Boxing: Another early bow for Bowe

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The Independent Online
FRANK MALONEY, the manager of Britain's world champion Lennox Lewis, was scathing after Riddick Bowe had easily retained the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation versions of the heavyweight title against Jesse Ferguson. 'I think it was the biggest scandal in Washington since Watergate,' he said.

Bowe knocked out Ferguson 17 seconds into the second round on Saturday night before a sparse crowd at R F K Stadium.

It fulfilled expectations. It was a mismatch between a 25-year-old champion and a 36-year-old, oft- beaten challenger, whose wife, Cynthia, suggested in 1991 that it was time for him to find something else to do. 'It's what I am,' Ferguson told her.

It is time for Cynthia to put her foot down. The loss was Ferguson's fifth in his last seven fights and left him with a 19-10 record.

'I give myself an A,' the unbeaten Bowe said after scoring his 29th knock-out in winning for the 34th time. 'I can fight better than I did tonight. When that time comes, I'll be something else.'

'I froze,' said Ferguson, who is more used to being a sparring partner for fighters like Mike Tyson, Lewis and Razor Ruddock than to being in the spotlight. 'I was overwhelmed and shocked by the fact I was fighting for the heavyweight championship.'

Ferguson never really fought for the title. He landed 19 punches while taking 65 and he barely got through the first round. Late in that round, the 6ft 5in Bowe, who weighed 17st 6lb, knocked down Ferguson, 16st, with a left hook and right uppercut. The challenger struggled up at nine, and the round was over.

A six-punch barrage climaxed by a long right to the head dropped Ferguson face down in the second round. The referee Larry Hazzard did not bother to count. 'If this had been Lewis, the same thing would have happened to him,' Bowe said.

Bowe has not been tested in two fights since out-pointing Evander Holyfield for the undisputed title on 13 November. In his first defence, he stopped Michael Dokes, a pudgy, faded, former champion late in the first round at Madison Square Garden, New York, in February. He is scheduled to meet Holyfield in a rematch.