Ever been a millionaire? Ever beat up Evander Holyfield … twice? Ever been the heavyweight champion of the world? Well, today’s guest has done all of the above and he’s got a relationship story to tell too. Stay tuned as we spend an hour with Riddick “Big Daddy” Bowe … on Frank Relationships.
FRANK RELATIONSHIPS: RIDDICK BOWE, FORMER TWO-TIME HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION
Guests: Riddick Bowe
Date: January 27, 2013
Frank: Ever been a millionaire? Ever beat up Evander Holyfield twice? Ever been the heavyweight champion of the world? Well, today’s guest has done all of the above and he’s got a relationship story to tell, too. Stay tuned as we spend an hour with Riddick Big Daddy Bowe on Frank Relationships.
Welcome to Frank Relationships where we provide a candid, fresh and frank look into relationships with the goals of acceptance, respect and flexibility. I’m Frank Love and you can find me, my blog and my various social media incarnations at franklove.com.
Once again I’m joined by my co-host, Dr. Gayle. She’s smart, she’s beautiful and I have to warn today’s guests, she hits hard. What’s up, Dr. Gayle?
Dr. Gayle: What’s up, Frank?
Frank: There are countless rags-to-riches stories. There are equal numbers of rags-to-riches-to-rags stories. Many of us dream of earning millions of dollars, driving fancy cars, taking care of family and friends and having the relationships that support us as we earn a living. These relationships can be entourages, a spouse or a manager and that’s where today’s guest can easily be interjected. You see, he’s had all three. If you’re a boxing fan over the age of 40 like me, you undoubtedly know him. He’s one of few big men that dominated the heavyweight division during the last 20 years. Sure, there were other dominate champions, but my guest was a dominate big man. He could hit, trade and hurt. In fact, he participated in arguably one of the greatest rounds of boxing in heavyweight history against Evander Holyfield, which lead him to capturing the heavyweight championship of the world.
He was known as a family man. In fact, I remember him wearing a shirt with his children’s picture on it into the ring. He was also part of one of the most envied boxing manager relationships in recent history. But the wearing of the heavyweight champion crown didn’t last forever. Since then, he’s had financial, legal, management and marital troubles and he’s here to share his powerful story.
So, if you want to hear about his rise through the ranks of boxing to become champion, how he developed such a powerful relationship with his past manager and then watched it fizzle and how he’s on his way back to the top of his game, then join me; because it’s an honor and a privilege to spend the next hour with the man that issued such a beating of Evander Holyfield that I became an Evander fan, because he survived it. He’s none other than the one and only Riddick Big Daddy Bowe. Welcome to the show champ, it’s an absolute pleasure–
Riddick: *(inaudible) 03:48
Frank: It’s a pleasure to have you.
Riddick: Well, thanks for having me.
Dr. Gayle: Good morning, sir.
Riddick: Good morning.
Frank: Well, Riddick, tell us about your upbringing. How’d you get started in the boxing game?
Riddick: One day we was in class and a teacher brought a tape in about Muhammad Ali. We had to do an essay and she gave us an opportunity to speak amongst ourselves about what was taking place and what happened. And it was a *(inaudible) 04:17 class. He was a militant. His name was Gerald Lane and he says Ali was a faggot. For whatever reason, I didn’t appreciate that and I spoke up. I had to say something to him about it and from that point forward, we began to argue. Basically, it turned into a little fight or what have you, but *[I got the] 04:37 the better the deal and when it was all said and done with, the teacher said, “Hey man, *(inaudible) 04:43 with your hand. Would you like for me to call the *(inaudible) 04:46 for you or what have you?” And she did and from that day to this, I’ve been involved in boxing.
Frank: There was a gym in your area?
Riddick: Yes, it was called the Bed-Stuy Boxing Association and I went to that particular gym and I guess you know, Mark Briggs, myself and some other guy *(inaudible) 05:07, I guess we kind of made it famous.
Dr. Gayle: And I read that your mom did not sign the paperwork for you to go. Your sister actually had to sign that, right?
Riddick: Yeah, I brought the document home for my mother to sign. She said, “Boy, I’m not signing no paper for you to start boxing. I might have to lead you around and you’re going to be crazy or whatever, so you can forget that.” But then, I bribed my sister to sign the paper for me. She signed it and my ways got better, my mother didn’t hear much for me, so I guess as time progressed, she realized–I guess it wasn’t as bad as she thought it would be.
Dr. Gayle: Right, so it was more positive than she thought, huh?
Frank: How much older was your sister than you?
Riddick: Well, I guess I was *(inaudible) 05:48. She had to be 18 or 20. Something like that.
Dr. Gayle: Because you’re next to the youngest, right?
Riddick: Yes, 13 years old I was boxing. I’m next to my youngest sister who’s- we got a three year gap in between us.
Frank: And you said that boxing basically had a positive affect on your school work.
Riddick: My school work got better. I think it really saved my life, because if it wasn’t for boxing I would’ve been on the street with all the other guys and probably got into a whole lot trouble. *[Snatching a pile of books] 06:21 and *[rob them too] 06:23 because I was at the age I was very impressionable, so it was good that I went to the gym because I met guys like Mark Briggs. He was an upstanding dude and I wanted to be just like him and so I never really got into trouble.
Frank: Tell us about the success in your amateur career.
Riddick: Okay well, I won New York Street Golden Gloves four times. I won the Junior Olympics and things of that nature. I had a great amateur career and I made it to the Olympics and things of that nature. I got a sliver medal in the Olympics. So, I had a pretty good amateur career.
Dr. Gayle: That’s amazing.
Frank: And you lost in the Olympics to your soon-to-become nemesis. That was Lennox Lewis, right?
Riddick: Yes sir, but I don’t think he’d beat me. I think the *(inaudible) 07:10 beat me. For whatever reason, the *(inaudible) 07:13 didn’t like Americans. And I guess I had a whole lot of stuff stacked against me.
