Bowe rematch with Holyfield pushed back to September


NEW YORK -- Rock Newman mapped out plans yesterday for Riddick Bowe's next two defenses of his International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Association titles and announced that Bowe's anticipated rematch with former champion Evander Holyfield has been put on hold until Sept. 10.

Newman, not to be upstaged by rival Don King, who was holding a cross-town news conference to promote the Lennox Lewis-Tony Tucker heavyweight match in Las Vegas on May 8 for the World Boxing Council title, said the Holyfield bout at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas would be delayed to avoid possible conflicts with the NBA Finals in June and the baseball All-Star Game in July.

Newman said he will keep the unbeaten Bowe busy with a May 22 bout on Home Box Office against either Jesse Ferguson or highly ranked Alex Garcia.

Holyfield, in turn, will keep fit with a June fight against a yet-unnamed opponent.

"We'd like to hold Bowe's May fight in the Washington area," said Newman, suggesting RFK Stadium, the D.C. Convention Center and the Capital Centre as possible sites. "Washington has enthusiastically embraced Riddick."

Bowe, a New York native, lives in Fort Washington in Prince George's County.

Newman, who rejected lucrative bids from casinos to stage Bowe's first title defense against Michael Dokes at Madison Square Garden last month, said he also is entertaining offers from Portland, Ore., and Caesars Palace in Atlantic City, N.J.

"Riddick trained for Holyfield in Bend, Ore., and got a lot of wealthy Northwest people interested in promoting him," Newman said.

Newman spent the early morning hours yesterday in his hotel suite with Holyfield's business managers, Shelly Finkel and rap star Hammer, Caesars Palace sports director Rich Rose and TVKO/HBO president Seth Abraham to finalize plans for Bowe-Holyfield II.

Holyfield, who discarded George Benton as his principal trainer after losing his stirring battle with Bowe last November, will be trained by Emanuel Steward, who is best known for tutoring multiple champion Thomas Hearns.

"We think the rematch will be a bigger attraction than the first one," said Abraham. "Most of the media called it the best heavyweight title match in the past 20 years.

"People don't remember fights. They remember classic rounds, and the 10th round of Bowe and Holyfield, with all its ebb and flow, was unforgettable."

Abraham also supported Newman's offering unranked Ferguson as an HBO opponent for Bowe in May.

"Something wonderful happened to Ferguson," said Newman. "He became a real-life Rocky after the way he destroyed [Ray] Mercer, who was supposed to be next in line for Bowe."

Ferguson is favored as a title foe over Garcia, who rejected a $1 million offer from Newman before Bowe settled on fighting Dokes, who was beaten in the first round.

"I think Garcia's people are more realistic now," said Newman, who will choose Bowe's next opponent within a few days.

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