Bowe wins with quick KO Dokes beaten 2:19 into first round

February 07, 1993|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe and title challenger Michael Dokes share the same birthday, Aug. 10.

But last night, Bowe, 25, proved he is just approaching his fighting prime, while Dokes, 34, is heading for boxing's ash heap.

Bowe, who as a youngster in the crime-infested section of Brownsville in Brooklyn, N.Y., dreamed of one day fighting a championship bout at Madison Square Garden, made a triumphant homecoming by destroying Dokes after 2:19 of the first round.

It was as much of a mismatch as the gamblers, who made the unbeaten champion (33-0, 28 KOs) a 16-1 favorite, had anticipated.

There was a visible layer of flab hanging over Dokes' trunks as he came out for the opening bell.

The fight was less than two minutes old when Bowe staggered him with a combination. Another savage flurry sent the challenger reeling against the ropes.

Although Dokes' knee never hit the canvas, referee Joe Santarpia gave him a standing 8-count.

Bowe never allowed his wounded rival to escape. He caught Dokes with at least 20 unanswered punches, one sending Dokes' mouthpiece flying.

Showing unusual courage, Dokes refused to go down. But Santarpia decided that he was in danger and waved an end to the bout at 2:19.

The crowd erupted in protest, and Dokes shook a glove in disapproval at the referee.

But Santarpia, who has worked more than 50 title bouts, defended his action.

"The ropes saved him from going down," Santarpia said. "I looked in Dokes' eyes. He was gone. He was out. His eyes were glassy. He took over 20 straight punches. He was reeling all over the place."

Dokes and his co-manager, Sterling McPherson, unleashed a verbal attack on Santarpia in the post-fight interview. McPherson had to be restrained by New York State Athletic Commission chairman Randy Gordon from physically assaulting the referee.

"This is for the heavyweight championship of the world," McPherson screamed. "You wouldn't even give my man a standing 8-count before stopping it. That was terrible.

"This was a case for the referee getting caught up in all the media hype that Michael Dokes wasn't worthy of fighting for the title. He acted impulsively."

Dokes, expectedly, agreed.

"I was still in full control and ready to fire," said the loser, now adorned in a homburg and fur coat. "He [Santarpia] never asked me where I was, in New York, the Garden, what round it was, whether I was black or white, anything to determine if I was coherent and capable of continuing. I just feel stupid because I requested this guy to be the referee."

Asked if he was hurt, Dokes said, "Sure, I was buckled. But there were only 41 seconds left in the round. The way this ended, there ought to be an investigation."

Perhaps, the real investigation should be why Dokes, who, in his last major fight against Razor Ruddock here three years ago, lay unconscious for nine minutes before being revived, was allowed to challenge for Bowe's WBA and IBF title belts.

PD Rumors circulated the week of the fight that the Ohio native had

suffered a rib injury, leading to his curtailing training on Wednesday.

But the athletic commission declared him physically fit, and Dokes walked away with $750,000 for his brief encounter.

Bowe, who had promised to jump right on Dokes if the opportunity existed, said Santarpia should have ended the mismatch even sooner.

"I knew Dokes would be right in front of me," he said. "I expected to knock him out. If the referee didn't stop it when he did, we'd be going to a funeral next week."

But Bowe did not rob Dokes of his sense of humor.

Asked where he was going now, he said, "Disneyland."

Bowe's manager, Rock Newman, was uncertain what was next for his charismatic champion.

"We had spent $10,000 getting posters ready for our fight with Ray Mercer in Atlantic City, May 8," said Newman. "But now we have to start thinking in a new direction."

Mercer lost a $1.5 million guarantee last night when he was soundly thrashed by 35-year-old journeyman Jesse Ferguson on the undercard.

Newman mentioned former champion George Foreman, Tommy Morrison and England's Frank Bruno as possible substitutes. A rematch with Evander Holyfield, whom Bowe whipped to win the title last November, is also being considered.

Newman said returning to the Garden is also a possibility, although Caesars Palace in Las Vegas has a separate promotional deal with Bowe. Last night's fight attracted 16,332 fans and a record gross of $1.603 million.

Bowe, who won medals and trophies in the Garden in his days as a four-time New York Golden Gloves champion, earned an estimated $7 million for last night's work. It is part of the six-bout, $100 million deal he signed with HBO/TVKO.

Bowe weighed 243, eight pounds heavier than for his fight with Holyfield. Dokes weighed 244.

A hotly anticipated showdown with Lennox Lewis, who stopped Bowe in the super-heavyweight 1988 Olympic final, has been put on indefinite hold.

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