reports from New York
The veteran trainer Lou Duva is in a stable condition in hospital after a riot lasting 40 minutes and involving several hundred people broke out in Madison Square Garden following the non-title heavyweight fight between Riddick Bowe and Andrew Golota on Thursday night.
Duva, 77, is thought to have suffered a heart attack after having been attacked by Bowe supporters among the 11,252 crowd who charged the ring following the disqualification of Golota in the seventh round.
Bowe was writhing in apparent agony on the canvas when Golota, who had three points deducted for low blows, was deemed to have gone too far after 2min 33sec of the round. Bowe's furious promoter, Rock Newman, climbed through the ropes and made towards Golota, gesticulating wildly, when the referee, Wayne Kelly, waved that the fight was over.
A member of Bowe's camp charged Golota from behind and was hit by a right- hander from the Pole, but hit Golota over the head with a mobile telephone, sparking pandemonium in the ring. Golota's corner team was attacked by Bowe's followers, and Duva was hit in the face. He threw a punch in retaliation, then collapsed.
Golota supporters descended from the higher tiers of the arena and joined the fray. The fighting became polarised as supporters from the rival factions laid into each other with fists, feet, chairs and bottles.
Golota, his head bleeding, ran the gauntlet as punches were thrown at him as he left the ring. Bowe had to be dragged into his dressing-room.
The security in the Garden, such as it was, was totally ineffective. It took some 15 minutes of vicious brawling on all sides of the ring before the New York Police arrived in force and over 100 officers were unable to quell the riot immediately.
Former three-weight world champion Iran "The Blade" Barkley, said: "I have seen this kind of thing at the Garden before when I used to compete in the Golden Gloves tournaments here in the early Seventies. There was never enough security then and there wasn't tonight."
Golota's reputation for foul play preceded him: he had bitten, butted and punched low in previous bouts, but the brunt of the blame must lie with the Bowe faction, who have featured in other violent incidents in the past.
Lou DiBella, an executive with the Home Box Office television network, who televised the fight in the US, said: "This had nothing to do with boxing, it was a comment on the sad state of humanity."
Golota, a 12-1 underdog, seemed set for victory over an appallingly out of condition former undisputed world champion. Bowe, who weighed in at a career-highest 18st, but may have weighed closer to 20st by fight time, dropped to the canvas in the fourth, sixth and seventh rounds following low blows. He had been rocked on several occasions and, on my scorecard, had won only one of the six completed rounds. There was a suspicion that Bowe, in boxing parlance, was looking for a way out.
"I was in the ring to win the fight and not to hit him [low]," Golota said. "Many things happened in the fight. I got a couple of shots in the back of my head and in my back. I didn't cry. I didn't lie down," he said, refrring to Bowe's response to a low blow. "It was his hope to win the fight [on a disqualification]."
returned to the Garden after an 18-month absence in December 1995, but the arena may have to reconsider its policy towards the sport following this disgraceful event.
BOWE'S BOUTS AND LEGACY OF VIOLENCE
October 1991: Elija Tillery is pulled out of the ring by Rock Newman after Tillery and Bowe continued fighting after the bell to end the first round. Gunshots were fired outside the arena in Washington.
November 1992: Newman is accused of assaulting a photographer on the night Bowe won the world titles from Evander Holyfield. A lawsuit was settled out of court.
April 1993: Fighting breaks out at a show in Woodbridge, Virginia, featuring Bowe's sparring partner Gerrard Jones. Newman is forced physically to restrain Bowe from joining the fray in the ring.
November 1993: The Bowe faction attack the infamous "Fan Man", who had power-glided into the ring during Bowe's second fight with Holyfield.
November 1994: Bowe hits future opponent Larry Donald at a press conference before their fight in Las Vegas in December 1994.
April 1995: Bowe throws a glass at future opponent Jorge Luis Gonzalez at a press conference, sparking a brawl. Further press conferences were conducted with a perspex screen separating the fighters.