Skydiver keeps his secret after dropping in on the big fight

Click to follow
The Independent Online
LAS VEGAS - It was one of the most extraordinary scenes ever witnessed in a sporting arena. Evander Holyfield and Riddick Bowe were in the seventh round of their world heavyweight title contest in an outdoor arena at Caesars Palace here on Saturday night when a skydiver parachuted into the ring writes Ken Jones.

James Miller, 30, from Las Vegas, was propelled by what police described as a 'motorised parasail'. He floated beneath the canopy above the ring and on to the apron. The ropes attached to the parachute caught on the canopy's lights and Mr Miller fell backwards into the crowd, where several men pounced on him and began beating him.

He was taken to hospital, but had suffered only minor injuries. He was released from jail yesterday morning, having been charged with dangerous flying. Caesars Palace said a nurse at the hospital where he was treated said he had refused to say why he did it.

The skydiver had been spotted by the crew of a circling blimp and some observers said he had circled several times before coming in from the north and skimming over the crowd.

Bernard Brooks Snr, a member of Bowe's entourage, had to have several stitches inserted in a head wound after being struck by the skydiver, while Bowe's wife, Judy, who is three months pregnant, was taken to hospital after fainting during the chaos. Jesse Jackson, the politician, was among those who helped to lift her from the ring. Eddie Futch, Bowe's 82-year-old trainer, was taken to hospital after feeling faint. However, both were released yesterday.

During a 20-minute delay, the two boxers remained in the ring wrapped in blankets before the fight was resumed. Both said they did not believe the incident affected the outcome of the bout, which ended in an unexpected points victory for Holyfield. However, both said their first thought when they saw the skydiver had been the knife attack earlier this year on the tennis player Monica Seles.

Fight report, page 32

Photograph: Joel Richardson/Reuter

(Photograph omitted)