- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Riddick Bowe, the former undisputed heavyweight champion, was released from federal prison yesterday near Cumberland, Md., after serving a 17-month sentence for kidnapping his first wife and their children at knifepoint from North Carolina in 1998.

The 36-year-old will be under home detention until his sentence ends June8, said his attorney, Steven Silverman. Bowe was released early from his 18-to-24-month sentence for good conduct.

Silverman said Bowe is in shape after losing more than 50 pounds in prison and has resolved any legal disputes involving his health and boxing management. Bowe has been quoted as saying he would like to fight again.

Given the weak state of the heavyweight division, Bowe would be viewed as a serious contender if he still has some of the boxing skills he once displayed. Potential major paydays might include bouts against Mike Tyson and the recently retired Lennox Lewis, who beat Bowe for the gold medal in the 1988 Olympics.

However, before Bowe can fight again in a major boxing jurisdiction like Las Vegas, he likely would have to pass a battery of stringent medical tests to determine whether he is fit.

Bowe, who was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., but later moved to Fort Washington, captured the undisputed heavyweight championship in a 12-round battle against Evander Holyfield in Las Vegas in November 1992 and successfully defended it twice. He lost to Holyfield in a rematch a year later.

Bowe never regained his heavyweight crown and suffered two severe beatings at the hands of Andrew Golota, although Bowe got wins in both fights because Golota was disqualified for repeated low blows.

After the second Golota fight in December 1996, Bowe (40-1) retired and then surprisingly announced he was joining the U.S. Marines. He left after several days of basic training, the start of a series of strange incidents that culminated in a trip to North Carolina in 1998 to force his estranged wife, Judy, and his five children back home to Fort Washington.

Shortly after, Bowe was charged with federal interstate domestic violence, to which he plead guilty in June 1998. A defense that claimed brain damage from boxing resulted in his behavior failed to keep him out of prison.

Former manager Rock Newman does not want to see Bowe fight again.

“I don’t want to see him risk his health,” Newman said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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