Can Riddick Bowe reignite the fire?
By Benny Henderson Jr. (September 15, 2004) 
Riddick 'Big Daddy' Bowe
After a seven-and-a-half year layoff from the boxing ring former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world Riddick 'Big Daddy' Bowe will start his comeback tour on September 25th at Fire Lake Casino in Shawnee, Oklahoma, against journeyman Marcus Rhode, 29-25-1 (25).

The 37-year-old Brooklyn native hopes to revive his career that once had him on top of the boxing world and saw him earn a respectable career record of 41-1 (32) with 1 no contest. Classic bouts with Evander Holyfield produced one of the most entertaining and unforgettable trilogies in the history of boxing. Ring Magazine named their 1992 heavyweight clash 'Fight of the Year', and exactly one year later their return bout was more than a fight, it was a spectacle that will be forever remembered as the infamous 'Fan Man Fight'.

Bowe, a 1988 Olympic Silver Medal winner and owner of three Golden Glove titles, has had one hell of a ride throughout his personal life and boxing career that has always seemed to spark controversy. In the fall of 1991 in a bout for the vacant WBC Americas heavyweight title against Elijah Tillery, Bowe slugged Tillery after the bell in round one and was then kicked in the groin by the Staten Island heavyweight. Rock Newman, Bowe’s manager at the time, proceeded to pull Tillery over the ropes and out of the ring.

After the 1992 'Fight of the Year' with Holyfield, Bowe threw his WBC heavyweight belt into the trash to avoid his mandatory challenger Lennox Lewis, who beat him for the Gold Medal at the 1988 Olympics. The summer of 1998 brought a 'no contest' to Bowe’s record when he hit Buster Mathis Jr. while Mathis was down on one knee. Four months later sucker-punched his opponent Larry Donald twice at their pre-fight press conference.

In July 1996 in a heavyweight showdown at Madison Square Garden against now notorious Polish fighter Andrew Golota, Riddick Bowe would have arguably the most outrageous moments in the ring of his entire career. Although clearly winning the fight against Bowe, Golota was disqualified in round 7 for repeated low blows that sparked a massive riot both in and out of the ring that night.

The highly anticipated rematch was scheduled for December of the same year and prior to the bout Bowe warned Golota that he was going to whip his ass. In reality nothing could be further from the truth, as Bowe-Golota II proved to be almost a carbon copy of their first encounter.

In the bout Bowe was knocked down three times and was clearly taking the beating of his career when the 'Foul Pole' struck again and was disqualified in the ninth for another series of low blows. After the fight Bowe decided to hang up his gloves and joinwd the US Marine Corps, but just after four days he resigned.

Two years after his retirement from the ring Bowe faced charges of kidnapping his wife and children and would eventually serve out an 18-month sentence for the crime. On May 18th of this year Bowe was released from prison and is now set for his comeback.

The question is can Riddick Bowe rule the heavyweight division once again as he did ten years ago? Or will age and ring rust serve as a reminder that all good things must come to an end? How would Bowe size up against today's heavyweight champs such as WBC kingpin Vitali Klitschko, IBF ruler Chris Byrd, WBA boss John Ruiz or WBO top dog Lamon Brewster? Should Bowe not even think about coming back or does he have a legitimate chance? Will he reignite his one time electrifying career or will his comeback prove to be a dud? These are the questions for you, the readers, to dwell on. Send all
Questions or comments, e-mail Benny at: The Best ones will be featured in a upcoming column by Benny.
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