Food, fight: Gregory's menu fuels Bowe's engine
LAS VEGAS -- Dick Gregory, the former comedian and political activist, is now passing along his ideas on nutrition to heavyweight contender Riddick Bowe, who challenges undisputed champion Evander Holyfield tomorrow night.
"It's like working on an expensive car," said Gregory, who previously pushed his health-food theories with Muhammad Ali. "You've got to know what you're putting into it.
"I told Riddick, 'I can't make you a better fighter. But I can overhaul your engine, clean your motor and give you more energy for fight night.'
"There is not a vitamin, mineral or herb that Riddick hasn't had in his body. I even had to order some from Africa."
Gregory recalled working with Ali in 1976 before the former champion's winning fight against Ken Norton at Yankee Stadium. The training camp was in Sho-Lo, Ariz., a remote mountain retreat.
A memorable scene took place in the hotel coffee shop, where Gregory spent an hour lecturing Ali on the virtues of vegetables and vitamins.
Ali agreed enthusiastically, but as soon as Gregory left, he ordered a double thick steak with fries followed by a hot fudge sundae.
Gregory did a better selling job with Bowe, who weighed in at 235 yesterday, the exact weight his trainer Eddie Futch had prescribed.
Holyfield scaled 205, less than he weighed against George Foreman and Larry Holmes.
The World Boxing Council has joined the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation in demanding that the Holyfield-Bowe winner make England's Lennox Lewis his next opponent.
But a boxing insider said promoter Don King, who lost his power in the heavyweight division with the imprisonment of ex-champion Mike Tyson, already is negotiating a Tony Tucker-Lewis match for the WBC title, with the approval of close friend Jose Sulaiman, the WBC president.
Two minor title fights have been added to tomorrow's undercard after the scheduled semifinal between WBC welterweight champion Buddy McGirt and Genaro Leon was postponed when McGirt became ill.
U.S. Boxing Association super middleweight champion Tim VTC Littles (19-0) will defend against John Scully (27-2). A USBA bantamweight match pits champion Junior Jones (17-0) against Jose Quirino (32-8).
Jimmy Vaccaro, the sports book director at The Mirage, said yesterday that a $200,000 bet wagered on Bowe dropped the odds favoring Holyfield to 7-5. Bookmakers on The Strip expect the price to be close to even money the day of the fight.
Joe Cortez has been named to referee the Bowe-Holyfield bout. Cortez is expected to put in more time than he did in London last month, when he officiated Lewis' second-round knockout of Razor Ruddock. The judges will be Chuck Giampa, Jerry Roth and Dalby Shirley, all of Las Vegas.