Frank: I remember watching you throw the belt in the garbage. Once you had won the heavyweight championship, one of the belts required you to fight Lennox Lewis next and you ended up throwing it in the garbage, because you didn’t want to fight him. That was quite a statement.
Riddick: No, no, I did want to fight him. I didn’t want *[throw my belt] 07:49 away, *(inaudible) 07:40 once came away, so I didn’t want to lose it to him, but I do so I guess you guys can point the finger at me, but I really wanted to fight Lennox Lewis. He didn’t want to take the fight and so at the end of the day I wanted them throwing the belt in the garbage.
Frank: Wow, now that’s a twist, even for–I never saw that coming and I had my eye on you back then. I tell you, when I watched that fight with you and we’ll get to this in terms of the chronology, but when I watched that fight with you and Holyfield, the first one, man that was an epic battle. I think it was the 10th round, you guys traded back and forth and then you almost stopped him in that round and up to that point, I was never a fan of Holyfield, but to watch him survive that round was incredible. And he had my respect ever since then.
Riddick: Well he had something that I wanted.
Frank: Yes, he did.
Riddick: And he had to show that he was willing to die for what he had. And he showed me that, but at the end of the day, I still won the fight.
Frank: You did, absolutely. Now, how did you meet Rock Newman?
Riddick: Well, I was going to meet Butch Lewis. Have a meeting with Butch Lewis as a result of what happened.
Frank: And Butch Lewis–so, let me stop you there. Rock Newman ended up becoming your manager, so I’m asking how did you meet the man who became your manager? And Butch Lewis was a well known promoter at the time
Frank: He was the guy who wore no shirt under his blazer and a bowtie. So, for the audience members who don’t know, but go on, please.
Riddick: Well I guess Rock Newman had *(inaudible) 09:28 Butch Lewis’ throne key, so if Butch needed something I would go get it in the rope, what case may be. So, he wanted me to be his fighter, so he sent Rock to talk to me and watch me fight and things of that nature. And so, Butch said, “Look man, when you go to *(inaudible) 09:47 work with me and do this and do that.” But I thought about it, “Well, if I tell people that Butch Lewis is only my manager or whatever the case may be, that’s going to have some people not pay me any attention at all; what have you. So, I didn’t tell anyone that I was going to work with Butch Lewis. Well, when I got home, back to New York, Butch didn’t want to have nothing to do with me.
Frank: Because you–
Riddick: So, Rock Lewman said, “Well, I’m going to work with him Butch. I like the kid. I think he has it,” and Butch told Rock. He said, “Well, if you want to waste your time and do whatever, go ahead you got my blessing.”
So at the time Rock–he came to work with me and we–I thought we had a tight team and he was my man and we were going to conquer the world. And so, I guess part of it did come true. We did win the championship but at the end of the day, he really wasn’t my friend.
Frank: What point in your career was it? Was it you had had five pro-bouts? Ten? At what point in your career did you meet Rock?
Riddick: I met Rock before–well I was–I think I made the Olympic team and at that time that’s when I met Rock and he became my friend.
Frank: Okay, and when did the relationship turn professional?
Riddick: I guess, I turned pro with Rock, so, I guess that was back in what? 1989. December of ’89. Something like that.
Dr. Gayle: So you guys both came up together?
Frank: Okay. Once you started as a pro, you were dominant and you created such a fervor. In fact, you got quite a bit of press for your ability and for some of the brawls that you got into in the ring. Not only you, but you and Rock got into-I remember Rock hitting somebody or pulling someone over the rope, because they had done something that he had a problem with. What happened there?
Riddick: Well, I was in the fight with the guy whose name was Elijah Tillery and he was one of my former sparring partners. So anyway, the fight is taking place. We’re both fighting and at the end of the round, he just stopped and he looked at me and I didn’t know why, so I just thought he was trying to be disrespectful to me. So, I backhanded him. Not even thinking about it, I walked away from him, but he kicked me right in the butt. I said, “Wow,” and no one had kicked me in the butt since I was maybe eight, nine years old. So, it brought back a whole lot of bad memories instantly and I began to fight with him again. But he was retreating and as he got to the ropes, Rock jumped up and grabbed him and took him over the top rope. I’m kind of glad he did, because *(inaudible) 12:51, I just missed him. It would have been a terrible for him.
Frank: We’ve talked about your boxing career. Tell us about your relationship. You were married at the time or you were about to get married. I know you had one child. Paint the picture. Paint the picture for me.
Riddick: Okay well, I got married before the Olympics. It was my first marriage and I thought I had a good girl, but she had game with her and we got married, because she said she had a child, a little boy and she named him Riddick, Jr., but as time goes we had another baby and we named that baby, Radisha. Actually, we had another child two years later and we named her Brenda after one of my sisters. But as time went on we separated, whatever the case may be. There’s another child. There was Julius and Riddick and Julius we standing beside each other. Me and my wife we’re sitting there, we’re talking and she says to me, “Well, is Riddick really your son?” I said, “Yeah, why did you say that?” She said, “Well, because you look how dominant and Julius is and Riddick is more of a shrimp than anything.” I’m standing 6 foot 5 inches and Julius is pretty much the same size as I am, as we speak. But Riddick was so soft and he was just totally different my character and Julius was dominant, but he was so much younger than Riddick. There’s almost three years between them. “Wow, that makes a lot of sense.” So anyway, I went and got a DNA test and he’s not anything to me.
Dr. Gayle: Wow.
Dr. Gayle: And this is after how long you guys were married?
Riddick: After, I guess 16, 17 years and I was hoping he was. I cried like a baby.
Dr. Gayle: Oh no.
Riddick: Oh yeah. So–
Dr. Gayle: So was that before or after the big fight that you guys had?
Frank: That was way before.
Dr. Gayle: That was way before?
Riddick: Way before, absolutely.
Dr. Gayle: Okay.
