LAS VEGAS -- Riddick Bowe and unbeaten Jorge Gonzalez, who are scheduled to fight for Bowe's World Boxing Organization title at the MGM Grand on June 17, staged a lively preview when a near brawl occurred during a news conference in a hotel restaurant.

The animosity between the two fighters dates to the 1987 Pan American Games in Indianapolis, when Gonzalez, representing Cuba, outpointed Bowe, 3-2.

When Gonzalez saw Bowe enter the room for a television interview yesterday, he charged the Maryland-based fighter, shoving Bowe aide Bernard Brooks out of the way. When Bowe came to his defense, Gonzalez hurled ice from a glass into Bowe's face.

Bowe threatened to throw a glass at the Cuban before the two managers, Rock Newman and Luis DeCubas, restored order.

"He's just a knucklehead," said Bowe. "I tried to ignore him, but he needs the attention by causing problems and playing mind games. He likes to think he can beat me by intimidation. He wants to be a gangster like Castro, but he's really a bully who can't fight."

DeCubas said Gonzalez was angered by comments Bowe had made about the Cuban's family. "It was mostly a matter of honor," the manager said.

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