Lennox Lewis thinks ‘disrespectful’ Riddick Bowe was afraid of knockout
Former undisputed heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, the last man to achieve the feat, has aired his views on the 1990s feud with rival Riddick Bowe.
On the back of opening up on a 1988 altercation during the Olympics, where Lewis openly told Bowe he’d knock him out at the tournament, “The Pugilist Specialist’ followed it up.
He revealed that years later, at a much-publicized spat during the Evander Holyfield fight opposite Bowe, Lewis repeated what he promised.
Lewis now believes this directly led Bowe to avoid him when the World Boxing Council mandated their long-awaited return fight in the pros.
“Nobody knew (about 1988). It was a secret between us guys,” Lewis told Drink Champs. “When he boxed Holyfield and came out of the ring, for some reason, he walked past me.
“I don’t know if it was on purpose, but he was saying, “you’re not right.” And I was like, “what the hell are you talking about?”
“Anyway, (I said) I’m going to knock you out (again, like the Olympics in 1988). Because he remembered the first one, I said it to him again.
“Then he got all heated. Then, he never fought me. He never fought me. He put the belt, the WBC belt, in the garbage, which is a disrespect.
“A disrespect to Muhammad Ali and past champions. So I think he was afraid I was going to knock him out,” he pointed out.
He added: “A lot of people were looking for that fight. These were the guys from the Olympics.
“Bowe said he got ripped off (in 1988), then prove it. Let’s fight in the professionals.”
LENNOX LEWIS vs. RIDDICK BOWE
Bowe fought Holyfield three times during their career but got forever questioned for not facing Mike Tyson or Lewis.
‘Big Daddy’ retired in 1996 at the tender age of 27 before coming back eight years later for a brief run. By then, Lewis had happily been out of the sport for two years.
These days, with Tyson’s Legends Only League’s addition, there is a path back to Lewis and Bowe trading blows again. Whether that’s of interest to either is another story.
More interested in a rematch with Tyson himself, Lewis is open to following the current exhibition trend on specific terms.
Regarding Bowe, fight rumors have surrounded the American ever since he walked away. Several ring appearances in some capacity have kept the door firmly ajar.