Riddick Bowe To Make Comeback Against Zoltán Petrányi In August
By Sean McDaniel: After three years away from boxing, former heavyweight champion of the world Riddick Bowe (42-1, 33 KOs) is planning on making another comeback against Zoltan Petranyi (40-20, 8 KOs) in a 10-round bout on September 12th, at the Krúdy Gyula Gimnázium, in Gyor, Hungary. According to boxing writer Steven Bunce, Bowe is already in training for his comeback bout.
Bowe, 41, hasn’t fought in over three years since defeating a small 5’11” Billy Zumbrun by a 10-round decision. At the time of the fight, Bowe weighed a hefty 280 lbs, and fought poorly throughout. In the 5th round, he was hurt by a right hand from Zumbrun and spent the better part of the round taking tremendous punishment along the ropes. Bowe, however, rallied and used his excellent jab to control the remainder of the fight, although he continued to periodically take big shots from Zumbrun until the end.
For those that saw Bowe against Zumbrun, many had hoped that Bowe wouldn’t continue on with his career, for it seemed clear that he no longer had the conditioning, youth or movement to contend against better heavyweights in the division. Zumbun, a C-level fighter at best, made an old Bowe look very beatable and it didn’t take a genius to figure out what would happen if Bowe was matched up with a better opponent in the top 10, one with power, movement and size.
After that bout, a lot of boxing writers felt that Bowe wouldn’t be returning to the sport, perhaps realizing that he wouldn’t have much of a chance against better opponents. However, it looks as if he’s interested once again with continuing his career, although against a very soft 42 year-old opponent in Petranyi.
From 1992 to 1993, Bowe was arguably the best heavyweight in the world, with wins over Evander Holyfield, Michael Dokes and Jess Ferguson during that time period. However, Bowe quickly began having problems with his conditioning, gaining a lot of weight and then having to take it off fast for his rematch with Holyfield in November 1993. The drastic weight lost led to him not performing at his best level, causing him to lose a 12-round majority decision to Holyfield. From there, Bowe found largely nothing but success, aside from a bout which was ruled a no-contest against Buster Mathis Jr. after Bowe tagged him while he was down in the 4th round, in an August 1994 bout.
Bowe did well until meeting up with Andrew Golota in July 1996, another fight in which Bowe came into having taken off weight far too quickly, leaving him weak from the rapid weight drain. Golota dominated most of the action, hitting Bowe frequently with hard jabs until the fight was stopped suddenly in the 7th when Golota landed a number of low blows, causing Golota to be disqualified by the referee. In the rematch held five months later in December 1996, the same thing occurred, only this time the fight was stopped in the 9th round with Golota being disqualified again for low blows. It wasn’t how the fight ended that was so bad for Bowe, it was how he had performed in both matches.
He had looked weak in both fights, nothing like he had four years earlier when he had first won the heavyweight title against Holyfield. It wasn’t that he was old, but rather more of a case of a fighter poorly conditioned and not ready to be boxing at a competitive level. Ideally, what Bowe needed then was to step away, get a good trainer, and slowly work his way back into shape the correct way. It probably could have been achieved rather easily, perhaps taking no more than five or six months. Instead, however, Bowe stepped away from the sport for seven years until finally making a comeback in September 2004 with a 2nd round TKO over journeyman Marcus Rhode.
In his initial comeback, I felt that Bowe could have possibly been a factor if he had taken an effort to trim down his physique the correct way by training properly and getting back down to the 240 to 250 lb region, but as it turned out, he fought both of his comeback fights way above that at 263 and 280 lbs. Now, I doubt he can be a factor even under the best of circumstances. He’s too old now, his reflexes likely diminished, and his power less than what it once was for him to challenge the younger heavyweights in the division.
Unlike Vitali Klitschko, who is getting a bump up to the top of the WBC due to him having retired as a champion in 2005, the same option wouldn’t be available for Bowe. In other words, he’d have to slowly work his way back into title contention, beating one good fighter after another, while watching his weight the entire to make sure he doesn’t balloon up into the stratosphere once again.
If he were to keep winning, fighting often as every two to three months, I can see him maybe getting a title shot in two to three years, if that. But, I doubt he’ll be in any kind of shape to fight by then, and would probably have taken a lot of punishment along the way, leaving him worse off than he was previously.