Frank: Now, when did you guys connect? Where were you in your education? High school? You’d already graduated? What?
Riddick: No, I met Julia–I had to be maybe a-maybe-I think I was junior in high school. I had two more years to go.
Dr. Gayle: So, was she your high school sweetheart? Or was it she just happened to get pregnant and you guys got married after?
Riddick: Well, I guess she was amongst. She was out of a pick from people.
Dr. Gayle: She was amongst many.
Riddick: But first I want to say, she was pregnant and what have you. You know, I went without my father, so I didn’t want my kids to feel the way I felt.
Dr. Gayle: Right.
Riddick: Quite naturally, I just gravitated towards her and left everybody alone.
Frank: So, speaking of the ladies, there’s no doubt that boxers, especially talented prize fighters like yourself have no problem getting the ladies at some point. When the word gets out at school, when the word gets out in the community that you’re the man with your hands, the women come.
Riddick: Oh, absolutely.
Frank: Tell me about that experience.
Riddick: Especially when you’re pretty like I am, you know what I mean?
Dr. Gayle: And you have that nice accent, huh?
Riddick: I guess so. You think I have an accent?
Frank: That New York accent. Yeah that’s–she doesn’t know anything about that. She’s from–
Dr. Gayle: I’m from Southern Virginia; country girl.
Riddick: Let me find out.
Frank: So, how do the ladies treat you?
Riddick: Oh, the ladies treated me well. Sometimes, it was just too easy. Sometimes you get into the habit and you just think you’re God’s gift and things of that nature.
Frank: Uh-huh. What was home life like once you got married and you had a oldest son, Riddick–that you believed to be your son, and had another child that came soon after–what was home life like once celebrity settled in? All of that good stuff.
Riddick: It was *(inaudible) 17: 22 We had so much fun and I guess we was making money. I guess a lot of things we didn’t worry about, because we were making money. And then, you don’t think about it, because you didn’t think you was with that type of person. So, I feel like this. If I would’ve sat and thought about it, it wouldn’t have got by me, but I never paid any attention, because I didn’t think I had to.
Frank: At what point did the relationship begin to be a little more difficult?
Riddick: Once I retired.
Frank: Really? I was home more, so at that particular point and we both couldn’t be players.
Dr. Gayle: So, you’re saying that she was a player, although you had the women and the ladies coming and throwing at you, she was a player, too?
Riddick: Absolutely and she was a better player than I was.
Dr. Gayle: How was that?
Riddick: Because remember, I didn’t know what was going on. She kept it all a secret. Listen, this joker was in Las Vegas one day and I was in Las Vegas, but I’m thinking she’s home at the house. I didn’t know you can have your phone changed to your cell phone. So I call the house, speak to the kids and she up the street from where I’m at in Las Vegas. But me not thinking she would be so crafty, I would ask her were all the kids asleep. The kids there were. She had a good answer for everything. However, at the end of the day, I come to find out–at the time when I was in Vegas preparing for a fight, she was up the street at the Taj Mahal.
Frank: So you had to deal with crafty folks in the ring and outside of the ring.
Riddick: All the way.
Dr. Gayle: And in your house.
Riddick: Right. Maybe they were sharper than I was. See, I guess you know, I can tell you, I wasn’t from the street, so I couldn’t decipher what was taking place or how this was going down. I didn’t have the honor of having that street smarts.
Frank: That’s interesting, because when you think of a young man coming up in New York, going to a Bed-Stuy gym, I assume you grew up in the Bed-Stuy area, which is Brooklyn.
Frank: You would think–
Riddick: But, I had a limited education.
Riddick: I wasn’t from the streets and I think that made the difference. And I guess if you’re around me long enough, you can probably pick that up and because of that I guess, my ex-wife picked it up and a lot of other dudes picked it up.
Dr. Gayle: And it sounds like you got into boxing before you hit the streets or the streets took over you.
Dr. Gayle: Yeah.
Frank: Wow, interesting. Now, you said when the money, basically dried up–well, you specifically said when you retired, but I assume it’s when the money dried up, that’s when the relationship begin to unfold. How did the unfolding–how did it come together? How did it start?
Riddick: Well, I was home. They couldn’t run around like they wanted to and so they had to figure out a way to get away from me. And so, as time progressed, she took the kids and I guess she went to North Carolina or what have you and sent me the divorce papers and what not and then she wanted a certain amount of money to survive on.
Riddick: And how that first took place.
Frank: And was that when the divorce progress actually kicked in? Did you have to pay an exorbitant amount of child support or alimony or anything like that?
Riddick: Well, I was advised–well, Rock Newman said both. “Just give her $10,000 a month,” and things of that nature. So, I took their advice and that’s what it was. So, we put $10,000 a month and so on and so forth at the end of the day that’s what it was.
Frank: Wow, the money, the children, the wife. There’s a lot going on. How did it affect you?
Riddick: And a–and a couple of houses.
Frank: And a couple houses. And where were your houses? It sounds like one was in Vegas.
Riddick: No, I bought houses for her. The house I bought for her was in North Carolina or some place.
Frank: Okay, and so what was–you were just training in Vegas. Where did you live?
Riddick: Where did I live? I lived in Maryland; Fort Washington, Maryland.
Frank: Okay, so you stayed local?
Riddick: Yes, sir.
Frank: When did you come to D.C; to the D.C area from New York?
Riddick: I moved here in ’92; August 17th, 1992.
Dr. Gayle: What made you leave New York?
Riddick: Well, I came down to visit Rock Newman and we happen to be coming through Fort Washington and I said, “Wow, I always wanted to live in a neighborhood like that.” Two months later I moved there.
Dr. Gayle: Wow, okay.
Frank: For the audience members that don’t know. Riddick and Rock had a relationship that was revered in the boxing world, because it was widely believed that Riddick was at some level, undisciplined. Like he didn’t really want to be pushed when he didn’t want to be pushed and that Rock Newman was the force behind him that was able to keep him focused. And he saw that he was the talented, big man, he could fight and he was going to make sure he got to the mountaintop. And so, along the way as Riddick reached the Heavyweight Championship, Rock was credited an awful lot with what they achieved. Do you think that credit is appropriate or do you think it’s overstated?
