NEW YORK -- One of the ugliest, most violent riots in boxing history erupted at Madison Square Garden last night after former heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe won by disqualification at 2: 33 of the seventh round over previously unbeaten Andrew Golota.
The Polish native had points deducted for low blows in the fourth and sixth rounds and another in the seventh before the fight was stopped after a fourth low blow.
A 10-1 underdog, Golota had out-fought Bowe in every round before the shocking ending ignited a series of fights in and out of the ring. With Bowe's manager, Rock Newman, shouting obscenities at Golota, Bernard Brooks, a member of Bowe's entourage, belted Golota across the face with what appeared to be a walkie-talkie. When Golota's corner responded, the fight spilled out of the ring into the media section. Soon, skirmishes erupted throughout the crowd of 11,252, with Golota's fans pouring out of the balcony to join the battle.
Said police spokeswoman Kathleen Kelly: "There was a confirmed riot there, that's all I know."
One of the casualties was veteran cornerman Lou Duva, who was working with Golota. Duva, 74, experienced chest pains after getting caught up in the melee and was taken to NYU Medical Center for examination. His condition was reported as stable.
A spokesman for the Midtown South Precinct reported that 10 arrests were made in the arena and at least eight policemen were injured trying to stem the riot. Seven injured spectators were transported to St. Vincent's Hospital to be examined.
"This was the product of a few people who acted like criminals," Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said after arriving at the Garden.
Neither fighter was available after the bout. A news conference was scheduled at Madison Square Garden for 11 a.m. today.
"He's a decent fighter," Newman said of Golota, "but he's a dirty and nasty fighter."
"Andrew has a habit of looping his punches and Bowe kept pulling his hands down," said Roger Bloodworth, one of Golota's cornermen. "He [Bowe] hit Andrew behind the head three or four times and was warned only one time. . . . I'm not going to argue who started it. It happened. This is a disgrace."
The bizarre ending helped to salvage Bowe's credibility as a serious challenger to Mike Tyson. But weighing a record-high 252 pounds that robbed him of his speed and skill, Bowe was simply fortunate to have escaped this near-devastating defeat.
Golota had entered the fight 28-0, but his victories had been attained against nondescript opponents. But Golota, showing no respect for Bowe, repeatedly staggered the former champion, whose last bout was more than eight months ago. Had Golota used more discretion, he would have scored a stunning upset.
Referee Wayne Kelly had repeatedly warned Golota for hitting Bowe below the belt, and penalized him three points. Twice the action was stopped to allow Bowe time to recover. But in the seventh round, Kelly waved an end to the scheduled 12-round match. And then, pandemonium.
"When Bowe went down from that first foul in the fourth round, the referee should have started a count," said ex-New York boxing commissioner Randy Gordon. "If Bowe doesn't get up by 10, the fight's over. You can't let him stay down.
"I thought that was Kelly's only mistake. He was right to repeatedly warn and penalize Golota. Golota's corner should have had him stop throwing body shots after the sixth round. He was winning big. But Bowe looked like he was trying to win an Oscar the way he was stretched out on the floor."
Golota looked more like the favorite in the first round when he repeatedly beat Bowe to the punch and stunned him with several clubbing rights.
Bowe (40-1) tried to take the initiative in the second round, crowding Golota and firing uppercuts.
Golota was warned for hitting low early in the fourth round. Bowe showed the first signs of fatigue and Golota pressed his advantage. A left and a right sent Bowe flying into his corner.
Golota let him escape. But a subsequent flagrant foul dropped Bowe to the canvas. Kelly immediately deducted a point from Golota, and, after several minutes, Bowe rose to finish the round.
Bowe was again in trouble in Round 5 when Golota caught him on the ropes with a barrage of punches. He managed to stay erect, but Golota was piling up a sizable lead on the judges' cards.
Golota had another point deducted in the sixth round for what appeared to be a borderline low punch.
That led to the ugly seventh round.
On the undercard, IBF junior lightweight champion Arturo Gatti (26-1, 22 KOs) of Jersey City made short work of journeyman Feliciano Correa (15-6).
Former junior lightweight and lightweight champion Hector "Macho" Camacho, fighting for the second time in 19 days, disposed of Craig Houk of Greensburg, Ind. Camacho (61-3-1) won a close decision over Roberto Duran in Atlantic City on June 22.
Pub Date: 7/12/96