by Ted Sares
Bowe vs. Gonzalez (1995)
“He [Cuban defector Jorge Luis Gonzalez} goes crazy, man, when he sees Bowe,” today. “I’ve told him, ‘You’re not helping yourself to a fight when you do that.’ But I can’t stop him. When he sees Riddick on Arsenio, he grinds his teeth.”–Gonzalez’s promoter, Luis de Cubas,
“Bowe is a cow, a hyena, and I am a lion,” said Gonzalez, who at 30 is three years older than the champion. “I will kill him. I want to stand over his body. I want to see blood trickling out of his nose and his mouth. I want to abuse him.”–Gonzalez
“He’s just a knucklehead,” said Bowe. “I tried to ignore him, but he needs the attention by causing problems and playing mind games. He likes to think he can beat me by intimidation. He wants to be a gangster like Castro, but he’s really a bully who can’t fight.”—Riddick Bowe
The animosity between these two goes back to the 1987 Pan American Games when Jorge Gonzalez, representing Cuba, outpointed Bowe, 3-2.
Said Robert Seltzer on philly.com, “The bitterness surfaced in April, during a news conference at the MGM Grand. Gonzalez threatened to kill Bowe, who took the threat seriously. The champion hurled a goblet of water at the challenger, missing his tormentor but spraying ice cubes among a group of stunned reporters….Gonzalez hates Bowe, Bowe hates Gonzalez, and boxing officials hate the bitterness between the men”
Billed as “Mortal Enemies, “ the two seemed to fit the billing. They met on July 17, 1995 at the MGM Grand Garden Casino in Paradise, Nevada. Bowe was 36-1 and the 6’7” Gonzalez 23-0.
Despite Gonzalez’s pre-fight posturing, Bowe dominated using his overhand right on the top of the Cuban’s bald head. He consistently clobbered Gonzalez with powerful combinations while Gonzalez fought off the ropes offering nothing in return. In the fourth, the slaughter began in earnest as Bowe snapped back Gonzalez’s’ head several times and Mills Lane could well have (and should have) stopped the fight.
The beatdown continued in rounds 5 and 6 and after five rounds of mauling and abusing Gonzalez, Bowe would finally end the fight at 1:40 of round six as he sent the big Cuban down and out with a career-altering right that landed flush. Lane didn’t have to count as Jorge was soundly sedated. And make no mistake, that was a career-altering punch as Jorge would become a slaughteree thereafter.
But no Bowe fight is complete without a noteworthy r bizarre incident. This one did not disappoint. Bowe risked a disqualification loss between rounds 4 and 5. With 20 seconds left in the fourth round, he was crunching Gonzalez in the corner before Gonzalez was able to clinch with eight seconds to go, causing referee Lane to separate the two. Bowe then ended the round with a three-punch combination that staggered Gonzalez as the bell. But Bowe unwisely continued his assault on Gonzalez after the bell, throwing a powerful right hook and left jab at Gonzalez before Lane was able to get Bowe back to his corner. Bowe was warned by Lane, who ultimately decided not to deduct any points.
Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuNJx5TURHQ
Gonzalez would never be the same as the Cuban amateur legend with the strange haircut would get savagely pummeled by various fighters. Bowe had opened up the flood gates and guys like Time Witherspoon, Ross Purity, Michael Grant, Joe Mesi, Derek Bryant and even Cliff Couser—yes Cliff Couser—would rush in and wax the giant until he finally called it quits in 2002.
Watch for Part Four
Ted Sares is a private investor who holds a PhD in Business Administration and enjoys writing about boxing. He is a member of Ring 4 Boxing Hall of Fame (Boston) and an active member of Ring 10 (New York). He also is one of the oldest active powerlifters in the world and competes throughout North America under the auspices of the RAW and the Elite Powerlifting Federations