Riddick: Absolutely. It’s overstated and it wasn’t what people thought it was.
Dr. Gayle: So, what was it actually?
Riddick: It was me just working harder as a fighter and Rock saw an opportunity to take credit for everything I did.
Frank: How much do–
Riddick: Think about it. If I didn’t want to get up and run, who’s going to make me run? Who’s going to whoop me? Nobody. So, I did all this on my own. Not to say he didn’t have a hand, speaking to the public saying, “Well you, Bowe doing this, Bowe’s doing that.” Yeah, he did all that but no one’s going to make me run if I didn’t want to run.
Frank: So tell me about the time–there was a period where your weight went up, where it was con–once you won the Heavyweight Championship, your weight increased and there was a perception that you had lost focus. Was that true and where do you weigh in there?
Riddick: Well, here’s the deal and this is what happened. Remember, I was fighting quite often–before I got to the championships and things of that nature. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t know that when you’ve sign big deals with [HEO] 24:31, you can’t fight when you want to fight. So, right, yeah, I had to take longer time-well, I had longer times to do what I wanted to do and unfortunate for me, my body type, when you eat something it stays with you
And so yes, I gained weight and it was harder for me to get the weight off. I didn’t know when you get older, it becomes harder. I’m saying, “Well, I can run the weight off,” or whatever the case may be. So, that was harder for me, but for the most one part, I got the weight off and then I think I looked okay.
But people, of course, they want to have something to talk about. They made it the big issue. There’s a lot of guys who are 50 pounds over what they should be before they go to training camp and things of that nature. I never hear nobody make a big deal about them, so why was I so special in that regard?
Frank: Your first fight with Holyfield was a big deal, to say the least. It’s where you won the championship. But your second fight was a big deal, too. Folks thought that Holyfield was going to come with an even bigger game. And he did. And it was also perceived as your weight had gotten a little out of control and that was some of the time where it was believed that you had lost focus. You want to talk a little bit about that second fight? And also, that was the fight where a guy parachuted into the ring while you guys were going toe-to-toe.
Riddick: Right. Well again, I was 25 when I won the championship. *(inaudible) 26:16 the rematch I was 26. You got to remember, *(inaudible) 26:19 and so, I was still going as a young man, so I don’t think–a year later I was what? I was what? Ten pounds heavier. That’s to be expected,
Riddick: And so, I don’t know why people made that such a big deal, because I gained a little bit of weight.
Frank: Now Holyfield is a–we talk a lot about relationships. We’ve talked about your management, we’ve talked about your wife, we’ll certainly talk about your new wife, but Holyfield was another relationship that was heavily defining for you and your career. You fought each other three times, you won two out of the three and there had to have been a bond that you all developed. Tell me a little bit about that relationship and–
Riddick: We had mutual respect for each other and I guess when you got to–actually, I looked up to Holyfield. He taught me a lot of things. What people don’t know is that early in my career, I trained with Evander Holyfield, so I knew him pretty well. And so, when we fought I just did the things that I knew that I can get away with. And what he wasn’t expecting was that I retained all of this knowledge from boxing with him. And so, I used it to better myself. And I think by be being somewhat bigger than him and doing the things that he wanted to do. Well, I did the things to him that he wanted to do to me and I think by being a little bigger I benefited because of that.
He had the more experience, the more fights and things of that nature, but of course, I remember it so well, I just–it looked easy. However, when we were training, I would act like I was tired, right? So, I would lean up against the ring and George is talking to him. “Well, this is what you got to do. You got to do that.” And so, I’m trying to capitalize on what George is telling him and he don’t realize that I’m listening to what George is saying, because he’s somewhat tired as well, so I used that to my benefit. And as a professional–I don’t know why I do this, but I used to retain everything that I used to hear Georgie tell him and see, Evander Holyfield, he never changes his spots. He’s like a leopard. So, the things he did then, he did them as a professional and so I was able to capitalize.
Frank: George was his trainer?
Riddick: Yeah, Georgie Benton. Yes, sir.
Frank: Now, I want to really point out that Holyfield was a–when he was coming up he came up, even in the pros, as a light heavyweight and he was a dominant light heavyweight. I mean, he’s up there with the Roy Jones, Jr’s of it.
Riddick: He whooped everybody.
Frank: Yes, he whooped everybody and then he moved up into the heavyweight division, because of–I mean there’s really nothing that cruiserweight to do. There was nobody to be their cruiserweight; nobody’s ever really paid much attention to a cruiserweight champion the way that the heavyweight championship gets credit. So, he moved up to heavyweight and he was considered a small heavyweight. He was about the size of Mike Tyson and so neither one of them were really big heavyweights. But then you bring in men like Buster Douglas.
Buster Douglas was a big man. He was a big heavy weight. You bring in the Lennox Lewis’s and you bring in the Riddick Bowe’s and you got a whole echelon of heavyweight. And so, the two of them meeting; Holyfield and Bowe meeting, you talk about two guys that went toe-to-toe. They went toe-to-toe and it was a tall order for Holyfield to do as well as he did in the fight. And what can I say? He lost the first one. He did win the second one. It was a close fight, but talk about an impressive pair of fights.
The third fight wasn’t the same. Both fighters were coming off of their prime, but I certainly watched it and enjoyed it. Any–
Riddick: I got the knockout.
Frank: You got the knockout. Yes, you did.
Dr. Gayle: That’s all that matters, right?
Frank: What are your thoughts about the trilogy and has there been a relationship that’s continued over the years between you and Holyfield?
Dr. Gayle: Outside of the ring.
Frank: At one point, we would call each other up from time to time, but as time progressed, you forget about each other and that’s what happened.
