Riddick Bowe vs. Andrew Golota (1st meeting)
1996-07-11 : Riddick Bowe 252 lbs beat Andrew Golota 243 lbs by DQ in round 7 of 12
- Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, USA
- Referee: Wayne Kelly
- Judge: Steve Weisfeld 65-67
- Judge: Luis Rivera 65-67
- Judge: George Colon 66-67
- The fight aired on HBO World Championship Boxing.
- The riot that ensued at Madison Square Garden after the fight resulted in 22 injuries and 16 arrests.
- Rock Newman, Bowe's manager and promoter, was suspended for a year and fined $250,000 by the New York State Athletic Commission. 
- The riot was named the 1996 Event of the Year by The Ring Magazine.
Garden Brawl Erupts After Bowe Is Awarded Victory
By Gerald Eskenazi, The New York Times, July 12, 1996
A heavyweight bout between Riddick Bowe and Andrew Golota dissolved into a frightening brawl involving fans, cornermen and even managers at Madison Square Garden last night, evoking the darkest evenings of boxing's controversial past.
The series of violent battles grew so potentially dangerous that Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who came to the Garden after the fighting broke out, was ushered into one of the dressing rooms, where he remained heavily guarded more than an hour after the arena was cleared by a cordon of New York City police.
During the early moments of the battling, fans were stomping other fans and the ring was filled by followers of both fighters throwing punches. Most of the brawls involved black fans battling white fans.
Dr. Andrew Bazos of the New York State Athletic Commission said there were no major injuries among the handlers or the crowd of 11,252. He said 12 people suffered routine injuries and sprains, seven of whom were hospitalized for what he described as precautionary reasons.
Several people were seen being handcuffed by the police, but it could not immediately be learned how many were arrested. The police, however, quickly made their presence felt once they arrived. As is customary at most sporting events in New York, the host site provided a private security force.
The remarkable scene began with 27 seconds remaining in the seventh round when Referee Wayne Kelly disqualified Golota, who had delivered a low blow to the former heavyweight champion Bowe for the fourth time in their bout and the second time in the seventh round.
With the 252-pound Bowe writhing on the canvas, Kelly waved his arms, ending the fight and giving the victory to Bowe. Rock Newman, Bowe's manager, jumped into the ring to tend to Bowe and was followed by Bernard Brooks Sr., an associate of Bowe's.
"I went in to make sure Rock was all right," Brooks said. "I tried to hold Golota away, but he swung at me with a left."
Brooks's son, Bernard Jr., then charged Golota and started to pound the 243-pound fighter behind the head with a walkie-talkie.
The fight then escalated in pockets of violence throughout the arena, which has been relatively free of such incidents since it opened in 1968.
Some fans waving Polish flags, who had come to support the Warsaw-born Golota, tried to storm the ring. Other fans battled them. Among those arrested was a pair of men draped in the Polish flag.
In the confusion, Lou Duva, the 74-year-old trainer who had been advising Golota, was also hit by a walkie-talkie. Duva had trouble breathing and was taken to New York University Hospital.
"The doctor said he'll be O.K.," said his daughter-in-law, Kathy Duva. "They said it's just a precaution." The hospital later listed his condition as stable.
Police began clearing the building upon their arrival, and about 90 minutes after the melee began everyone had left.
Golota was clearly winning the bout in what would have been a major upset. He was getting to Bowe with combinations, quieting most of the crowd, which rooted for the Brooklyn-born Bowe.
Kelly, the referee, had been concerned before the fight about Golota's reputation for dirty fighting. The unbeaten 28-year-old had actually bitten a previous opponent and head-butted another.
"If this guy tries to bite Bowe, I've got a plan on what to do," Kelly said. It never got to biting. But Golota was in trouble for other reasons.
He lost points for low blows in the fourth and sixth rounds, when his punches sent Bowe to the canvas. Then another low blow in the seventh doubled over Bowe. He did not topple, but Kelly again took a point away from Golota.
Finally, with Golota's fourth low shot, Kelly waved his arms that it was over. As soon as Bowe went down, Golota started to shake his head, knowing he was disqualified.
It was not automatic -- the referee has the discretion to stop it at any time or to allow it to last.
Outside the Garden last night, police wearing riot helmets had set up flares on 33d Street and Seventh Avenue, funneling traffic south and away from the building's entrance. Dozens of police made their presence felt around the arena while hundreds of fans continued to mill about, many visibly shaken.
Even in this scene some fans laughed about what they had seen, almost like whistling in the dark. Still, one fan, Rob Eatman, a 28-year-old from Harlem, described the pre-fight atmosphere as "racially tense."
Most of the fans cheering Golota were white, many of them apparently of Polish background. Most of those who fought them were black.
"The tension flared after the low blows and the disqualification fanned the situation," Eatman said. "Even on the way out, on the escalators, people were fighting."
Brishawn Shaw, 22, of the Upper East Side, said she was with a friend. "We were terrified. We grabbed onto each other and ran for our lives, but no place seemed safe."
"I was rooting for Golota," said Alfred Cretella, a Staten Island construction worker. "I was just standing there," said the 37-year-old, "then the next thing I knew I was jumped from behind and 10 guys started stomping on me."
Giuliani was safe during the extended battling. He was ensconced in Golota's dressing room.
Newman has been involved in several previous scuffles at bouts. Six years ago, Newman battled Bowe's opponent, Elijah Tillery. Then there was the time in Las Vegas, Nev., after Bowe won the title from Evander Holyfield and Newman fought with a photographer. He also was involved in an incident when a man in a motorized glider tried to sail into the ring during Bowe's rematch against Holyfield. Newman and others in his party repeatedly beat the flyer.
Golota caused a commotion in the hours before the fight, too. He refused to go on. Believe it or not, money settled the issue.
The contract called for "a 10- or 12-rounder." Everyone believed, however, this would be a 10-round affair since there was no official title at stake. But The Daily News was offering its belt to the winner -- and the contract specifically gave Bowe the right to call this a title fight because of the newspaper's trophy.
"I trained for 10," Golota complained, and insisted he would not go on. However, for what a Garden official described as "a minimal amount of money," Golota changed his mind. That amount was added to his original guarantee of $600,000. Bowe's cut was worth at least $3 million. In the co-feature last night, Hector (Macho) Camacho, fighting only 19 days after going 12 rounds with Roberto Duran, stopped an overmatched Craig Houk in the second round. "I did it so I could fight in New York," said the 34-year-old Camacho, a former lightweight and superfeatherweight champion. "I wanted to show the Duran decision was no fluke. I want to stay busy."