Riddick Bowe begins comeback on Saturday

24.09.04 - By Jeff Bastasini: Former heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe will make his return to the ring against journeyman Marcus Rhode (29-25-1, 23 KOs), on Saturday in Shawnee, Oklahoma. The once great champion will begin what he hopes is a successful comeback that will direct him to another heavyweight title. Bowe, 37, has been out of the ring for almost 8 years, when he last fought against Andrew Golota. Bowe retired at 29.

Despite Bowe making millions of dollars in his career and still having much of it in the bank, as well as possible neurological problems from his last two fights with Andrew Golota, he still has a desire to box.

After his last fight with Andrew Golota in December, 1996, Bowe’s speech was badly slurred and he could barely be understood anyone. He was later diagnosed as having brain damage from the punches he absorbed in his later two fights.. His manager at the time, Rock Newman, persuaded him to retire rather than continue and possibly damage his health further. Bowe then attempted to fulfill a dream by joining the Marines. However, Bowe had little desire for the tough boot camp regiment, and quit soon after joining.

Bowe, (40-1, 32 KOs) who won an Olympic silver in Seoul in 1988 and piled up 31 straight wins, had no real challengers other than an undersized Evander Holyfield, whom he beat two out of three fights they had together. Bowe had it all - he could box from the outside, jab, and had fight on the inside, which is a rarity for a big man. Unfortunately, Bowe was unable to control his impulse to overeat, as he would often balloon up to 300 pounds or more between fights and then somehow take off all the weight just in time for his fights. It worked for awhile, but by the time Bowe met up with Andrew Golota in July, 1996, a washed out looking Bowe was badly battered around the ring before winning when Golota was disqualified for low blows.

The last 5 years haven’t been much easier for Bowe, as he ended up serving 17 months in prison for the kidnapping his ex-wife — which he said was a mistaken attempt to bring his family back together. He was released earlier this year. Since then, Bowe has dedicated himself towards making a comeback in hopes of getting a title fight with one of the heavyweight champions. He is planning on staying very active as part of a 12 fight comeback plan that he hopes will conclude with a title fight if everything goes as scheduled.

Bowe and his team insist that they have sailed through all the required neurological tests prior to his ill-fated comeback. Whether he has neurological problems or not is probably a mute point at this stage, at age 37, with zero activltiy in 8 years, Bowe will not be the same fighter he was before and will likely pay for it in the ring.

Marcus Rhode (29-25-1, 23 KOs), the designated opponent, has been beaten by almost every notable heavyweight, will likely not give much resistance to Bowe. Thus the Bowe saga will continue for awhile longer.

Article posted on 24.09.2004

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