SI Vault
 
Wild Night
Pat Putnam
November 15, 1993
Evander Holyfield regained the heavyweight title from Riddick Bowe in a fight interrupted by an aerial intruder
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
November 15, 1993

Wild Night

Evander Holyfield regained the heavyweight title from Riddick Bowe in a fight interrupted by an aerial intruder

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3 4

Bowe started fast, driving Holyfield back with an overhand right to the head and then wading in with both hands. When Holyfield refused to jump into the trenches, Bowe backed off, and the two spent Rounds 2 and 3 probing with jabs, searching for openings and testing each other with hard combinations.

Both corners urged their men to double up on their jabs, to keep up the pressure. "He's countering your jab," Futch told the champion between rounds. Bowe, who had been getting hit with the counter right hands, nodded. "Then throw more than one at a time," said Futch patiently.

Across the way Steward was telling Holyfield how good he looked, building his confidence, turning up the flame. "Keep pressing him," he said.

Holyfield's punches were quick and crisp, but, as in the first bout, they failed to move the bigger man. When hit, Bowe planted his feet and immediately countered, with telling results. The third round was lively, and the action became so heated in the fourth that it spilled over into the rest period. At the bell the fighters continued to hammer away until referee Mills Lane jumped in and pried them apart. The exchange was costly for Bowe. When he returned to his corner he was bleeding from two cuts, a small one on his left eyelid and another running horizontally through his left eyebrow.

The cuts, the first of Bowe's 34-0 pro career, changed the direction of the fight. While making the mental adjustment to the experience of having blood run down his face, Bowe briefly surrendered to caution, and Holyfield charged like a wolf on a fresh scent of raw meat. With 20 seconds to go in the fifth round, he hammered Bowe with a right to the jaw, hooked him to the neck and backed him away with another right hand to the chin. Then he banged away at his dazed opponent until the bell.

By Round 7 the strength had fully returned to Bowe's legs, and he was raising small bumps on Holyfield's head with hard jabs and swift combinations. Then with 1:10 gone in the round, the uninvited paraglider dropped out of the darkness after having circled in the sky over Caesars Palace for 25 minutes, propelled by a motor strapped to his back. As Miller descended, the cords of his chute became entangled in the overhead lights.

For a moment he was hung up, his lower legs caught by the top rope. Then he was hauled to the ground by an angry swarm of fans and Bowe's security personnel. One of the champion's protectors began hammering Miller with a walkie-talkie, while another punched him at least 20 times. Bowe's wife, Judy, three months pregnant with their fourth child, fainted. She was whisked from the arena and, accompanied by the Reverend Jesse Jackson, taken to Sunrise Hospital for tests and observation.

The beaten paraglider was surrounded by Las Vegas police and Caesars security people, who probably saved him from more serious damage. He lay silent in a white crash helmet while his chute was cut down and his wounds were examined. He then was taken to University Hospital, where it was determined that he had suffered only bruises. His next stop was the Clark County Detention Center. A few hours later he was charged with dangerous flying and released on $200 bail, the motive behind his stunt apparently nothing more than a desire for a few moments of fame. The only other injury in the incident was to Bernard Brooks Sr., one of Bowe's entourage, who suffered a cut.

After 21 minutes of trying to stay warm under the TV lights, Bowe and Holyfield shed their blankets and returned to action. Bowe was not told that his wife had been hospitalized until after the fight. Between rounds Bowe's attendants stood in front of the area where she had sat so that he would not notice her absence.

Holyfield seemed to benefit more than Bowe from the delay. He had more bounce in his legs, and his punches were sharper. Still, after seven rounds the computer stats showed that Bowe had landed 178 of 383 punches to Holyfield's 149 of 296. At this point Holyfield was leading by three points on one judge's card, Bowe was ahead by one point on another, and the fight was even on the third. The judge who had Holyfield ahead had given him the seventh round, the judge who had Bowe ahead had given him the seventh, and the judge who had it even had scored that round even.

Continue Story
1 2 3 4