Riddick Bowe vs. Michael Dokes
Riddick Bowe vs. Michael Dokes, billed as "The Homecoming", was a professional boxing match contested on February 6, 1993 for the WBA, IBF and Lineal heavyweight world championships. This was Bowe's first defense of the titles he had won from Evander Holyfield, while Dokes was trying to join Floyd Patterson, Muhammad Ali, and Tim Witherspoon as the only fighters to regain a piece of the heavyweight title after having lost it.
|Date||February 6, 1993|
|Venue||Madison Square Garden in New York, New York|
|Title(s) on the line||WBA/IBF/Lineal Heavyweight Championships|
|Tale of the tape|
On November 13, 1992, Bowe defeated Holyfield to become the unified (but not undisputed; the World Boxing Organization did not recognize him as champion) world heavyweight champion. The World Boxing Council ordered Bowe to defend against Lennox Lewis, the man who had defeated Bowe at the 1988 Olympics to capture the gold medal for Canada, in his first defense as its mandatory challenger. However, since both sides had been in a massive dispute over terms of the fight (especially the purse), Bowe refused and in a memorable press conference on December 14, 1992, Bowe and his manager Rock Newman tossed the WBC belt into a wastepaper basket with Bowe stating "If Lennox wants this belt, he must get it out of the garbage and then we'll be calling him the garbage picker."
Shortly after, Bowe then announced that he would defend his WBA, IBF, and lineal titles against 34-year-old former WBA Heavyweight champion Michael Dokes After struggling with substance abuse, Dokes launched a successful comeback late in 1987 and proceeded to win his next eight fights en route to being named The Ring magazine's Comeback fighter of the Year for 1988, winning the WBC Continental Americas title and securing a number one contenders match with a then up-and-coming Evander Holyfield with the winner earning the right to challenge Mike Tyson. Dokes took Holyfield to the tenth round before falling to a TKO. Dokes' comeback was temporarily stopped when Donovan "Razor" Ruddock knocked him unconscious in the fourth round of a 1990 bout where Dokes lost the WBA Intercontinental championship. He returned in late 1991 and fought a series of journeyman fighters, recording nine bouts with nine wins, five by knockout, before facing Bowe.
Bowe came out firing early, constantly hammering Dokes with powerful combinations. Midway through the first round, Bowe scored a knockdown after a three-punch combination knocked Dokes into the ropes, which prevented him from hitting the canvas. After taking the referee's standing eight count, Dokes was allowed to continue the fight but was met with a relentless assault from Bowe, who was able to get Dokes up against the ropes and continuously batter Dokes with multiple-punch combinations. Referee Joe Santarpia stepped in and stopped the fight at 2:19 of the first round, awarding Bowe a technical knockout victory. It was the first time that a heavyweight title fight had ended in the first round since Mike Tyson knocked out Carl "The Truth" Williams in his last successful defense of the undisputed championship in 1989.
Initially, Bowe hoped to face 1988 Olympic Gold Medalist Ray Mercer, who fought journeyman Jesse Ferguson earlier in the same event at Madison Square Garden. Ferguson, however, upset Mercer in a unanimous decision and Bowe decided to give him the shot instead. The fight took place in Washington, DC on May 22, 1993 and Bowe knocked out Ferguson in the second round. He would then accept a rematch with Evander Holyfield later in 1993, which resulted in Bowe suffering his only professional defeat.
Dokes, meanwhile, never fought for a championship again. He returned to the ring in 1995 and fought five more times, winning three and losing two, with his final fight coming in 1997. Dokes retired with a final career record of 53-6-2, with thirty-four knockouts. He died in 2012.
- Bowe Trashes His WBC Belt, N.Y. Times article, 1992-12-15, Retrieved on 2013-05-16
- Bowe to face Dokes at Garden Feb. 6, N.Y. Times article, 1992-12-23, Retrieved on 2013-05-16
- Ruddock Knocks Dokes Unconscious in Fourth, L.A. Times article, 1990-04-05, Retrieved on 2013-05-16
- Riddick-ulous, Sports Illustrated article, 1993-02-15, Retrieved on 2013-05-16
- Bowe Brings Title Show To D.C., Chicago Tribune article, 1993-03-25, Retrieved on 2013-05-16