Bowe Defeats Pukall – Boxing News
By William Mackay: Making his third fight in his comeback, a badly overweight former WBA/WBC/WBO/IBF heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe (43-1, 33 KOs) struggled to defeat German journeyman Gene Pukall (14-13-2, 12 KOs) by an eight-round decision on Saturday night at SAP-Arena, in Mannheim, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Bowe, now 41 and old and grizzled looking, knocked Pukall down in the 5th round with a powerful left hook.
However, what was worrisome was that Bowe was stunned on several occasions by Pukall, a fighter that had lost three out of his last four fights, with all three by knockouts, going into Saturday night’s fight with Bowe. It reflected badly on Bowe that he, too, couldn’t take out a fighter of the poor quality of Pukall. Bowe showed a few flashes of his former brilliance, most notably his jab, which he used often in the fight to control the short, 6’0″ Pukall.
Aside from his jab, Bowe only rarely was able to land his combinations, often missing with his right hand which was slow looking. Though at times, Bowe was able to put together some nice combinations and showing some of his former glory, it appeared to take a lot of energy out of him to do this.
After throwing combinations, Bowe often needed rest periods in which he had to rely on his jab to continue controlling the action. Fortunately for him, Pukall wasn’t skilled or powerful enough to take advantage of Bowe’s poor conditioning, because if he had been in with a halfway decent heavyweight, Bowe likely would have been taken out.
This is the third fight in Bowe’s comeback in which he has come in grossly overweight. In his two prior bouts before Saturday, Bowe came into the fight at 263 and 280. During his prime, 16 years ago, Bowe fought at 235 and was fast and lean.
At 271, it would appear that he’s at least 30-40 pounds overweight. Obviously, it Bowe is serious about his comeback, he’s going to need to strip off most, if not all, of that extra baggage if he’s to have even a small chance at making any progress in the heavyweight division. As things are now, he would likely be soundly beaten by even the bottom fighters of the top 15.
Bowe primarily used his jab in the 1st round, using double jabs to keep Pukall on the outside. Immediately it was clear that Bowe was only a shell of his former self, as his once good speed was largely gone. When he would attempt to throw a right hand, he came up short more often than not due to the time that it would take to get to the target.
Pukall would often be well out of range by the time that Bowe’s slow right hand would get to where he previously was. No doubt a product of Bowe’s now diminished reflexes. In the 2nd round, Pukall landed some hard right and left hands, snapping Bowe’s head back badly.
Bowe, as in the previous round, was mostly limited to the use of his jab, missing when he would attempt to land his right. By the 3rd round, Bowe was already tiring out and looking exhausted. However, he still had his jab which he used constantly to score points against Pukall. For his part, Pukall landed several good right hands in the round, making it close.
In the 4th round, Pukall landed a big right hand at the start of the round, staggering Bowe and causing him to lose his footing for a brief second. Bowe went back to jabbing, but Pukall succeeded in landing several more big right hands in the next few moments.
Late in the 5th round, Bowe landed a grazing right uppercut followed by a powerful left hook that dropped Pukall to the canvas. There wasn’t enough time left in the round for Bowe to add to the knockdown, although it’s doubtful he could have anyway, because Bowe was often exhausted after throwing combinations.
Bowe continued his jabbing clinic in the 6th round, driving his jab into the face of Pukall again and again without stop. In the 7th round, Bowe was beginning to look sloppy, tired and disinterested in the fight. By this time, Pukall, too, was exhausted and doing little other than taking jabs to the face.
Bowe attempted a few lunging right hands but missed badly each time and looking 100 years-old. Bowe finished relatively strong, jabbing constantly in the 8th and landing a couple of ugly, looping right hands that were terribly slow.