Bowe decks Holyfield in 8th Knocked down in 6th, he rebounds to win

November 05, 1995|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,SUN STAFF

LAS VEGAS -- Riddick Bowe and Evander Holyfield, genuine friends outside the ring, fought like mortal enemies at Caesars Palace last night.

But early in the eighth round of a brutal, nonstop battle, Bowe left Holyfield dangling helplessly on the ropes and referee Joe Cortez signaled an end after 58 seconds.

It was a spectacular ending to the third classic fight between these two. Bowe had been floored for the first time in his career in the sixth round by a smashing left hook. But Holyfield, saying he was "bone tired," could not finish the job.

Bowe, who raised his record to 38-1 with 32 knockouts, wore down Holyfield (31-3) with a consistent body attack.

"The body shots took their toll," said the winner, "I could hear him wincing."

The game Georgian appeared to have the taller and heavier Bowe in danger again in the opening seconds of Round 8, but left his jaw exposed for an overhand right.

Holyfield crumbled to the floor with a dazed expression on his face. By sheer willpower, he regained his feet, only to walk into another barrage of head-jarring blows that made Cortez's decision unavoidable.

Bowe is recognized as champion by the World Boxing Organization, but Holyfield had said he would not accept that title if he won. If Bowe had lost, the WBO would have had to declare the title vacant.

Bowe said he sensed the fight was over once Holyfield hit the canvas. "When he stayed down that long without recovering, I knew I could get him," said Bowe.

Next in line is probably England's Lennox Lewis, the former World Boxing Council champion who defeated him in the 1988 Olympics. Lewis was a ringside observer last night.

In November 1993, Bowe beat the then-undefeated Holyfield in a 12-round decision to win the title. But Holyfield regained his crown the following year in a match that will be forever DTC remembered by the bizarre appearance of the "Fan Man" in the seventh round.

This time, there were no distractions, only a classic fight that kept the crowd of 12,000 in a constant uproar.

A 3 1/2 -to-1 underdog, Holyfield scored the first telling combination of the fight in the opening minute. He used swarming tactics to beat Bowe to the punch and made him clinch after landing a solid hook.

Bowe closed the round throwing heavy punches, but they were mostly off target, and Holyfield won the first round convincingly.

Bowe continued to stalk Holyfield in Round 2, but had trouble landing combinations. He ducked under a whistling right by Holyfield. Bowe had more success fighting inside, punishing his rival's ribs with several hard hooks.

The round ended in wild fashion as they fought several seconds after the bell with Holyfield doing the most damage. It seemed to rally the crowd in Holyfield's favor.

The action picked up appreciably in the third round with Bowe rocking Holyfield twice with short uppercuts.

The furious pace continued in the fourth round. Bowe scored with a right cross, but was forced to hold when Holyfield countered with four solid punches. It was Bowe who was forced to buy time after several heated exchanges.

Bowe trapped Holyfield on the ropes and landed two ripping body shots. But he followed with a hook that was blatantly below the belt. Referee Joe Cortez halted the action and deducted a point from Bowe for fouling.

Holyfield was allowed a 15-second respite, but seemed effected by the low blow and was staggered twice in the closing minute.

But the three-time world champ showed his amazing recuperative powers in Round 6 when he electrified the crowd by flooring Bowe with a classic left hook. It was the first time in his pro career Bowe had been decked.

Bowe fell on his back and shakily regained his feet. Holyfield then cornered Bowe but failed to land another damaging punch. By the end of the round, it was Holyfield who showed signs of fatigue.

Both fighters landed jarring blows in the seventh round while maintaining an incredible pace for heavyweights. They appeared be enjoying the mayhem, touching gloves when the bell sounded.

But the fight ended with shocking suddenness in the eighth round when Bowe caught Holyfield flush on the chin with a sweeping right hand.

Both fighters were guaranteed $8 million, but Bowe could increase his purse to $10 million if pay-per-view receipts reach a certain level.

TVKO officials were expecting as many as 800,000 homes to buy the fight.

Orders increased rapidly following the postponement of the Mike Tyson-Buster Mathis match at Caesars Palace, which had been scheduled to be shown on the Fox network.

In an earlier bout, Orlando Canizales (42-2-1), of Laredo, Texas, made a quick defense of his International Boxing Council junior featherweight title by stopping Julio Portillo (14-5-1), of Mexico, at 2:36 of the second round.

There were three knockdowns in the wild second round. First, Canizales dropped the taller Portillo with a short right. But the Mexican came off the canvas swinging and staggered the champion.

Referee Richie Steele gave Canizales a standing eight count. Seconds later, Canizales decked Portillo again. This time, he got up on rubbery legs and Steele signaled it was over.

Unbeaten WBO junior featherweight champion Marco Barrera (39-0), of Mexico, solidified his reputation as one of the best young talents in boxing by stopping Eddie Croft (22-3-1), of San Mateo, Mexico, at 36 seconds of the seventh round.

Barrera, 21, dominated the fight from the opening bell and staggered Croft several times with five-punch combinations. Croft was helpless on the ropes when referee Jay Nady intervened.

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