Tyson's message to Bowe: Lose the weight

February 06, 1993|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe, on the eve of his first title defense against Michael Dokes, received a stinging message and warning from imprisoned former champion Mike Tyson.

At least, it was presented as the work of Iron Mike.

The statement, reportedly dictated by Tyson to co-manager Rory Hollway, criticized Bowe, his one-time Brooklyn neighbor, for being out of shape.

It was distributed during a news conference called by Tyson's promoter, Don King, to announce the signing of the Lennox Lewis-Tony Tucker championship match in Las Vegas, May 8, for Bowe's abandoned World Boxing Council title.

Tyson is serving a six-year term for a conviction of rape. He is appealing, and a hearing is set Feb. 15 in Indianapolis.

In the statement supposedly made by Tyson, he said to Bowe: "I've heard through the grapevine that you came in at 243 pounds. If it is so, I am ashamed of you. You should be ashamed of yourself to come into a championship fight at such an atrocious weight because so many people idolize you.

"If you continue this way, you will be ridiculed, mocked and belittled. The press will embarrass you in front of your family and friends.

"Remember, the championship isn't something you own. While it's yours, you must use it to the best of your ability. It's a shame, that one day when I get out, the two of us will have to fight. It will just make two classmates from the same neighborhood, millionaires.

"I believe you will do well because you are a consummate fighter. You will prevail [against Dokes] even though you are obese. Don't take anything personally. . . . Peace, Mike."

Cynics, including Bowe's manager, Rock Newman, suggested the tone of Tyson's statement sounded much like something King had written.

King, meanwhile, was busy hyping Lewis-Tucker and congratulating himself for out-bidding rival promoter Dan Duva for the fight.

"I'd like to thank Rock Newman for throwing that heirloom [Bowe's WBC belt] in the trash can," said King. "Now we have the best [Lewis] fighting the best challenger," he said, referring to Tucker, a King protege who is ranked No. 1 by the WBC.

Tight fit

The combined weight of Bowe (243) and Dokes (244) was only 1 3/4 pounds off the record for a heavyweight title fight set by Primo Carnera and Paolino Uzcudun 60 years ago.

They were declared "fit to fight" by New York boxing commissioner Randy Gordon.

"Yeah, but not each other," countered Boston reporter George Kimball.

"You're making too much of the weight," said Bowe's trainer, Eddie Futch. "If I thought it would make a difference, Riddick would weigh less."

Jaundiced eye

Bowe, who was thumbed in the eye by Evander Holyfield in their title fight in November, admitted that his training for Dokes was interrupted briefly by similar injuries in sparring against Bruce Seldon and King Ipitan.

Changing hands

Unbeaten heavyweight Michael Moorer, who once fought for promoter Bob Arum, recently signed with Lou Duva. He will fight former champion James "Bonecrusher" Smith in Atlantic City, Feb. 27, on ABC-TV.

Selling out

King is predicting that his multi-championship card in Mexico City, Feb. 20, will pack Aztec Stadium, producing a record fight crowd of 125,000.

Mexican hero Julio Cesar Chavez will be the principal draw, defending his 140-pound title against Greg Haugen. Junior middleweight champ Terry Norris battles Maurice Blocker, and Azumah Nelson will defend his junior lightweight belt against Gabriel Ruelas.

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