and where he learned how to box ! He went to England because that's where the sponsership money was !


-Radam G :

After Lewis beat Bowe in the Olympics you wouldn't have had to move all the way to England, Lewis won the gold medal for Canada the country where he grew up and where he learned how to box ! He went to England because that's where the sponsership money was !
They always go where the money will be. Holla!


-brownsugar :

After Lewis beat Bowe in the Olympics you wouldn't have had to move all the way to England, Lewis won the gold medal for Canada the country where he grew up and where he learned how to box ! He went to England because that's where the sponsership money was !
Thanks for the info ... Froggy....I've been to Vancouver......freakin' love the place, Portland Oregon, Seattle Washington, and northern Cali.... Are some of the best places in the world to live.


-kenhissner :

Bowe's record of 43-1 is almost forgotten. Eddie Futch had to push him due to Bowe's lazyness. Rock Newman his manager made critical errors in Bowe's two title defenses prior to Holyfield. Futch told Bowe not to take the Golota rematch and when he did Futch moved on. It was like Golota threw both fights while ahead he fouled him on purpose. I know he wasn't the smartest guy in the world but how dumb is dumb? A fight with Bowe and Mercer never materialized. Bowe got out when he did without fighting Lewis who got out not wanting a rematch with Vitali Klitschko and so on.


-ArneK. :

Frank Lotierzo builds a good case, but I respectfully disagree. I would put Big Daddy in the HOF if only because of his great trilogy with Evander. The first fight was a classic and the 10th round just may have been the best round of boxing in any heavyweight title fight. Bowe won the first meeting and the rubber match and perhaps the middle match would have had a different outcome if not for the surreal 21-minute intermission. Although Bowe was losing both skirmishes vs. the Foul Pole, his defeat in Bowe-Holyfield II remains officially the only blemish on his ledger. What an interesting tribe that was -- Bowe, Rock Newman, Papa Smurf, and on the periphery such characters as the "nutritionist/activist" Dick Gregory. Some would argue that Rock Newman didn't get maximum mileage from Big Daddy, but I would strongly disagree. Eddie Futch didn't come cheap and there wasn't another trainer in the world who was a better fit for Bowe. Taking Bowe to New Orleans to be conditioned by the brilliant "sports performance enhancer" Mackie Shilstone was a stroke of genius. When I first sat through a pre-fight press conference with Bowe and Newman on the podium, I thought to myself "these guys are the reincarnation of Jack Dempsey and Doc Kearns." The bombastic Kearns liked to do all the talking; Dempsey was a wallflower until he shed his hot-tempered manager. Likewise, Riddick Bowe was nothing more than a bump on a log, letting Newman do all the talking. The Rock told us how great his fighter was and carried on about issues important to him like racial injustice. I found Rock Newman to be a windbag (I'd be interested in what The Commish thinks). Go to Newman's web site, which is straight out of the Don King school of self-promotion, and you will learn that Rock is compassionate, inspired, universally recognized, a power broker, and a visionary. Whew. Pardon me while I genuflect. But the man was a great talker and certainly colorful and it was fun to be in the same room with him.


-Radam G :

