Riddick Bowe is back! The former world champion fought for the first time since December 1996, scoring the predictable early stoppage over trialhorse Marcus Rhode in the second round.
It was Bowe’s first contest since December 1996, and a predictably easy one. Rhode, with 26 losses to his name, is face-first brawler with a bad chin, and so it came as no surprise to see the underdog decked four times before his corner threw in the towel.
So as a result, it proves nothing for Bowe. It simply served to get him back into competitive action, and we can expect more of the same from the 37-year-old New Yorker. He said he will use George Foreman’s comeback in the 1980s as his blueprint for a route back to the top – fight regularly against relatively safe opposition. he says he wants to have 15 fights over the first year of his comeback and reckons he’ll be ready for a world title shot within two years.
It’s just as well Bowe plays it safe for the time being. His comeback is very controversial and ill-advised by most quarters.
When sent to jail for kidnapping his estranged family in 2001, Bowe’s lawyer used the excuse of his client being brain damaged before the incident as a means of securing leniency in sentencing.
If that is true, it’s very worrying. Damaged brain cells never repair or reproduce, although the brain can learn to adjust, which may explain why Bowe seems in better health these days than before his incarceration.
At the moment, Bowe is only licensed by native American territories and the Virgin Islands. When and if he seeks to fight in more prestigious and lucrative venues, he will be subjected to a sterner medical examination.
Then we will find out if he is indeed brain damaged, in which case his career will be over and all those associated with this comeback will be severely discredited.
If it turns out Bowe is actually in good health, then his lawyer will be proved to have lied, which could have legal ramifications for the fighter.
But for now, Bowe has passed step one with ease and emerged unscathed. Let’s hope that remains the case.