Bowe is already pounds ahead for Holyfield rematch BOXING

September 09, 1993|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- Former heavyweight king Evander Holyfield, a sculptured body-builder, has long been characterized as an inflated light-heavyweight.

But it was the growing girth of Riddick Bowe, the Brooklyn heavyweight who captured Holyfield's undisputed title last November, that drew more concern yesterday as the two sized up each other for their Nov. 6 rematch in Las Vegas.

For his successful title challenge last November, a brutally-waged 12-rounder that was voted the "fight of the year," Bowe scaled 235, or 30 pounds heavier than Holyfield. But the weight differential between the fighters has grown dramatically in 10 months.

The tight-fitting black shorts Bowe wore to an assembly at Frederick Douglass Junior High -- his "adopted" school in Washington's inner city -- emphasized the battle the champion is waging with his waistline. Asked for an official weight, Bowe, who seems intent on emulating Big George Foreman, playfully mumbled '2-what?'

His manager, Rock Newman, guessed 255. Attorney and financial adviser Jeff Fried seemed closest to the truth at 270. No worry, insists Bowe, who weighed 243 for his recent title defense, a two-round knockout of Jesse Ferguson at RFK Stadium last May.

"This has been the longest layoff of my pro career, and I've had an opportunity to just relax. If I was close to 240 now, I wouldn't work that hard in training camp. This gives me a reason to really push myself."

Holyfield said he will not be misled again by Bowe's condition. "That was my mistake in our first fight," said the former champion, who turns 31 next month. "I remembered Riddick from the days when he was getting ready for the [1988] Olympics and sparred with me. Conditioning was never his strong suit. I thought that if he had to get down in the trenches, he'd run out of gas and quit. So when we fought for the title, I decided to fight him toe-to-toe, figuring I'd wear him down. I thought my added experience and stamina would be the difference.

"It wasn't the smart way to fight him, but I was looking for the easy way in trying to knock him out. But the plan backfired on me, and it turned out to be one of Riddick's most gutsy performances."

Losing both his undisputed title and unblemished record as a pro taught Holyfield a painful lesson.

"You can't think the other man won't be at his best on fight night," he said. "I have to prepare for this rematch thinking Bowe will be at his very best. That's why I'm ignoring the way he looks today."

Bowe, 26, says Holyfield is incapable of changing his "game plan" for the rematch at Caesars Palace.

"Evander is a warrior and only knows how to fight one way," he said. "I'm going to make him fight, and once I hit him a good shot, he'll resort to his usual brawling style. The only difference this time is that I'll knock him out inside seven rounds."

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