Frank/Dr. Gayle: Uh-huh.
Riddick: I believe he’s a great guy and whatever your fight is, I always root for him. That’s my man. I always liked Holyfield.
Frank: Yeah, so you guys didn’t quite development the–I don’t know if you’re familiar with the relationship that Arturo Gatti and Micky Ward ended up developing after they fought.
Frank: So you weren’t quite as close as they became.
Riddick: Well, I guess we could’ve been close, but I guess when we went out and people would run to me, “Hey champ, how are you doing,” he got a little offended by that, because I guess he always thought he should be first. And so, because of that little insecurity, we never really developed a good relationship. Initially, we were okay, we were friends and things of that nature. But as time progressed, I guess we just couldn’t get along. So, when they say you can’t get along, you got to get it on and he didn’t want that number four.
Frank: Let’s talk money. So where’d the money go? Where’d the money come? When was it best and when was it greatest and then where did it go?
Riddick: Well, we had a lot of money and sometimes when you get a lot of money you don’t pay attention to where it’s going or where it’s coming and things of that nature. But I guess, *(inaudible) 32:14 but I guess Judy Bowe did a whole lot with my money, so. And I guess Rock Newman took his portion.
Riddick: As a matter of fact, he probably took more than what his portion should’ve been, but I guess that’s the way it goes sometimes.
Dr. Gayle: And how was life with the money after fighting?
Riddick: For a long time everything was great. Everything was all peaches and cream. However, if you spend $100 and you only got $50, something’s going on, something’s got to be turned off. And things catch up to you and so that’s what happened.
Frank: Talk about Rock Newman and just a level of credit that you give him. You said that he contributed some. How much did he contribute and what credit do you give him?
Riddick: I give him a credit. He was good mouthpiece. When he would talk about, “Yeah man, this guy’s going to fight,” or whatever the case may be. And then he’ll talk, “Well, yeah. I love this guy. I love this guy so much I’d die for him,” or whatever the case may be. But at the end of the day, when I really needed Rock, he was nowhere to be found.
Frank: Well, when was that and when did that relationship end?
Riddick: Well, I guess about when I retired. He convinced me to retire. I didn’t want to retire. I was at 28, “What am I going to do for the rest of my life?” I was 28 years old. “Well, Bowe you need to retire and you got $50 million in the bank,” and so on and so forth. But I didn’t want to retire and I let him convince me to retire and so on; and so I did that and things of that nature. He was telling me, “Yeah man, you’ve got these five kids, you want to be home with them. You want to talk to you know, you want to nurture them,” and things of that nature. He was just going on, talking about being good nurturer and things of that nature. So, I listened though. I thought Rock knew what he was talking about and whatnot, but I didn’t realize he just wanted to sit me down and get me out the way, so he can continue to rob.
Frank: Speaking of retirement, there were a few things that came up along the way. So, there was the marines and then there was Andrew Golota–
Frank: Which came first?
Riddick: Well, Andrew Golota came first.
Frank: Alright, so what happened with Golota?
Riddick: Well, the thing is, I’m not a sore loser. “You beat me. You beat me. You’re the best man,” But I’m a tell you something, on the way to the–right before we started to go into the ring, we had a guy working with, his name was Brother Bay. Brother Bay said, “Look here, Bowe, take these vitamins.” After I took the vitamins, I was weak, I couldn’t see straight and there were a whole lot of things that was going on. So, I get into the fight and I fought the best I could, but I was weak and whatever the case may be. So, why am I so weak now? It’s because you gave me something. So, I knew they set me up and I knew they were going to deny, but I was set up that particular fight. And Andrew, he came to the fight. Everybody wants to beat Riddick Bowe, but I think I was way too much for him and so because I was too much for him, he began to hit me low and to do a lot of things that were crazy. But at the end of the day I won the fight. I got disqualified and things of that nature and Rock Newman was going to make fight with this clown. Why would you do that?
Frank: Uh-huh. It was–
Riddick: And I guess me being young and being a man, I not going to say, “No, I don’t want to fight him,” so I took the fight. Actually, I took a lot of fights I didn’t want to take. I took the fight, because Rock Newman wanted me to take the fight. And I could lose my best buddy, so I didn’t want to disappoint him, so I took the fights anyway. Who in the world fights 13 times in one year?
Riddick: Nobody but me. I was trying to keep the man happy and so that’s how it went down. But anyway, we had to go out on fights and things took place and after the fight, he said, “Look man, I think you need to retire,” and *(inaudible) 36:34 “I’m only 20 years old. What am I going to do with the rest of my life? All I need is a couple of month’s rest and we can get back on this thing.” But he said, “No man, I don’t think you should do it,” and whatever the case may be. But I had a deal with HBO for $100 million and the only way they can get out of that contract was if I were to retire. And I truly believe that because I retired, him and HBO were in cahoots and they kept all the money and did the things they wanted to do. Why, me as a fighter, I didn’t get nothing. That’s even like today when they show my fight with Evander Holyfield, who gets the money for that? Rock Newman gets the money, I believe. I don’t get anything, so why is it like that?
Dr. Gayle: How much longer do you think you could’ve gone, if he hadn’t suggested that you retire at that time?
Riddick: Well, I could’ve fought until maybe I would until I was 35 or 40. There’s a lot of guys that still do their thing. I mean George Foreman was a great fighter, but I don’t think he was greater than me. So, George Foreman fought until he was 45. I could’ve fought until I was 50.
Frank: You’re listening to Frank Relationships and we’re talking with former heavyweight champion, Riddick Big Daddy Bowe. You noted that–you’ve said a few things here. You’ve talked about your wife, Judy, Rock Newman and a gentleman by the name of Brother Bay. It’s worth noting that all of this– none of these other individuals are here to defend themselves, so we don’t want to take everything as fact, but we certainly appreciate you sharing your story.
How did you deal with being a celebrity? What was life like for you as the heavyweight champion of the world?
