28.8.04 – By Bert Randolph Sugar,Sr. Boxing Analyst at-large for CMXsports.com: Over the years “retired” boxers have come back more times than Frank Sinatra and Sarah Bernhardt combined, the number of those trying to stuff the toothpaste back into the tube extending far out to sea, well beyond the 12-mile limit. Most come back for the money. Some, like “Sugar” Ray Leonard, come back simply because they miss the roar of the crowd, if not necessarily the smell of the greasepaint. And, of course, there’s George Foreman, who, even today, with tongue not far removed from cheek, continues to hint at a comeback, even at the advanced age of 55, just to keep his name in the news and, not incidentally, sell more grills–or whatever else he is pushing at the time.
Now comes word that one-time heavyweight champ Riddick Bowe is making a comeback after an eight-year absence from the ring. When asked “why,” Bowe sounded like a little boy minimizing a bad school report, saying he was “persuaded” to retire and now is “bored.”
When last seen in the ring some eight years ago, Bowe, whose record stands at 40-1 with 32 KOs, was barely standing. Instead, he was bent over looking like a contortionist trying to come into his own, with powers barely those of respiration, courtesy of several Andrew Golota south-of-the-border blows.
Picking up his dented cup and rearranged nether appendages along with his millions, Bowe retired from the ring and went home to tend to his gardens and his family. However, boredom did appear to get the better of him and after first trying to enlist in the Marines–a one-week sojourn that ended almost before it started–he next was heard of abducting his wife and five children for which he received a 17-month prison term.
Along with his sentence came the sentencing judge’s notation that the boxer was “suffering from slurred speech and brain damage,” a charge Bowe denies, saying it was merely his lawyer’s ruse to get him a reduced sentence. However, it has become common currency amongst the broken beak fraternity that Riddick was, in the vernacular of the trade, “walking on his heels.”
Now out after serving 17 months in prison, the “bored” Bowe is making a comeback. But rather than making that comeback in one of the capitals of boxing, Bowe is making it in Oklahoma, hardly the “hotbed “of boxing. Well, not really in Oklahoma, but at the Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Fire Lake Casino. And because he is fighting on tribal land, Bowe does not need a license from the Oklahoma Professional Boxing Commission. Nor a pre-fight testing.
(Here, let it be known that Bowe is so certain of victory over the deservedly underrated and ability-challenged Jeff Lally that he already has applied for a license with the Oklahoma commission for a second fight in the state. Nevertheless, his fight at the casino bears the strictest investigation and raises the question of when tribal boxing commissions will align their safety practices with those of the state boxing commissions for the protection of boxers and the betterment of the sport.)
During a recent “Cold Pizza” interview, the marketing director of the casino, in responding to a question about what safety precautions the casino had taken for the protection of the fighters, instead dwelled on the assets of the casino, even mentioning that it had a “grocery store.” Great, Riddick Bowe is fighting for a “grocery store!”
Without putting too fine a point on it, it should be pointed out that many’s the comeback that has ended badly. For references witness Greg Page’s, which ended with Greg in a coma and now partially paralyzed. And further, it should be pointed out that only eight heavyweight champions–including the recently-retired Lennox Lewis–ended their careers with a “W” after their last fight.
No, Riddick Bowe’s “lounge act” in Oklahoma does not appear destined to lead him down the path to another shot at the heavyweight championship. Instead, in all probability it will lead him down another path: that of making the once-poster boy for the sport the poster boy for its abolition.
Bert Randolph Sugar, CMXsports’ Sr. Analyst At-Large, called “ The Guru of Boxing,” has a new book Bert Sugar On Boxing,” (or “The Best of Bert Sugar, The Worst of Bert Sugar, What the Hell’s the Difference?”), published by The Lyon Press and currently available at Border’s, Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com
BERT RANDOLPH SUGAR’S latest weekly column –“Sugar ‘N Spice” — can be read EXCLUSIVELY at www.CMXsports.com Sugar, the world-famous boxing historian and sports bon vivant, is the Senior Boxing Analyst at-large for CMXsports, where he is also part of the new Latin boxing broadcast series, “CMX Boxeo de Campeones,” which made its debut, May 28. Presented by CMXsports and promoted by Guilty Boxing, “CMX Boxeo de Campeones” allows boxing fans from around the world to catch all the action via a live internet stream, and access the replay, at www.cmxsports.com for a monthly subscription fee of just $4.95. The series airs Friday nights, beginning at 11 P.M. ET / 8 P.M. PT. Subscribers can also access archived fight footage and get behind-the-scenes interviews, previews and articles. The broadcasts are available in English and Spanish. This week’s show will emanate from The Orleans Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV.
The Runyonesque Sugar, a former editor of The Ring, and Boxing Illustrated magazines and the author of over 50 sports books, lends his world-renowned knowledge and razor-sharp wit to his weekly column which will be dedicated to the hot topics facing boxing today, as well as contrasting and comparing today’s boxing scene to the historic eras of the past. This week, Bert plants his tongue firmly in cheek with his look on THE COMEBACK OF RIDDICK BOWE (Scroll down for free preview in text version. It can be used by all media with proper credit to CMXsports.com.)
CMXsports and Guilty Boxing are scheduled to produce 48 two-hour shows a year over a three-year period with two cards each month emanating from Las Vegas –The Orleans Hotel & Casino and the Gold Coast Hotel & Casino. The remaining two shows per month will be broadcast from different locations, including, southern California and Mexico.
“CMX Boxeo de Campeones” showcases the very best in action-packed Latin fights, a staple of Guilty Boxing shows over the past decade, as well as an extensive amount of high-quality features on boxing. CMXsports complements the broadcast with the Internet’s capability to provide fans around-the-clock, behind-the-scenes information about the fighters before and after the show, and the state-of-the-art CMXlivecam, allowing fans unprecedented access to the fighters on a real-time basis. In short, CMXsports is leveraging the latest in Internet streaming and interactive technology to produce an unprecedented experience for the viewer.
CMXsports is one of the rapidly growing members of the CMX family of sports and entertainment companies founded by A. Demetrius (Tony) Brown. Brown, a former professional basketball player, established a successful metal trading company that later evolved into CMXchange, a successful Internet-based trading exchange. Over the past two years, Brown has purchased or created a number of companies focused at a range of sports and entertainment products and services.