Frank Lotierzo builds a good case, but I respectfully disagree. I would put Big Daddy in the HOF if only because of his great trilogy with Evander. The first fight was a classic and the 10th round just may have been the best round of boxing in any heavyweight title fight. Bowe won the first meeting and the rubber match and perhaps the middle match would have had a different outcome if not for the surreal 21-minute intermission. Although Bowe was losing both skirmishes vs. the Foul Pole, his defeat in Bowe-Holyfield II remains officially the only blemish on his ledger. What an interesting tribe that was -- Bowe, Rock Newman, Papa Smurf, and on the periphery such characters as the "nutritionist/activist" Dick Gregory. Some would argue that Rock Newman didn't get maximum mileage from Big Daddy, but I would strongly disagree. Eddie Futch didn't come cheap and there wasn't another trainer in the world who was a better fit for Bowe. Taking Bowe to New Orleans to be conditioned by the brilliant "sports performance enhancer" Mackie Shilstone was a stroke of genius. When I first sat through a pre-fight press conference with Bowe and Newman on the podium, I thought to myself "these guys are the reincarnation of Jack Dempsey and Doc Kearns." The bombastic Kearns liked to do all the talking; Dempsey was a wallflower until he shed his hot-tempered manager. Likewise, Riddick Bowe was nothing more than a bump on a log, letting Newman do all the talking. The Rock told us how great his fighter was and carried on about issues important to him like racial injustice. I found Rock Newman to be a windbag (I'd be interested in what The Commish thinks). Go to Newman's web site, which is straight out of the Don King school of self-promotion, and you will learn that Rock is compassionate, inspired, universally recognized, a power broker, and a visionary. Whew. Pardon me while I genuflect. But the man was a great talker and certainly colorful and it was fun to be in the same room with him.
Nice copy! And, YUP! Rock-New was one crazy, dazy mofu. Hehehe! He makes trainer Tim Lane look normal. Holla!


-the Roast :

Good to see you back ArneK. I'm a big fan.


-stormcentre :

Frank Lotierzo builds a good case, but I respectfully disagree. I would put Big Daddy in the HOF if only because of his great trilogy with Evander. The first fight was a classic and the 10th round just may have been the best round of boxing in any heavyweight title fight. Bowe won the first meeting and the rubber match and perhaps the middle match would have had a different outcome if not for the surreal 21-minute intermission. Although Bowe was losing both skirmishes vs. the Foul Pole, his defeat in Bowe-Holyfield II remains officially the only blemish on his ledger. What an interesting tribe that was -- Bowe, Rock Newman, Papa Smurf, and on the periphery such characters as the "nutritionist/activist" Dick Gregory. Some would argue that Rock Newman didn't get maximum mileage from Big Daddy, but I would strongly disagree. Eddie Futch didn't come cheap and there wasn't another trainer in the world who was a better fit for Bowe. Taking Bowe to New Orleans to be conditioned by the brilliant "sports performance enhancer" Mackie Shilstone was a stroke of genius. When I first sat through a pre-fight press conference with Bowe and Newman on the podium, I thought to myself "these guys are the reincarnation of Jack Dempsey and Doc Kearns." The bombastic Kearns liked to do all the talking; Dempsey was a wallflower until he shed his hot-tempered manager. Likewise, Riddick Bowe was nothing more than a bump on a log, letting Newman do all the talking. The Rock told us how great his fighter was and carried on about issues important to him like racial injustice. I found Rock Newman to be a windbag (I'd be interested in what The Commish thinks). Go to Newman's web site, which is straight out of the Don King school of self-promotion, and you will learn that Rock is compassionate, inspired, universally recognized, a power broker, and a visionary. Whew. Pardon me while I genuflect. But the man was a great talker and certainly colorful and it was fun to be in the same room with him.
OMG . . Rock Newman is Jesus' son . . . Here's proof....
->http://www.rocknewman.com/home.htm# I wonder who authored the website's content and links that almost all take you to the same content. Nice.


-King Beef :