Riddick: Well, you know it’s funny, because I think people saw me at the time, but I guess I was like a big dream. I was always cordial to people. I showed them I had love and I just respected them, you know what I mean? If they wanted a autograph, I gave it to them. I tried not to let it go to my head.
Dr. Gayle: How can you compare your celebrity life back then to how celebrity life is now? And especially, like fighters–
Riddick: Well, I guess it depends on where I’m at, but for the most part people don’t know Riddick Bowe’s in the house. There would be a time when I would go up to a fight and if I’m at the fight, I got no peace. I’ll give you an example. Me and my went to New York City one day and we went to a fight and it took almost two hours to get to our seat. Well now, if I went to a fight, it takes me five seconds to get to my seat. You see the difference?
Dr. Gayle: Right.
Riddick: People ain’t–they don’t want your autograph. They’re not really talking to you. They don’t pay you no attention. So, that’s the difference.
Frank: With notable heavyweights like yourself, are you able to go to fights and get free tickets? It seems like that would be a perk and being a veteran.
Riddick: Well, I’m tell you something, listen, if you ain’t got the money, it’s a wrap. You can’t come in there and they’ll stop you at the door and tell you, “Look, you got to pay to get in here.”
Dr. Gayle: Celebrity or not.
Riddick: And I don’t care who you are. That has happened to me.
Dr. Gayle: Uh-huh.
Frank: Tell us what you learned about trust, friendship and money along the way to where you are today.
Riddick: Well you know, everybody that smiles in your face ain’t your friend. And money–and as they say, “Money is the root of all evil.” So, there were people in my life you would think the money wouldn’t change them. As a matter of fact, the truth be told, my money changed them. They were totally different.
Even my brothers and sisters, you know. I brought them houses and whatever the case may be, but I think they felt like they should’ve got more. A $1000 a month wasn’t good for them. They wanted more than what they were getting, but they wasn’t paying no bills. I was paying all the bills. Because I wouldn’t give them more, I became this mean person to them all; whatever the case may be.
Dr. Gayle: And speaking of your brothers and sisters, you guys don’t have a relationship, right?
Riddick: I don’t talk to none of them jokers, because they think my money is their money.
Frank: Even ’til this day?
Riddick: Even ’til this day. The only one that I still speak to is my baby sister, Kim. Everybody else is I need to talk to them.
Dr. Gayle: And that’s a lot of you–
Dr. Gayle: It’s a lot of you guys, right? Like 13 of you.
Riddick: Thirteen of us, right. But I only-well, it’s 13 of us, I say there’s two of us, because I only really deal with my sister, Kim.
Dr. Gayle: And that’s all do to money and fame and–
Riddick: Well, I bought them houses and they tore the houses up and my dumb self, they tear down one house and I buy other houses for them. So, they just tore my houses up, whereas I had sold them, but I didn’t make no profit or anything, becaurse I had to put so much money back into the houses to fix them up. I bought them brand new houses and you know how it feels to go into a house and it looks like that everybody in the neighborhood lived in the house? Nobody would clean the house or anything, so I mean I cried. I literally cried when they tore the houses up. It was terrible.
Frank: There’s was a point and time when you ran into some legal trouble. I remember seeing a story about kidnapping, as it pertains to your wife and kids. Tell us what happened.
Riddick: Well, first of all I want tell you, how can you kidnap your wife and kids? I don’t understand that. But anyway, yeah, well, I think my first wife was down there. She went to North Carolina and she was there for six, seven months. Her mother calls me and says, “Bowe listen, stop being a bitch. Go down there and get your wife and kids.” I’m thinking moma knows best, so I did what she told me to do.
Frank: Her mother or your mother?
Riddick: No, my mother-in-law.
Frank: Your mother in-law, okay.
Riddick: Fine, so I’m thinking she knows better. So, I go down there and I get Judy. We ride, you know and then she says, “You know Bowe, you need to go over here to McDonald’s and get the kids something to hold you.” I said, “*(inaudible) 42:51.” I go over there. She goes, “Let me use your cell phone. Let me call my brother and tell him to shut everything down for me,” and I do this and what not. And then she comes out of the bathroom. She says, “Well you know what? I called the police.” I was like, “Why would you do that?” She said, “Well, I changed my mind. I don’t want to go with you,” and things of that nature. “And I called the police just in case you decide to act up.” I said, “It ain’t no big deal. That’s no big thing. It’s cool.” So, the police come and talk to me. I guessed they talked with her. And then she says, “Come here for a minute, let me talk with you.” So I go over to her and she says, “Well, give me $300, so me and the kids can move.” I said, “That’s crazy. I’m giving you the car that I drove down here. Why do I need to give you $300?” She says, “Well, if you don’t give me $300, I’m telling the police to go ahead and take you to jail.”
“Man, you want $300 dollars so bad it made your head spin.” I went on and about my way and she went on about her way and I didn’t hear anything for about a three months. Now, I get this call from the government. They say that I’ve been indicted. Indicted? Indicted for what? The charge was kidnapping, but I guess they broke it down to anything to domestic violence, because her story had so many holes in it and I had to do 18 months, because of that. I’ve never been in trouble before in my life and haven’t been in trouble since, so.
Frank: You did 18 months in prison?
Riddick: Yes sir, absolutely. But I did that standing on my head. They should gave me another 18 months, so I could get back on my feet.
Frank: Your second wife. What’s her name?
Riddick: Her name is Terry.
Frank: Tell us about Terry and how you met Terry.
Riddick: Boy, I think the sky’s opened up when I met Terry. And it’s funny how I met her. I met her at a restaurant called Henry’s in Fort Washington *[Indian Head] 44:47 highway. And when I saw this particular person, I couldn’t stop looking at her. I couldn’t stop, talking about her and whatever the case may be.
Well anyway, the guy who owns the place, he tried to be facetious, because I asked, “Who’s that? Who’s that young lady right there?” He goes over to her and he says to her, “You know, that’s Bowe. That’s the former two-time heavyweight champion.” And I think she said, “Yeah, I know who he is,” and no one has ever shunned me, pretty much.
