Baby Joe and Daddy Bowe need to go
By Aaron Imholte (October 6, 2004) 
Joe Mesi
Two men, a combined record of 69-1, struggling to let go of the game that has made them famous, and both risking life and limb to get or get back what they feel belongs to them.

Joe Mesi and Riddick Bowe's careers share a lot of similarities, though only at the ends of their careers. Both men were championship caliber fighters, both have heavy hands and no matter how much you hate them, either one of them could have knocked out any heavyweight in the game on any given night. Both also reportedly suffer from some form of brain damage and risk dying in the ring to achieve their goal.

The similarities branch apart from one another there though. Joe Mesi was on his way to a WBC title shot against Vitali Klitschko after his victory over Vassily Jirov last spring. Bowe has been in prison for about two years, inactive in boxing for eight, and seemed fat, flat, dull and out of shape against one of the worst fighters I have ever seen in Marcus Rhode. Mesi was hitting his prime. He was squeaking out decisions against well respected fighters and knocking out a man in one round who just gave baby Klitschko the fight of his life. His career should be cut short now by a subdural haematoma suffered in his last fight with Jirov.

Notice the past tense speaking. It is very important we keep referring to these two men in the past tense. They need to leave boxing for good. I loved what little I saw of Bowe in his prime. I honestly believe that on the two nights he beat Holyfield he could have rivaled the greats. He looked top ten caliber in those two fights. The thing with Riddick is that he does not realize that he is not that guy anymore. It's not a figure of speech he really cannot separate the two men. I believe that when a man is as determined to be on top again as Riddick is, he has blinkers on. I'm willing to bet he watches old tape of himself at home in his prime just to feed the illusion that he can still do that. I don't want to see anybody get hurt in this sport, it needs no negative press. So Riddick if you read everything with your name on it, listen to me: don't break our hearts, you're rich and people love you, quit and stay retired.

On to Mr. Mesi. Joe will die if he fights again. I have spoken to friends and family in the medical profession, specifically a neurologist at the University of Minnesota (who will remain nameless). She said the haematoma Joe Mesi suffered is so dangerous that if he were to be hit with a flush, strong heavyweight punch to that precise part of the brain that he could go into what she called 'complete neurogical shock' and die within minutes. Why fight? Is it worth it to have your name on a WBO belt? Is it worth winning a title, losing it and your life in your first defense for a million dollars? If anyone in Joe's family urges him on his comeback they should be ashamed of themselves. I respect Mesi very much. He has shown the heart of a warrior and a champion. But with the people and social skills he has he should get rich somewhere else and not in the ring, which could ultimately be his deathbed.

If you think I'm being overdramatic that's fine. It's your opinion and you're entitled to it. But is any one man's life, especially two great men with so much to give to this world, worth our petty entertainment and lofty cable bill? Take your 50 dollars, buy some Doritos and Pepsi (or Coke – we've got to be fair with our product placement) and watch the Gophers-Wolverines game or the Vikings-Texans game next week, or find your favorite old fight tape and watch that with some friends. Enjoy our sport because it is the most pure and entertaining sport there is. But please don't encourage men like Riddick Bowe and Joe Mesi to get back into the ring just because you think they are fun to watch.
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