Frank Lotierzo builds a good case, but I respectfully disagree. I would put Big Daddy in the HOF if only because of his great trilogy with Evander. The first fight was a classic and the 10th round just may have been the best round of boxing in any heavyweight title fight. Bowe won the first meeting and the rubber match and perhaps the middle match would have had a different outcome if not for the surreal 21-minute intermission. Although Bowe was losing both skirmishes vs. the Foul Pole, his defeat in Bowe-Holyfield II remains officially the only blemish on his ledger. What an interesting tribe that was -- Bowe, Rock Newman, Papa Smurf, and on the periphery such characters as the "nutritionist/activist" Dick Gregory. Some would argue that Rock Newman didn't get maximum mileage from Big Daddy, but I would strongly disagree. Eddie Futch didn't come cheap and there wasn't another trainer in the world who was a better fit for Bowe. Taking Bowe to New Orleans to be conditioned by the brilliant "sports performance enhancer" Mackie Shilstone was a stroke of genius. When I first sat through a pre-fight press conference with Bowe and Newman on the podium, I thought to myself "these guys are the reincarnation of Jack Dempsey and Doc Kearns." The bombastic Kearns liked to do all the talking; Dempsey was a wallflower until he shed his hot-tempered manager. Likewise, Riddick Bowe was nothing more than a bump on a log, letting Newman do all the talking. The Rock told us how great his fighter was and carried on about issues important to him like racial injustice. I found Rock Newman to be a windbag (I'd be interested in what The Commish thinks). Go to Newman's web site, which is straight out of the Don King school of self-promotion, and you will learn that Rock is compassionate, inspired, universally recognized, a power broker, and a visionary. Whew. Pardon me while I genuflect. But the man was a great talker and certainly colorful and it was fun to be in the same room with him.
Gotta agree with you on that AK "-47", It can be said Wlad is a HOF shoe in, which he should be; but he doesn't have a scalp on his resume no where near a prime Holyfield (twice!!). That was a classic trilogy for sure. A motivated Bowe could have definitely put all the questions to rest about his HOF qualifications, but such is life, wasted talent


-skarylarry1 :

You forgot to mention, Bowe should have also lost for hitting Buster Jr. after he was down. If Roy Jones can lose the same, so can Bowe! Ruled a no contest, which was wrong! Jerk Larry Hazzard of New Jersey Commission aas to blame! Also Bowe got a win when a fighter kicked him after round one and was disqualified! The true facts was Bowe started it by punching him way after round ended and Rock Newman pulled this fighter out of the ring while Bowe was continually punching as he too fell out of ring! Bowe was the instigator and HE should have lost this bout, not the other fighter. So, Bowe could have had 5 losrs, 2 Golota fights, kicking fight, Buster Jr. fight and Holyfield fight! Very lucky record for Bowe, indeed! As for Lewis, he would have beaten Bowe anytime. Bowe didn't even posses a straight right and Lewis had superior boxing skills. However, based on his record (although phoney), he should go in the Hall Of Fame! If Gatti can make it, so should Riddick Bowe!


-stormcentre :

Shame Bowe and Tyson never met in (or thereabouts) their prime.


-ArneK. :

You could have seen Tyson and Bowe in the same ring, stormcentre, had you been at the Mirage on the night of June 28, 1991. Of course, they didn't fight each other. Tyson was matched against Razor Ruddock. Bowe met an overmatched Rodolfo Marin. That was Tyson's last fight before he went off to prison. Bowe was 13-1 with one non-contest while Tyson was behind bars, including a first round blowout of dangerous Michael Dokes. Bowe's only loss was in his middle fight with Evander Holyfield -- the only official loss of his career. What I remember most about that night was the cascade of boos that rang down after it was announced that Jeff Fenech had earned only a draw vs. Azumah Nelson in what was billed as the co-feature. Judge Miguel Donate, who I believe was from Miami, gave Fenech only four rounds. That was ridiculous. Fenech dominated the fight. The boos resonated so loudly with me that years later I credited Nelson with winning that bout in a book that I wrote (shame on me for not having the book vetted by a knowledgeable boxing scribe). The myopic judge fell off the map after this fight, as well he should have. But I'm sure he felt vindicated when Azumah Nelson went to Australia and stopped Fenech in eight rounds in The Ring magazine's upset of the year. This may sound stupid, but I believe a Tyson-Bowe fight would have been a tough sell. They grew up only a few blocks apart in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. Bowe always spoke favorably of Tyson, who was 14 months older. To make this fight a blockbuster, you would have had to contort it into a neighborhood grudge match and I believe the public would see right through that charade.