Well, that did kind of impress me. She was really sharp and one night and she spoke very well. I asked her for her number and that was happening. I ask her where she lived. She said, “Why do I need to tell.” She just gave me such a hard time and no one’s ever done that to me before. So, I wanted to call her and I wanted and I wanted to be her friend and she just wasn’t having it. Well, what ends up happening was, I think it was three months probably within between time, why I hadn’t seen her. But as soon as she walked through the door, everybody was talking to me. It was like a Matrix type of situation.
They were talking to me, but I couldn’t hear what they were saying, because all of my attention went to this particular person and when I saw her, I guess I kind of lost sight of the world. But to make a long story short, I just had to be with this person. I just wanted to know where she lived. I wanted to know everything about her. Her shoe size and everything.
Frank: How long ago was this?
Riddick: Well, we’ve been married for 13 years now, so I guess it was 14 years ago.
Riddick: I married her a year later.
Dr. Gayle: Wow.
Frank: A year and how long had you been divorced at the time?
Riddick: Two years, I believe
Dr. Gayle: So, Terry was after the fame, after the retirement and everything?
Riddick: Uh-huh absolutely, but that’s my best buddy though. So, I guess she was going to church and what not and she was, “I’m going to see my grandmother.” And I said, “Well, how are you going to get to see your grandmother.” She said, “Well, I’m going to take the bus.”
I said, “Why catch the bus or cab and I can take you.” You told me don’t ever kick your blessing. Well, I’m a blessing to you.”
So, I convinced her to come over to our house and pick her up and take her to her grandmother’s house. And so that was our first date, I guess. And so, when I got to the house, her grandma said, “Is that the best you can do?” And so, I began to look around and I realized it was me and another guy there. And then she–about three minutes later, she said, “Is that your boyfriend?” She said, “Is that the best you can do,” so when I realized grandma was serious. She meant that, you know and so we almost got into a fight behind that. “Grandma.” She might’ve grabbed me and things of that nature. And I come to realize here we are 10, 15 years later grandma wasn’t talking to me. She was talking to her other granddaughter and her boyfriend.
Frank: Got you.
Riddick: Then, we would’ve got into a fight for nothing.
Riddick: But she knows I’m joking, you know.
Frank: So you and grandma are cool now?
Riddick: I went to her grandmother’s house and we was there all day long.
Riddick: And she comes for a visit and me being Riddick Bowe, I been pressed to leave. No, she don’t know that I love the family thing. I love the atmosphere. I had a lot of fun but then I came home and I think that had [full blown] 48:42 effect on me. And from that day to this day, we’ve been just together. And if she’s not with me, I’m not myself. As a matter of fact, she’s sitting right next to me; been here through this whole conversation.
Frank: Hi, Terry.
Dr. Gayle: Oh, that’s nice. Hi, Terry.
Frank: She can’t hear you.
Dr. Gayle: No, I she can’t.
Frank: Let’s talk about the marines for a minute. You said that you always–at one point near the end of your career, you said you always wanted to be a marine. So, you were going to go into the marines. What happened then?
Riddick: Okay, I wanted to be a marine. I remember, it was back in 1976 when I wanted to become a marine. I was a little kid, eight or nine years old. I watched Ray Leonard win the gold medal and as that was over I turned the TV and I turned to a channel where–I guess the programs was something about Hema Jima and it was John Wayne who was starring in the movie. And I seen them give the troops a command. “Sir, yes, sir” Everybody was dressed the same. They just looked so good to me and I just wanted to be a marine. So, time goes on, I pick up boxing and whatever the case may be. So, here it is, I’m 28, nothing to do. I said, “You know what? Let me go and do this Marine Corp. thing.” So I did that, but too many *(inaudible) 50:06 of them cats come in your face all day and everyday and all. You know what I mean? Well, to make a long story short, I wasn’t prepared for that. And I said, “Well, I’m going a knock one of these *(inaudible) 50:20 fuckers out. I better get up out of here.” So, that’s when I decided to come home. I wasn’t expecting all day, everyday, I had deal with this with this nonsense. So, that’s why I came home.
Dr. Gayle: But it was a controversy, right? That they let you go, because you were who you were?
Riddick: Right and I think that if they didn’t let me go so easily, I would’ve thought about it and eventually finished out. They didn’t do me like they do everybody else.
Dr. Gayle: Uh-huh. So, you actually wanted to be a marine before boxing even came along?
Riddick: Absolutely, I guess boxing came up on me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting it.
Dr. Gayle: So what was life like after the marines? Boxing was over, marine didn’t work out. What did you do?
Riddick: I came home and got fat. I came home got fat, done the do and I guess was I just loving life. You know, $50 million in the bank. I got whatever I wanted and all that ran out.
Frank: All of it?
Riddick: Well, I know what happened. I had a thing with HBO called “Reaching Behind the Ring.” So, I was traveling with them and things of that nature.
Riddick: But after I came home the Marine Corp. all that ceased. Everything stopped.
Frank: So, let’s switch channels for a minute. We’ve been talking about your relationships, your life. Let’s talk a little bit about the champions of boxing. Who are some of the fighters that you–well you talked about Muhammad Ali, but who are some of the fighters that you most admire?
Riddick: Well, there’s Mark Breland and Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard. Everybody else didn’t appeal to me, so I guess I wouldn’t–I mean I’m watched them and what have you, but they didn’t move me in any kind of way.
Frank: Uh-huh. What were your thoughts on Mike Tyson, who you never fought but who was around at the same time?
Riddick: Well, let me tell you something. Me and Mike come from the same neighborhood.
Riddick: Actually me and Mike went to school together.
Dr. Gayle: Oh wow, okay.
