Former undisputed world heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe has reportedly been pulled from a celebrity boxing match, following concerns over the fight featuring fellow veteran Evander Holyfield earlier this month.
Former heavyweight king Holyfield, 58, lasted less than one round in an exhibition comeback against former UFC champion Vitor Belfort in Florida on September 11, in an event organized by entertainment platform Triller which was widely condemned as a dangerous farce.
Bowe – whose only defeat in a 45-fight professional career came to Holyfield in 1993 – was slated to follow in the footsteps of his former rival as well as the likes of Mike Tyson by returning to the ring in search of a payday.
In the case of 54-year-old Bowe, that was due to come in the form of a showdown against former NBA champion Lamar Odom at James L. Knight Arena in Miami on October 2.
But according to TMZ Sports, Bowe has now been pulled out of the event and a new opponent will be sought for the 41-year-old Odom.
The decision will come as a relief for many fans and pundits who had been concerned by what transpired with Holyfield, and also by footage of Bowe looking labored in training for the bout.
The backlash and potential dangers appear to have proved too much for organizers Celebrity Boxing and founder Damon Feldman to stomach.
Here’s Riddick Bowe, in preparation for his upcoming fight, and he’s being told “good job” This makes me feel sick, another man should be no where near a boxing ring @loudibella pic.twitter.com/spPFBF85Uv
— Daniel (@TerrySilver1989) September 18, 2021
Bowe last fought professionally in 2008, earning a unanimous decision victory in an eight-round contest with Germany’s Gene Pukall.
A former Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year, Bowe famously defeated Holyfield in two of their three fights.
Talk of his return has caused consternation, with promoter and producer Lou Di Bella tweeting that the proposed fight was “barbaric and beyond dangerous.”
“This is a human train-wreck waiting to happen,” added Di Bella.
No. Just NO!!!! This is barbaric and beyond dangerous. The fact that no regulatory body has already put the kibosh on this is shocking and unacceptable. This isn’t sport. This isn’t #boxing. This is a human train-wreck waiting to happen. WTF! pic.twitter.com/s8oUWk5RrQ
— Lou DiBella (@loudibella) September 18, 2021
Bowe’s life has famously gone off the rails on several occasions outside the ring, including when the former heavyweight icon spent a 17-month stint in prison for kidnapping his family.
During an appeal into his sentence, Bowe’s legal team had argued that he had suffered brain damage from taking blows to the head, which impaired his decision-making.
The fighter known as ‘Big Daddy’ also endured financial woes after frittering away much of the fortune he earned inside the ring.
Former LA Lakers star Odom is one of a host of names from outside the world of boxing to cash in on the appetite for celebrity crossover fights in recent years.
He appeared in an exhibition match with singer Aaron Carter in June of this year, knocking him out in the second round in farcical scenes.
He will now await a new opponent in Miami in October.
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