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14 NOVEMBER 2018


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Old, Slow ‘Big Daddy’ Bowe Wins Comeback in Germany

41 year-old Riddick Bowe
41 year-old Riddick Bowe

By Paul Upham: Sixteen years after he first won the heavyweight boxing world title against Evander Holyfield in 1992, Riddick Bowe returned to the ring on Saturday night at the SAP-Arena in Mannheim, Germany on the Wladimir Klitschko-Hasim Rahman card. Bowe won an eight round points decision, but it was a sad sight for anyone who remembered “Big Daddy” at his best.

The 41 year-old American was enticed to relocate to Germany to launch another comeback by Herb Smith, a former professional and All-Army boxer. Smith now manages Bowe and has overseen his personal fitness regime. Bowe arrived in Kaiserslautern in early September and reportedly lost 50lbs in weight.

Smiling and jiving during his ring walk, Bowe with heavy black beard and dressed in white trunks, was facing 33 year-old journeyman Gene Pukall 14-13-2 (12) from Berlin, Germany.

Much heavier and slower than in his prime, Bowe had weighed in at 270lbs, 10lbs less than his last fight in April 2005, when he beat Billy Zumbrun on a split decision over ten rounds and 35lbs more than when he defeated Holyfield.

Rounds 1 and 3 were Bowe’s. Round 2 was Pukall’s, possibly his only round of the fight. Bowe took a left hand to the top of the head as he ducked down, appearing a little unsteady on his feet. There was a slow pace to the fight throughout. Most of the time the sparse action only interrupted long periods of standing and watching.

With long time rival Lennox Lewis watching on at ringside, the taller Bowe leaned forward and used his double jab, right hand combination to win rounds. While the technique was there, it was slower and much less heavier than in Bowe’s prime years, when he had the best jab in the division.

Two right hands twisted Bowe’s head back in round 4. It was an excruciating slow fight to watch. The only real excitement came in round 5, when Bowe dropped Pukall at the end of the round with a left hook to the jaw. Pukall just managed to beat the count before the bell.

In round 6, Pukall exchanged with Bowe, but got caught with a right hand which hurt him and pushed him back onto the ropes. Bowe was constantly glancing over to Lennox Lewis, but did little to try for a knockout win. The final two rounds were sloppy and even slower.

Bowe 43-1 (33) received the unanimous eight round points decision win from the judges and polite applause from the crowd. The retired Lewis got up again and walked back out to the VIP boxes to await the Klitschko-Rahman main event.

No one should forget that light heavyweight world champion Bernard Hopkins is a freak of nature fighting at 43 and that the large majority of boxers should not be fighting in their 40’s.

Riddick Bowe was finished as an elite fighter in 1996 in his disqualification rematch win over Andrew Golota. Nothing has changed and he should not be fighting in a professional boxing ring in 2008 or beyond.

Date December 13
Location SAP-Arena, Mannheim, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Riddick Bowe W.8 Gene Pukall
Cornelius Bundrage W.KO.5 Zaurbek Baysangurov
IBF junior middleweight eliminator
Fatjon Murati W.4 Omar Jatta

Paul Upham
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