Riddick: Yeah, me and Mike went to school together and even as kids, we know who we can deal with or who’s going to give us a hard time. Mike was having a scrimmage with a kid one day and the kid was–I think he was right beside me or right behind me and Mike went around me to get to him. So, that let me know, even as kid’s he knew what time it was.
I think me and Mike would have had a great fight, but he knows that me with being so much taller than he is, I would us my jab and I would eventually beat him. So, that’s why that fight never took place.
Frank: And that was around the time–Mike had the rape charge around that time. So, he was taken out of the scene around the time when you had beat Holyfield, because Mike had lost to Buster Douglas. Holyfield beat Buster Douglas and then Holyfield and you fought.
Riddick: I beat Holyfield.
Frank: And then you beat Holyfield, yep.
Riddick: I beat the man. I beat the man that made me the man.
Dr. Gayle: I like it
Frank: That’s real. That’s real. He did it. And in fact, at the time, Mike had unified the championship. Well, Mike unified. Buster Douglas took the unified championship from Mike, I believe. Holyfield took and Bowe took it from Holyfield. And then, when Bowe threw one of the belts in the trash that’s when I think they issued–they gave the belt to Lennox Lewis; one of the belts to Lennox Lewis and then the heavyweight championship was then un-unified. Is that about right?
Riddick: Absolutely. That’s absolutely correct. However, also what you didn’t know was I went to go visit Mike in prison. He was locked up about in Indianapolis and what have you
He also, “Hey champ, how you doing?” We were always cool. Never no disrespect and things of that nature.
Dr. Gayle: Do you guys still keep in contact now? You and Mike?
Riddick: Well, you know we see each other in passing, but I guess people probably say things. “Well, Bowe said this and Bowe said that,” and so they don’t speak to you, but I wish he would come to me and tell me you know–or whatever. Even if it’s Holyfield. “Hey man, you disrespect.” Listen, I’m a man and I’m going to tell you what I said or what I didn’t say. Don’t harbor any hard feelings, because if I said or not, you’re going by what somebody else said, you know. But I guess they don’t see it like that so when they see you or hear you’re in town, they don’t come to you or whatever the case may be. But I don’t care. You know why?
Dr. Gayle: Why?
Riddick: They can’t whoop nobody.
Frank: How many kids do you have now, Bowe?
Riddick: I have five kids.
Frank: Five? You and Terry have any together?
Dr. Gayle: You and Terry have one together?
Riddick: We have one. We have a little girl.
Frank: How old–
Riddick: She’s just as pretty as I am, too.
Frank: How old is baby girl now?
Riddick: She’s seven years old, but she’s seven going on 35.
Frank: I believe it. I got one of those.
Riddick: Man, she call the shots around like she the boss.
Frank: I believe–I have a two year old that does that, so I’m worse off than you.
Riddick: Well, can she talk yet? Does she talk to you?
Frank: She talks. My nephew, when he comes to see me, he is readily–he comes like once a year. He is always amazed at how much this little girl developed. When he came last year, he said, “She talks?” And she not only talks, but she has mastered the English language. Her Godfather swears that we should teach her another language, because she done mastered English.
Riddick: She’s doing pretty good with a child.
Frank: Yeah, she’s doing alright.
Dr. Gayle: So Bowe, do you feel like you’re reliving life or you have like a different life now? You know, with Terry and your seven year old? What’s different now?
Riddick: Well, I’m going to take the baby thing, for instance. I think I spend so much time with her, where with my other kids I was always ripping and running. I have a much better bond with her, you know what I mean?
I mean, all them other kids. Ain’t nobody, never told me to shut up. This baby, “Shut up, daddy.” I’ll be squeezing and she just keeps me laughing and my wife say, “Well, she’s just like you. She’ll say whatever comes to her mind,” and she’s just a handful you. I think my life wouldn’t be the same without her. I think when things get hard and rough for me, she’s the person that helps me keep it together.
Dr. Gayle: Right and is the relationship that you wanted to have with your father that you didn’t have growing up?
Riddick: Absolutely, and I think when it her also comes to my wife, Terry’s been a real wife to me. It wasn’t–we don’t play a whole lot of games, you know what I mean?
Dr. Gayle: Uh-huh.
Riddick: It is what it is. You tell me how you feel, I’m going tell you how I feel and that’s what it is. My relationship with her is as the Bible says it should be. Now, we ain’t dealing with other people. It’s me and her 100 percent.
Frank: What’s your relationship like with your other children?
Riddick: What relationship?
Dr. Gayle: Okay.
Frank: And I–
Riddick: I mean, I guess I don’t see them. I don’t talk to them. Of course, that’s the way their mother wants it or whatever the case may be. And truly believe they’re old enough to know what’s going on. They know when they’re with me, I give them all whole lot *(inaudible) 58:09.
Dr. Gayle: Because they’re adults, right? Your other kids?
Riddick: Right, they’re adults now. And my feelings, I gave them everything. They know what type of father I was, so why would you avoid me?
Frank: How old are they?
Riddick: They’re in their 20’s now.
You’ve been listening to Frank Relationships and we’ve been talking with former heavyweight champion, Riddick Big Daddy Bowe.
Riddick: Why you don’t never say two-time heavyweight champion?
Frank: Sorry. Alright, alright. We’re going to do it again.
You’ve been listening to Frank Relationships and we’ve been talking with former two-time heavyweight championship, Riddick–
Riddick: My man. My man.
Frank: Big Daddy Bowe. Along today’s journey we’ve discussed the champ’s rise to fame, the management partnership that played a pivotal role in his rise to stardom and his relationship struggles and triumphs throughout. I hope you’ve had as much fun as I’ve had talking with Riddick Bowe about his fascinating journey. As always, it’s my wish for you to walk away from this conversation with a heaping, helping of useful information that’ll help you create the relationship that is as loving and accepting as possible. Let us know what you thought of today’s show at facebook/relationshipflove, on twitter at @mrfranklove or at franklove.com. Until next time, keep rising, This is Frank Love.