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"By virtue of Riddick Bowe's ability and charisma," the man was saying, "he's the best heavyweight going and that will almost assure that he and Mike Tyson will get it on by June of 1996."
The man speaking was Rock Newman, Bowe's manager and buddy, and off what the fighter had shown the last year and a half, it was suggested that Rock take a saliva test, a Scholastic Assessment Test and immediately head for a confessional.
Saturday night, though, Newman proved prophetic: Bowe, the World Boxing Organization champ, hammered Jorge Luis Gonzalez into submission at 1:50 of the sixth round. This, by no means, qualifies as a victory for the ages, Gonzalez being little more than an advanced amateur. But as Riddick said himself, "I wanted to recapture what I once had [when he defeated Evander Holyfield for the unified title in November of 1992]." He did that.
Bowe was apologetic as he continued, "I should have conducted myself like a champion [the last few years], but I didn't. I'm going to be that way from now on."
Bowe won every round easily, landed punches on a 3-1 ratio and could bounce a right hand off Gonzalez' head anytime he desired. As usual, HBO did yeoman work, not only with the fight but with the features and banter leading up to it. All hands, that is, except George Foreman, who once again spoke out of both sides of his mouth.
Foreman, the World Boxing Association champ, did caution his fellow heavies, "Join me and don't mess with Riddick Bowe." If viewers thought Big George was kidding, they don't know this lovable con artist, who says he's going to fight Bill Cosby next.
* A jockey named Rene Douglas won four straight races at Calder (Fla.) Racecourse recently, which is no big deal until it is noted that three of them were $100,000 stakes events touted as Calder's "June Jam." Yeah, but can he hit the three-pointer?
* The men's tennis team at Stanford won 27 straight matches on the way to its 13th NCAA team title this spring and there were no seniors on the squad. The last time the Cardinal went undefeated was 1978 when they were led by some freshman named John McEnroe.
Still on tennis, something's definitely amiss when a team loses all four singles matches, as the Texas women did in the NCAA title tournament, yet still captures the crown by taking five doubles matches from Florida. When did they start having more doubles than singles in collegiate competition?
* There's an outfit called the Professional Road Running Organization and it has selected 14 of the best races conducted around the country for its series that will yield big prize money for those proving best over the long haul. By blitzing the Bolder Boulder 10K in 27:52 recently, Kenyan Josphat Machuka climbed to the top of the points standings with 144 points in three races. Delillah Asiago of Kenya and Tatiana Pozdnyakova of the Ukraine lead the women after two races with 100 points apiece. There is no American male in the top 10, David Mora of Indiana running 11th and Jody Hawkins of Texas in eighth among the women. Race No. 5 on the circuit is the Steamboat Classic 4-miler in Peoria, Ill., Saturday.
* Saturday, during the third round of the U.S. Open, only three of the best golfers on the planet were able to break par at windy Shinnecock Hills on Long Island. So what did the local stations show on their 11 o'clock sportscasts later on? Not guys hacking away at three-foot high fescue grass and carding triple bogeys, but a hole-in-one, two chip-ins and another stiff approach to the pin as though the joint was a pitch-and-putt course. If the network feed doesn't illustrate the story accurately, it should not be run.
Meanwhile, over on Fox, the Stanley Cup finals started Saturday and Fox has been saying all along what a splendid job it was going to do on hockey. Through the first 25 minutes of the Detroit-New Jersey opener, scoring chances were almost nil until the Red Wings made a big bid and goalie Martin Brodeur of the Devils made a spectacular save, which the naked eye could not pick up. Replay? Forget it. Fox showed a couple of earlier heavy hits along the boards as if body checks show up on the scoreboard. Weak.
* After the first seven stops in the IndyCar World Series, four of which sold out, just two points separate Robby Gordon, Paul Tracy, Scott Pruett, Bobby Rahal and Al Unser Jr. for positions 2 through 6 in the standings. Indianapolis 500 winner Jacques Villeneuve is about five red lights up the road as No. 1. There are 17 races on the tour.
* For the first time in 13 years, there wasn't a Swede in the top 10 of tennis a short time back. But before anyone could demand a recount, Magnus Larsson rushed out and made the final of a tournament in Spain, then the semis of the French Open to wrest No. 10.
* Baseball All-Star Game balloting must really be dragging. MCI Communication Corp. has been secured as a polling place with a toll-free number (1-800-978-VOTE), and Internet users accessing ESPNET SportsZone or Prodigy can join in on the online balloting. Years ago, newspapers used to gather up the numbers, double and triple the totals of the homeboys and send them on to the league offices.