Boxing: riddick bowe

Riddick Bowe to meet Andrew Golota, again

March, 27, 2012
Among the folks who attended Saturday’s Brooklyn homecoming at the Aviator Complex for Zab Judah, in which he pounded out a TKO9 win over Vernon Paris, was a man with a most familiar face, and a sportswriter's build. Riddick Bowe, two-time heavyweight champion who showed the fight game he had Hall of Fame talent in his wars with Evander Holyfield and Andrew Golota -- and some would say, sub-Hall of Fame diligence and judgment subsequently -- set up a table and sold signed photos of himself for $30 a pop while the action went on in the ring.

Bowe did quite well for himself in the early '90s, as he beat Holyfield, then seen as THE heavyweight champ, in Nov. 1992. But the decision-making of the Brownsville, Brooklyn, boxer, who was advised by manager Rock Newman, looked iffy when he made outsized demands in negotiations with Lennox Lewis. A 90-10 split in favor of Bowe was beyond insulting to Lewis, and fight fans to this day lament that that match never got made. In fact, I heard one fan buying a pic from big Bowe, looking husky but cheery, tell the fighter he wished the two titans had squared off, and Bowe admitted that he did, as well. Sounds like he wishes he never dumped his WBC belt in a garbage can, a symbolic exclamation point in rebuffing a mandatory defense against the WBC’s top-rated challenger, circa 1992, Lewis. I would have asked him about it, but he indicated to his handler that he didn’t want to do any media at the Aviator …

His guy Darren Antola apologized for the media diss, but did fill me in on what Bowe has planned next. Pro wrestling, it turns out. Against old foe Andrew Golota, who did so much to try and pulverize Bowe’s testicles in their two memorable bouts in 1996, both DQ wins for Bowe.

Antola said soon Bowe, age 43, will be going to a training camp to learn pro-style wrestling and that he and the 44-year-old Golota will “fight” in Poland. The spectacle will be available on pay-per-view, he said.

I told him, and I do mean this, that I, unlike many, won’t belittle Bowe behind his back, not for selling autographs, nor for taking part in what some would say is a demeaning exercise in self humiliation for rent money. Bowe (43-1), who last fought in December 2008, beating Gene Pukall in Germany, and who periodically makes noise about putting on the gloves one more time to test the shark-free heavyweight waters, could be any of us. Who among us hasn’t spent when they should have saved, assumed that a bounty would be longer-lasting than it was? Like the folks who sauntered over to the table, and bought a signed photo, and snapped a picture with the former champ, I prefer to remember the sleeker version who beat Holyfield twice, the guy who made it out of Brownsville and made his mama, and his 12 brothers and sisters, oh-so-proud.
New York State Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Dinner April 1

The inaugural New York State Boxing Hall of Fame ("NYSBHOF") induction dinner, sponsored by Ring 8, will be held Sunday, April 1 at Russo's On The Bay in Howard Beach, New York.

"Sugar" Ray Robinson, arguably the greatest boxer of all-time, though Floyd Mayweather might argue otherwise, leads a list of 12 boxers and eight non-participants to be formally inducted.

Boxers joining Robinson in the inaugural NYSBHOF class are Mike Tyson, Jake LaMotta, Carmen Basilio, Riddick Bowe, Carlos Ortiz, Vito Antuofermo, Emile Griffith, Mike McCallum and the late Gene Tunney, Benny Leonard and Tony Canzoneri.

Non-participant inductees are judge/HBO analyst Harold Lederman, coach/instructor Steve Acunto, trainer/cutman Jimmy Glenn and, posthumously, trainers Gil Clancy and Ray Arcel, The Ring Magazine founder Nat Fleischer, New York Daily News boxing reporter/cartoonist Bill Gallo, and referee Arthur Mercante, Sr.

"We're doing this to honor New York fight people," NYSBHOF president Tony Mazzarella said. "This is a dream come true for so many people who've worked hard to make the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame a reality. On April 1st we will be setting the foundation for years to come. All of the inductees will be immortalized with plaques showcased on a dedicated wall at the Waterfront Crabhouse and in the New York State Athletic Commission."

Inductees who have committed to attending the festivities include Bowe, McCallum, Griffith, Ortiz, Antuofermo, Acunto, Glenn and Lederman. The families of Arcel, Gallo and Mercante will also be represented.

Tickets, priced at $150.00 per person, include a complete brunch and cocktail hour upon entry, starting at 12:30 PM/ET, as well as dinner (prime rib, fish or poultry) and open bar throughout the evening. Tickets are available to purchase at the Waterfront Crabhouse (2-03 Borden Ave in Long Island City), or by calling Mazzarella at 718.729.4862 or Ring 8 president Bob Duffy at 516.313.2304. Ads for the NYSBHOF program are available, ranging from $50.00 to $250.00, by contacting Mazzarella and Duffy.

Go on line at for additional information about the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame.
Boxing lost three wonderful people last week. Angelo Dundee and Goody Petronelli drew more ink than Wayne Kelly did, but that doesn't mean Kelly was any less beloved. The 63 year-old Kelly, best known to fight fans as a rock-solid ref, who presided over the Riddick Bowe-Andrew Golota "riot fight" at Madison square Garden in 1996, died of a heart attack last Wednesday. The Long Islander was an Army vet, who served a year in Vietnam, and then had a few cups of coffee as a professional fighter, going 4-3 as a light heavy from 1975-1979. Kelly showed a sure, confident, kind hand in the ring, during fights like the 1995 Arturo Gatti-Wilson Rodriguez classic, as an advocate for the ex welterweight and middleweight champion Emile Griffith, who suffers from dementia, and as a physical conditioning specialist for the elderly at his 9-to-5, in Hempstead, Long Island.

I didn't know Wayne, so I thought it better to let you hear from someone who did, someone who can properly convey just what kind of void his death leaves. Dan Sapen is a faithful reader of the website I edit, Clinical psychologist/psychotherapist Sapen, who is awaiting the publication of his book "Freud's Lost Chord" this summer, attended the viewing and service for Wayne on Saturday on Long Island.

"I've heard that Irish wakes could be pretty boisterous and celebratory - the funeral was a full house, standing room only, divided between old family and friends, IBF officials and colleagues, trainees and sparring partners from the gym. More laughter and loving cross-talk than tears and lamenting. The priest and various friends who stood to offer testimonials told, one and all, about Wayne's triumph over personal darkness and tragedy, his unfailing sense of humor, his dedication to the happiness and comfort of friends, strangers, and the elderly he served throughout his career as a counselor; they spoke of a man in love with boxing, who didn't give a damn about the egos and politics of the boxing world, and whose main goal as a referee was "to protect the fighters as if nothing else matters." People spoke of his combined traits of fierce principle and light-heartedness, his ability to find the best and funniest and warmest aspects of any situation. Wayne was described as a man who, more than most, lived life to the fullest, not in the cliched sense we use when we want to comfort ourselves that the deceased had an OK life, but in recognition of a guy who lived the extremes without backing off or losing his decency. "Strength, persistence, and tenderness" were words used in combination, several times.

