3 from Bowe's camp face charges in post-fight riot Tainted win clouds ex-champ's title shot

July 13, 1996|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,SUN STAFF

NEW YORK -- A day after a full-scale riot broke out following the controversial end to the bout between Riddick Bowe and Andrew Golota at Madison Square Garden, three members of Bowe's entourage have been charged with assault and/or reckless endangerment by engaging in the bloody post-fight melee inside and outside the ring.

On Thursday night, Bowe was awarded a tainted victory after a seventh-round disqualification of the unheralded Golota, who had dominated the bout, but was penalized for four low blows. Over a dozen spectators and peacemakers were injured and 16 were arrested in the melee that followed.

New York police commissioner Howard Safir, who sent 150 officers to stem the riot after the Garden security staff of 120 proved inadequate, identified the members of Bowe's camp as Steven Wright, William Wright and Jason Harris.

Safir said his investigation of this trio "shows they have felony records."

Rock Newman, who serves as Bowe's manager and promoter, said he was fully cooperating with the police. In an early morning visit to the Midtown Precinct yesterday, he identified several of the post-fight brawlers who were shown on video tape attacking Golota.

"The police have requested that I have these people turn themselves in expeditiously, but to my knowledge, no one directly involved with me, Bowe or Spencer Promotions [the umbrella corporation bearing Newman's brother's name] has a criminal record."

Immediately after the fight, Newman pointed and screamed at Golota. Reports in the New York tabloids suggested Newman's angry post-fight actions helped inflame the donnybrook. But the Washington-based promoter absolved himself of any blame.

"I was skewered in the press," Newman said. "Things that were written about me that might make people think I was Satan or closest thing to him.

"I did not precipitate or in any way encourage what happened, nor do I take responsibility for other people's actions.

"I simply did what many, many fight managers have done throughout the years. I screamed at the man who had disabled my fighter. I felt he could endanger somebody's life the way he was fighting. He has a history of being a dirty fighter, including biting opponents, but this time I thought his tactics were premeditated."

Golota's repeated below-the-belt punches prompted deductions of points in the fourth, sixth and seventh rounds and near-hysteria by Bowe's wife, Judy, seated at ringisde with their six children.

The fourth and final blow to the groin area left Bowe writhing in pain in mid-ring. His attorney, Jeff Fried, climbed through the ropes protected him with his body before help arrived.

"It [the riot] was a very ugly sight to behold," said Newman. "On behalf of myself, Riddick Bowe, I wholeheartedly apologize for any pain, grief or embarrassment anyone may have suffered by people behaving in an uncivilized manner. Whatever Golota might have said or done, did not justify what occurred."

Golota's principal cornerman, Lou Duva, 74, suffered chest pains during and after the fight. He was carried from the crowded ring on a stretcher and hospitalized. Duva was released from the hospital yesterday afternoon after doctors determined that the defibrillator implanted in his chest went off. Doctors said he did not have a heart attack.

Golota, who was disqualified by referee Wayne Kelly with 27 seconds left in the seventh round, sustained deep gashes to the head after being assaulted by someone identified as a supporter of Bowe, who pummeled him with a walkie-talkie.

Bowe, a former champion, had more than his pride injured by the Polish upstart. Newman said his millionaire fighter was still experiencing severe abdominal pain yesterday as a result of Golota's illegal punches.

Bowe, who weighed a career-high 252 pounds, returned to his home in Fort Washington, Md., immediately after narrowly escaping a devastating defeat that jeopardized future bouts with Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson.

Golota suggested that Bowe rolled on the canvas following the low blow to save himself from the upset loss. Appearing on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" last night, Golota said Bowe "looked for a way out. I think he could get up."

Despite the chaotic ending, promoters, including Newman and Rich Rose of Caesars Palace, were already contemplating a rematch.

However, Madison Square Garden president Dave Checketts, said he was not among the interested bidders.

Checketts quickly added that Thursday's riot would not end the ring resurgence in the one-time mecca of boxing.

"We will not let a few thugs end the Garden's support of boxing," he said. "But we will seriously review all our security measures before holding another fight and will take every action to guarantee our fans' safety and make certain that this won't happen again."

Pub Date: 7/13/96

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