Fans may recall how, at the official weigh-in ahead of the great December 1st battle between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, ex-champs Riddick Bowe and Lennox Lewis crossed paths – and almost came to blows. Bowe was visibly annoyed when Lewis basically refused to stand next to him for the official photos, giving his Olympic nemesis a stern stare. Later, when speaking with The New York Times, Bowe said the following:
“Me and Lewis have an agreement that as long as he keeps my name out of his mouth, I keep my foot out of his ass.”
Yes indeed, there is still a good deal of bad blood between these two – the two finest heavyweights of the 1990s who never actually met in the pro ring. And this week, on the Sirius radio show hosted by Gerry Cooney and Randy Gordon, Lewis gave his take on the grudge that has refused to go away. But Lewis admitted he felt more than a twinge of sympathy for Bowe and his current physical appearance.
“I still have that animosity going on. Me and him were supposed to fight a long time ago,” Lennox said. “I was waiting for the opportunity to bring it in the ring so I could beat the granny out of him. He basically ducked me. That’s why I call him ‘Chicken Bowe.’ And that name lives on. At one point, I’ve been thinking about it a long time, he kept mouthing and saying stuff about me – I was waiting for the opportunity so when we could get together I could give him a slap. And then I looked at him [at the Fury-Wilder weigh-in] and I realised how slow he was and it wouldn’t be fair to do that. I opted against it.”
There is no doubt about it: if Lewis fought Bowe today, Lewis would win. It’s a huge contrast how Lewis, well invested, his health and his faculties in fine working order, compares to Bowe today. Bowe is reportedly all but broke and his speech and gait are both in poor working order. When it comes to just who of the two was the smartest, best advised fighter, the answer is quite apparent. Bowe didn’t help his cause by ballooning up in weight between fights, and then, partly as a result (in the first fight anyway) taking a quite horrific beating at the hands of Andrew Golota.
Bowe today is nothing like the young, charismatic and fun twenty-something star he once was. And Lewis fully recognises this. It’s a good thing Lewis showed his class and didn’t slap Bowe. Tragically, the former champ who ruled from 1992 to 1993 is damaged enough.