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State Athletic Commission Brings Charges in Boxing Riot

August 3, 1996

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ Boxer Riddick Bowe’s wallet could be $1 million lighter unless he wins a fight against New York’s athletic commission.

The governing body essentially recommended a $1 million fine for Bowe because of his handlers’ actions during a July 11 post-fight brawl at Madison Square Garden, commission spokeswoman Gwenn Lee said Friday.

The commission temporarily suspended the boxing licenses of management for Bowe and opponent Andrew Golota, and recommended making the suspension permanent, she said.

All have the option of requesting a hearing to change those penalties, she said.

The wild, chair-throwing melee started after Golota was disqualified in the seventh round of his heavyweight match with ex-champ Bowe for repeatedly landing low blows. Witnesses said a group of 20 people affiliated with the Bowe camp, including manager Rock Newman, flooded the ring.

The athletic commission had temporarily held Bowe’s $5 million purse to encourage his cooperation in its investigation. The commission has since released $4 million, but recommended Bowe forfeit his right to the rest because of the failure to control his management, Lee said.

The action will not affect the ability of Bowe, a Brooklyn native, to fight again in New York state, she said.

``The commission felt that the $1 million forfeiture will really make him think twice about the type of company he keeps,″ she said.

Newman’s Washington, D.C.-based company, Spencer Promotions, Inc., was charged with taking actions detrimental to the interests of boxing and failure to ensure a safe environment for the match, she said.

The commission said Newman and his employees ``initiated, contributed to and exacerbated″ the riot. Newman, who has a history of post-fight brawling, has denied doing anything to precipitate the melee. He did not return a telephone call seeking comment.

His company faces the permanent loss of its boxing license in New York state, as does Golota manager Lou Duva, who was knocked to the ground in the brawl and spent a night in the hospital with chest pains.

Duva was accused of charging and bumping referee Wayne Kelly in protest of Golota’s disqualification.

Duva’s lawyer, Patrick English, said his client was blindsided by the accusation. English said tapes show that while Duva’s arm made contact with Kelly, it was because he was trying to protect his fighter from rioters entering the ring.

``I’m really upset about the fact that we didn’t have notice of any of this,″ English said. ``If we had, we could have gotten them the stuff that showed them it was inaccurate.″

But Lee said the commission had conducted a thorough investigation, with help from police, witnesses and films of the event.

Bowe, Newman and Duva all have 20 days to request a hearing on the charges, she said.

The commission is headed by former heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson, who said the melee was ``nothing short of an outrage and a debacle.″

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