Originally Posted by Addie
I honestly see no reason why Bowe couldn't have established himself as a great Heavyweight. Good jab, decent power, could shorten up his punches inside, and perhaps more importantly than anything else, we later found out that he could take a beating. Golota beat the ever-loving shit out of Bowe in their rematch but he refused to stay down, he refused to give in, and in the end it was the Polish fighter that went looking for a way out. Bowe never fought a Lennox Lewis or a Mike Tyson, two great Heavyweights in their own right, but if he had then we can say for absolute certainty that it would have taken more than one shot from either of them to have finished Bowe. I know he caught a lot of flack for throwing his title in the trash, but Bowe wasn't a coward. He had big, brass balls. If you have those on top of world class ability, good size, and decent punch resistance, you can go very far in this sport. Riddick Bowe looked like a world beater against Evander Holyfield in '92.
The bold is why Bowe would have never established himself as a ATG heavyweight. He could take a punch in the ring, sure, but as we saw over the course of his career, the accumulated punishment took a very heavy toll on his mental state in a very short time. Even a determined, well conditioned Bowe would have had a short career with the style he had unless he could have drastically tightened up his defence and supressed his natural instincts to go to war on the inside. That would have made him a different fighter however. Bowe was what he was.
And while Bowe looked great in the first Holyfield fight, you can't just take that performance and apply it to every single top fighter of the nineties as though they're carbon copy clones of Evander. Bowe never really established himself against a top bigger fighter until he fought Golota, and we saw what happened there.
He never really proved his dominance over a wide enough range of fighters for me to have even entertained the idea of his being one of the best. Douglas has a win over a peak Tyson, McCall over Lewis, Sanders over Wlad. Bowe was better than those three, but that
much better? I don't see it.
Originally Posted by Addie
Edit: I don't go along with the idea that Bowe burnt out quickly due to his style. Bowe was known to get hit, sure, but he never really took a beating until he fought Andrew Golota by which time he was already a shell. No, Bowe faded quicker than most due to his attitude and work ethic rather than anything else. Eddie Futch, the man who trained him, has talked about on more than one occasion of Bowe's out of ring habits.
Disagree strongly here. Bowe's very style had him shipping punishment and putting himself into his opponent's wheelhouse almost every time out. It was his MO. Take one to give one. Golota was far from the first time he got busted up. He was already displaying signs of brain damage at the end of the Holyfield trilogy, and got rocked bad numerous times against Herbie Hide two years before. That's just off the top of my head. Was also a notorious gym warrior I believe.
His poor work ethic definitely contributed to his downfall, but it's not like he was killing himself to make a contracted weight like Hatton or Duran. It was the punches he took due to his fundamental stylistic deficiencies that are the main culprit here.
Regardless of what the reason was, the man was not cut out for longevity. I think that much we can agree on.