-Domenic :

You could have seen Tyson and Bowe in the same ring, stormcentre, had you been at the Mirage on the night of June 28, 1991. Of course, they didn't fight each other. Tyson was matched against Razor Ruddock. Bowe met an overmatched Rodolfo Marin. That was Tyson's last fight before he went off to prison. Bowe was 13-1 with one non-contest while Tyson was behind bars, including a first round blowout of dangerous Michael Dokes. Bowe's only loss was in his middle fight with Evander Holyfield -- the only official loss of his career. What I remember most about that night was the cascade of boos that rang down after it was announced that Jeff Fenech had earned only a draw vs. Azumah Nelson in what was billed as the co-feature. Judge Miguel Donate, who I believe was from Miami, gave Fenech only four rounds. That was ridiculous. Fenech dominated the fight. The boos resonated so loudly with me that years later I credited Nelson with winning that bout in a book that I wrote (shame on me for not having the book vetted by a knowledgeable boxing scribe). The myopic judge fell off the map after this fight, as well he should have. But I'm sure he felt vindicated when Azumah Nelson went to Australia and stopped Fenech in eight rounds in The Ring magazine's upset of the year. This may sound stupid, but I believe a Tyson-Bowe fight would have been a tough sell. They grew up only a few blocks apart in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. Bowe always spoke favorably of Tyson, who was 14 months older. To make this fight a blockbuster, you would have had to contort it into a neighborhood grudge match and I believe the public would see right through that charade.
Great, great comment. I do think Bowe - Tyson was sellable following the third Holyfield fight though. The one-loss Tyson had his mystique still (artificially, but it was there nonetheless), and the pre-Golota Bowe was considered by many the best heavyweight in the world at the time. That version of Tyson was not seeking major opposition, of course. Had they met in 11/96, as opposed to Holyfield, it would've been big.


-stormcentre :

You could have seen Tyson and Bowe in the same ring, stormcentre, had you been at the Mirage on the night of June 28, 1991. Of course, they didn't fight each other. Tyson was matched against Razor Ruddock. Bowe met an overmatched Rodolfo Marin. That was Tyson's last fight before he went off to prison. Bowe was 13-1 with one non-contest while Tyson was behind bars, including a first round blowout of dangerous Michael Dokes. Bowe's only loss was in his middle fight with Evander Holyfield -- the only official loss of his career. What I remember most about that night was the cascade of boos that rang down after it was announced that Jeff Fenech had earned only a draw vs. Azumah Nelson in what was billed as the co-feature. Judge Miguel Donate, who I believe was from Miami, gave Fenech only four rounds. That was ridiculous. Fenech dominated the fight. The boos resonated so loudly with me that years later I credited Nelson with winning that bout in a book that I wrote (shame on me for not having the book vetted by a knowledgeable boxing scribe). The myopic judge fell off the map after this fight, as well he should have. But I'm sure he felt vindicated when Azumah Nelson went to Australia and stopped Fenech in eight rounds in The Ring magazine's upset of the year. This may sound stupid, but I believe a Tyson-Bowe fight would have been a tough sell. They grew up only a few blocks apart in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. Bowe always spoke favorably of Tyson, who was 14 months older. To make this fight a blockbuster, you would have had to contort it into a neighborhood grudge match and I believe the public would see right through that charade.
Yep, agree - Fenech dominated Nelson in their 1st fight. No doubt about that. Allegedly, Nelson was suffering quite badly in that fight though. I know, it was a claim I initially smirked at. But after he easily KO'd Jeff in their second fight news came to light about Azumah's wife's illness and pending - if not past/recent - death. So, Nelson really did have a distraction when he first fought Jeff. Still, it was a good fight. Understand and appreciate the different fates and timings associated with Bowe and Tyson - good points there. Still, it's a shame they never met, but you get that.