As for me, I met Wayne barely two years ago when I got back into boxing after decades away. I knew of his refereeing work - no sense in my re-hashing that. We hit it off right away, after Randy Gordon introduced us - I also work with the elderly, and we found plenty of common values, including the ability to make each other laugh. We spoke several times a week, ate and drank together, confided like friends who've known each other their whole lives, worked out, sparred a little (though Wayne, strong as an ox, was already kind of tentative in the ring, having gone through bypass surgery not long before). I was privileged to meet and start to get to know his son, Ryan, a very cool guy and good southpaw heavyweight, and his lovely and warm-hearted daughter, Jackie. He invited me to join him and ref Charlie Fitch at the IBF convention in Vegas, and made me feel like a boxing insider, telling exaggerated stories of my re-discovered ring prowess, involving me in all the social and professional activities, and encouraging me forcefully to train for the masters tournament he seemed sure I could compete well in. He spoke with humor and humility about his own boxing ability, admitting that he was a much better gym fighter than competitive pro; but the guy was, you could still see, at 63, still a formidable athlete. Most of all, Wayne was, in a short time, an easy and true friend, with no BS, no fear of sentimentality, who spoke his mind and his heart in ways that humbled me and inspired me to loosen up and take life less seriously, and at the same time, to value friendship more directly and warmly than I've had much of a chance to in my adult life. At his funeral, I was surrounded by more than a hundred people, all of whom seemed to have had the same experience of him as a genuinely good man who serves as an example of how to live well, honestly, and fully. One friend paraphrased Wayne paraphrasing President Barack Obama, that the measure of a man is not in money, power, or the respect granted him, but the love and respect he shows for others. About Wayne's success in this regard, the whole room was unanimous. I will miss my friend, but life is better because of the short time I had to know him."

N.Y. Boxing Hall of Fame inductees announced

October, 25, 2011
Even the casually aware boxing fan might know there is a boxing Hall of Fame. There are two, actually, the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, N.Y., and the World Boxing Hall of Fame, located in Riverside, Calif.

The Canastota Hall is the more accepted of the two.

New York-area fight fans might be pleased to know that a New York State Boxing Hall of Fame, in planning for 14 months, is off the ground. A luncheon introducing the inaugural class of inductees was held at Gallagher's near Times Square on Tuesday.

Tony Mazzarella, a board-member of the Ring 8 club, a N.Y. group formed in 1954 to help and honor former boxers, has been trying to get a HOF for years now. He's offered space at his restaurant, the Waterfront Crabhouse in Long Island City, for plaques and memorabilia. A physical location is being hunted down.

Here's the first class to be inducted. It includes 12 boxers, and eight non-boxers.

"Sugar" Ray Robinson, "Iron" Mike Tyson, Jake "Bronx Bull" LaMotta, Carmen "Upstate Onion Farmer" Basilio, Riddick "Big Daddy" Bowe, Carlos Ortiz, Mike "Bodysnatcher" McCallum, Gene "The Fighting Marine" Tunney, Benny "The Ghetto Wizard" Leonard and Tony Canzoneri. Also, judge/HBO analyst Harold Lederman, coach/instructor Steve Acunto, trainer/cut-man Jimmy Glenn and, posthumously, trainers Gil Clancy and Ray Arcel, Ring Magazine founder Nat Fleischer, New York Daily News boxing reporter/cartoonist Bill Gallo, and referee Arthur Mercante Sr.

Ring 8 president Bob Duffy announced plans for the kickoff dinner. "We plan to do this every year," Duffy said. "Our first introduction dinner will be at Russo's On The Bay in March of 2012. We have a wall at Waterfront Crabhouse which will list our Class of 2012 and another at the New York State Athletic Commission. We started this to honor New York fight people."

The inductees were selected by a six-member NYSBHOF nominating committee made up of Boxing Writers Association president Jack Hirsch, Steve Farhood, Henry Hascup, Bobby Cassidy, Jr., Ron McNair and Neil Terens.

All boxers had to be inactive for at least three years and all inductees had to have lived in New York State for a significant portion of their careers.

Lederman had a couple people wiping the onion juice out of their eyes when he took to the mike and said, "I'm so honored to be in this first class. I've asked myself how did I get in the same class as Sugar Ray Robinson," as he choked up.

The event wasn't diminished at all by another press conference, run by famed promoter Don King, held at the same time at another location. Media turnout was a bit less than expected because of that, though. Word was King was going to cut his presser short and head over to the Hall session, but as the Gallagher's group exited the building, King was nowhere to be found. We can assume King was somehow melding the works of Aristotle, the deeds of Crispus Attucks and the plight of Rodney King together into a delicious oratorical stew that perhaps even had something to do with the sweet science.