- The Washington Times - Friday, January 17, 2003

Ten years ago, Riddick Bowe was on top of the world. After rising from the streets of Brooklyn to become heavyweight champion, he was meeting with world leaders and signing lucrative endorsement deals. He had the image of a decent family man. In and out of the ring, Bowe was considered a champion.
Yesterday, in a three-minute hearing in a Charlotte, N.C., federal court, Bowe was declared a convict and sentenced to 18 months in prison for kidnapping his estranged wife, Judy, and their five children from their North Carolina residence to bring them back to his Fort Washington home nearly five years ago.
Meanwhile, Bowe's attorney, Robert Alticher, confirmed a report in The Washington Times that Bowe intends to return to the ring despite his previous claims during court hearings of brain damage as a result of boxing after he has served his time.
"He's a young and vibrant 35," Alticher said. "My thinking is that he will fight again. He's a fighter. He's a good fighter. He's still physically able to do it; he's still mentally able to do it. It's the only way he's made money in the past."
Bowe, though, downplayed his interest in fighting again.
"I'm going to take my time with this thing," he said. "In terms of my boxing career, I don't even think of that."
The last time Bowe (40-1-1, 32 knockouts) fought was in December 1996, when he took the second of two severe beatings that year from Andrew Golota, though he won both fights technically when Golota was disqualified both times for low blows. Two months later, Bowe retired.
U.S. District Court Judge Graham Mullen reluctantly sentenced Bowe to the 18-month term in prison. He was the judge who had agreed with Bowe's last-minute brain damage claim at a sentencing hearing nearly three years ago.
Bowe's attorneys introduced evidence and testimony then that the former champion had suffered frontal lobe damage from boxing that affected his decision-making process. Mullen ruled Bowe could not fight as long as he was on probation but a year ago Bowe's attorneys sought to have that ban lifted, claiming that an examination of Bowe by doctors showed he was fit to fight.
Federal prosecutors appealed the decision to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, which ruled in favor of the government and sent the case back to Mullen for resentencing. But the judge determined that the two years Bowe served under house arrest could be applied to his sentence, and Bowe remained free.
Prosecutors appealed that ruling, and again the court of appeals found in their favor, determining that the requirements of the plea bargain 18 months in prison had not yet been fulfilled, and sent the case back to Mullen, who this time had little choice but to order Bowe to serve his time.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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