Rock-and-Riddick show isn't very funny


Quickly, name the heavyweight fight of present-day vintage you think the public can't wait to see: A confrontation of epic proportions such as the Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling return, Louis vs. Billy Conn, I and II, the Jack Dempsey vs. Gene Tunney rematch, the first Rocky Marciano vs. Jersey Joe Walcott battle or any of the Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier trilogy.

Tough assignment, right?

Yet with each passing day, promoters, managers, trainers, fighters, cut men and all manner of fistic hangers-on tout any number of matchups as sure-fire, grade-A hits.

"Hey, you couldn't find a stadium big enough [to accommodate the crowd]," is one description.

"The first billion-dollar fight on pay-per-view" is another.

Hyping a fight is one thing; clearly, anything goes. But to suggest any mix and match involving no less than 10 fighters is what fans are clamoring for is an out-and-out misrepresentation, a distortion, a fantasy of the first order.

The well-known comedy team of Newman & Bowe, also known as Rock and Riddick to close friends, were on the horn yesterday attempting to talk up "Big Daddy" Bowe's upcoming debacle with Cuban cuckoo Jorge Luis Gonzalez in Las Vegas June 17 on HBO. It was mentioned just a couple of times in passing despite the fact Gonzalez is unbeaten in 23 fights (22 KO's) and once beat up on Riddick when they were amateurs.

"I was a 19-year-old kid with no international experience then," said Bowe. "Thing that surprised me is I shouldn't have been able to hit him, but I caused a standing eight-count against him."

They're calling this one "Mortal Enemies" and Jorge Luis has been doing his part running around like a banshee talking about all the unpleasant things he's going to do to the World Boxing Organization champ Bowe. He refers to himself as a "lion," Riddick as a "hyena." Typical pre-fight badinage.

"He's a bully," says Newman, "and you know how bullies are. They've been known to back up when someone calls them out. I'm really concerned about Gonzalez pulling something and the fight not coming off."

Good way to drum interest in a fight, Rock.

But, as usual, listeners wanted the latest update on what's going on among the heavyweights, behind-the-scenes division, and Newman was only too glad to peddle his and his fighter's theories. The old line about not knowing the players without a scorecard applies here.

Besides Bowe and his WBO title, George Foreman is the International Boxing Federation champ while Oliver McCall and Bruce Seldon have the World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association belts, respectively.

At various stages of challenge are former champions Evander Holyfield, Michael Moorer and Lennox Lewis while Tommy Morrison and Razor Ruddock are due to collide soon and Axel Schulz is in the picture for having beaten Foreman but getting robbed of the decision.

What dictates what happens in about 90 percent of upcoming situations is "what suits Don King best," says Newman. "King has bought and paid for the organizations (3) and he's holding them hostage. Besides, he has Mike Tyson.

"I talked to Mike in the jailhouse before he got out in late March and it was a very intellectual discussion. But I don't see Mike doing anything in his out-of-prison life that he spoke of in our talk. Tyson certainly didn't need King because of the relationship that had developed between them.

"That's why it was such a surprise when he got out and went with King. Mike needed Don like he needed another rape conviction. I think he would have been cast in a different light as far as the public is concerned if he had gone his own way. From what I've seen, he seems to have gone back to the habits and so on of the former Tyson. He's made all the wrong moves regarding his career."

The fact remains, however, not a whole lot of any substance figures to occur until Tyson conducts his walkover against woefully outclassed Peter McNeeley in August, then chooses his next opponent for what figures to be a November match.

So what are all these other people to do while the Tyson saga unfolds?

"We have several ways to go," says Newman, but Bowe kicked a hole in some of the proposals by suggesting champs Foreman, McCall and Seldon are "jokes: Foreman won't fight anybody, Seldon can't beat anyone in the top 10 and McCall, well, I guess he's all right."

Newman continued: "I'm entertaining all possibilities," mentioning he's talking to Schulz's people and Morrison's people while Bowe favors Holyfield "in a third fight to break the tie between us" and Foreman (obviously for the biggest payday).

But Foreman has signed to fight the man he took the title from, Moorer, while the IBF is saying he has to fight Schulz. Holyfield is hooked up with promoter Dan Duva, "who's not about to do anything for us," says Newman, so the Morrison-Ruddock winner becomes a possibility if a guy wants to remain active.

Copyright © 2020, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad