LAS VEGAS — Fight fodder:
LAS VEGAS - Perhaps Riddick Bowe was guilty of slight overstatement when he informed, "I'm the new boss in town."
The unbeaten heavyweight, who now makes his home in Fort Washington, had been impressive in blasting out Bert Cooper in two rounds. But he was speaking immediately after Evander Holyfield had starched Buster Douglas and taken the heavyweight crown.
He must have realized the foolishness of his statement, because he amended it to read, "I am definitely one of the top heavyweights to contend with. I'm in the top 10."
He probably is.
Cooper can be a tough customer. He gave Bowe's big rival from Olympic days, Ray Mercer, a devil of a time before succumbing in a 12-rounder. So, naturally, Riddick says, "I want Mercer. He's all mine."
Cooper, whose first loss came at the hands of Baltimore's Reggie Gross several years ago, actually won the first round. Bowe was doing a measure job.
Late in the second round, Riddick planted a right on his temple and Coops did a dance. He tumbled to the mat, got up, took a half-dozen punches and kissed the canvas at 2:59 of the round.
He could not be saved by the bell and was counted out, the outcome being called a TKO at 3:09 of the second round.
"I got him drunk, then mugged him," said Rowe, who is 20-0 with 17 blastouts.
Andrew Maynard's return to the ring after his first career loss to Bobby Czyz in June was a win, but not a rousing success.
The ex-Olympic gold medal winner from Laurel drubbed Keith McMurray, a lad who started his career in Baltimore six years ago with a loss to Reggie Lee.
Maynard (13-1) won just about all the rounds contested, eight, but he was wild and sloppy after decking his foe in the opening heat. "I was just tight and I lost my speed and timing after the first round. Maybe the altitude had something to do with it," he theorized.
Maynard described himself as "being between boxing styles right now. I was a good pressure boxer as an amateur, but that was for three rounds.
"What happens after that, in round 4-5-6? In the pros, you fight 12 rounds and I know I can't keep pressuring and throwing a hundred punches [per round] that long.
"I've always been an attack sort of fighter and because of it I overlooked a lot of things. But I wasn't as bad as I looked. The guy was awkward and he made me look awkward." McMurray, who has lost seven of his last eight bouts over 11 months, drew a 45-day suspension for obvious reasons.
One of the favorite pre-fight questions was directed at Billy Douglas, ex-middleweight and Buster's father: "Did Buster cry a lot as a kid?"
Leave it to old Jimbo: In a pre-fight predictions story, 33 writers were asked their pick and 21 answered Douglas, 10 took Holyfield and two were undecided. Los Angeles columnist Jim Murray explained, "I don't see how either one can win it."
While Steve Wynn laid out $40 million for the fight - $24 million to Douglas, $8 million to Holyfield and $8 million to promotion, here's how he recouped: Rebroad-cast (Showtime) and foreign TV rights - $5 million; closed circuit - $1.5 million; merchandising - $1 million; pay-per-view - $15 million; fight gate - $9.5 million. Which does not make the nut. But as Wynn says, what the fight loses will be made up at the casino tables. More than $100 million is bet each month at the Mirage tables. This long weekend alone, the joint figures to do $60 million.
The actual paydays of the fighters were: Douglas, $19,450,000 (after his $4 million settlement with promoter Don King); Holyfield, $7,484,750.
A preliminary pay-per-view report had more than a million homes paying $35 to see the show, which made Mirage impresario Wynn deliriously happy. Chances are he's only going to lose about $5 million. Which is no more than a good night at the baccarat table if a couple of sheiks are in town.