Hide overwhelmed by harsh reality

BOXING

KEN JONES

reports from Las Vegas

When the bell sounded for the third round at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday night Riddick Bowe strode from his corner and slammed in a left jab that sent Herbie Hide backwards. It drew a trickle of blood from Hide's nose and put a puzzled expression on his face.

The first punch of any consequence Bowe threw in a challenge for the World Boxing Organisation heavyweight championship introduced Hide to reality. Bowe, a giant by physical comparison, was simply too big and strong for the man from Norfolk. All the champion could do was try and make a fight of it. "Maybe I should have kept on the move," he said afterwards, "But I didn't want to stink the place out. I didn't want to run away from Bowe like Larry Donald did."

A count-out after 2min 25sec of the sixth when trying to disentangle himself from the ropes, was Hide's seventh official visit to the canvas, but he did not take a terrible beating. What stood out most was his gallantry.The general consensus was that Hide had given more than can be reasonably expected of a fighter in such circumstances.

The bigger man was so much stronger after delayed assertion, that the champion had few opportunities for offensive moves of his own, but whenever a crisis came he fought back gamely. Some in the audience were strongly of the opinion that nothing braver in sport had crossed their vision. Nobody was more impressed than Seth Abraham, who is chief executive of the cable television network, HBO. "Herbie acquitted himself so well that I'm sure he'll figure on our promotions in the future," Abraham said. "He's better than a number of ranked heavyweights."

In fact Hide performed better than apparent technical limitations had suggested. The champion was an eight-round boxer in experience but he occasionally raised consternation in the challenger's corner. "I know that I hurt him and worried him," Hide said.

It was almost two hours after the contest and Hide was sitting in an hotel room 24 floors above where Bowe's victory was being celebrated. He wore a black track suit and was barefooted. Every so often he ran fingers over a tender area high on the left side of his face. "I'm a young guy, only 23,and I'll be back," he insisted. "I was quicker than Bowe and it surprised me to discover how easy it is to hit him. This guy's supposed to be the best. If that's the case I'm one of the best. I'd like to fight him again. Sure, I'd like a re-match."

Even allowing for the years that still separate him from traditional heavyweight maturity and that he may improve, Hide will always be at a physical disadvantage in the division. The opening rounds proved that he was crafty as well as quick and that he could land useful combinations. However,the rest of the contest exposed his psysical shortcomings.

It also renewed the suspicion that Bowe falls short of the estimate of his manager, Rock Newman. An outstanding heavyweight of Bowe's dimensions would have overwhelmed Hide a lot earlier.

Claiming to have been unsetlled by a head-butt (Hide insists it was an accident), Bowe said: "I have to admit that at time times I got a little anxious. He stung me a couple of times and was much faster than I imagined. But the pressure took its toll. I hit him and he sounded like a little girl. But I've got to give Herbie credit. He was in great shape and took a lot of punishment, expecially to the body. But it wasn't one of my best performances."

If Hide's fortitude was commendable, his relatively unblemished features confirm the widespread view that Bowe had not landed many clean punches. The second of two knock downs in the third round resulted from a good uppercut and he landed two powerful rights in the sixth, but most of his work was untidy.

One of the big problems for Bowe's associates, especially his veteran trainer Eddie Futch, is that he grows quickly bored with the disciplines of preparation. "After Riddick took the title from Evander Holyfield he became obsessed with his toys," Futch said on the eve of the contest. "He also grew soft through inactivity."

Hide did not grow soft in the year between taking the WBO title from Michael Bentt and defending against Bowe, but it occurs that he could have done with at least one fight. If unfortunate to find himself up against Bowe in a first defence, a purse in excess of £700,000 provides compensation.

Throughout Saturday's contest Hide looked determined but slightly uncertain. Maybe he was trying to remember the things his tutors laid down in sparring or had concluded that violent defeat was probable. Once Bowe began to get through he must have known that defeat was inevitable.

Bowe's next contest, on 17 June, will be against a Cuban heavyweight, Jorge Luis Gonzalez, who unfailingly conveys the idea that he talks a better fight than he is capable of delivering.

A far more interesting prospect concerns the former WBC champion, Lennox Lewis who will return to the ring against Lionel Butler on 13 May in Sacramento, California. According to Abraham, Bowe and Lewis could come together later this year although, mysteriously, not for a title. "It's a serious proposition," Abraham said. "We're thinking about October."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Manchester

£18000 - £23000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultan...

Recruitment Genius: Plumber

£22000 - £25900 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company is expanding and th...

Recruitment Genius: Corporate Account Manager

£27000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Corporate Account Manager is ...

Recruitment Genius: Chef de Partie

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This award winning conference venues provider...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders