|Date||August 13, 1994|
|Venue||Convention Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey|
|Title(s) on the line||None|
|Tale of the tape|
Riddick Bowe had lost his previous fight on November 6, 1993, to Evander Holyfield for the WBA and IBF heavyweight titles. With his one-year reign as champion over, Bowe's first comeback fight was announced the following month to take place on February 5, 1994, against Francois Botha. However, only a month later, Bowe, while training for the fight, suffered a cut above his left eye that required 10 stitches leading to the bout to be officially cancelled. Instead, it was announced that Bowe would meet undefeated prospect Buster Mathis, Jr. on June 11, however this fight was also cancelled when Bowe suffered a back injury. A July 15 date was then announced for the Bowe–Mathis fight, however for the third time in the year, Bowe had to again cancel a fight as he was still suffering from back issues. The fight was finally confirmed for August 13 after medication and working with fitness guru Mackie Shilstone helped Bowe recover from his injury.
Bowe had little trouble with the outmatched Mathis, easily out-boxing him throughout the first 3 rounds. However, the fight ended in controversy in round four. With around a minute left in the round, Bowe hurt Mathis with a series of power punches, causing Mathis to take a knee in order to take a break. However, just after Mathis took the knee, Bowe landed a strong right hook that briefly knocked Mathis unconscious. Feeling that Mathis was in no shape to continue after the foul, referee Arthur Mercante Sr. immediately stopped the fight, though no decision was announced. Mercante and New Jersey State Athletic Control Board head Larry Hazzard would then have discussion in regards to whether the decision should be a disqualification victory for Mathis, a knockout victory for Bowe, if they should go to the judges scorecards and award whomever was ahead a victory by technical decision or declare the fight either a technical draw or no contest. After nearly 20 minutes of deliberation, the fight was finally declared a no contest. Bowe apologized for the foul stating that he could not tell that Mathis, who used a crouching stance and was five inches shorter than Bowe, had taken a knee.
- May Holyfield Wins Title in Bout Marked by the Bizarre, NY Times article, 1993-11-07 Retrieved on 2020-01-21
- Bowe to Start Comeback Feb. 5 Against Botha, Washington Post article, 1993-12-15 Retrieved on 2020-01-21
- Bowe Cut, So Fight Off, Washington Post article, 1994-01-12 Retrieved on 2020-01-21
- Small Stage for Bowe, Big Name, NY Times article, 1994-04-14 Retrieved on 2020-01-21
- Bowe Has Back Injury, Cancels Fight With Mathis Set for June 11, LA Times article, 1994-06-05 Retrieved on 2020-01-21
- Reconditioned Bowe in Comeback Trail, Washington Post article, 1994-08-11 Retrieved on 2020-01-21
- Riddick Bowe, Sports Illustrated article, 1994-08-22 Retrieved on 2020-01-21