By Mark Staniforth
While there are countless apocryphal tales of the extent to which Riddick Bowe ate his way out of heavyweight greatness, few could deny the raw talent possessed by the fighter they fondly knew as 'Big Daddy'.
Unfortunately, outside his epic trilogy against Evander Holyfield, it is events outside the ring for which Bowe will be best remembered, be it his eating habits or his public dumping of the WBC belt in a dustbin rather than face Lennox Lewis.
Bowe's post-championship career petered out amid health concerns, a conviction for kidnapping his wife, and bankruptcy. He lasted just 11 days in the US Marine Corps, and failed to show up for a mooted 2008 comeback fight.
Most sadly of all, Bowe, now 43, still harbours serious hopes of addressing his frittered legacy. Having last fought in 2008, when he won a unanimous decision over Gene Pukall, Bowe insists he is ready to fight again.
In an interview with boxingscene.com, Bowe said he decided to come back after watching Wladimir Klitschko's facile victory over David Haye. Bowe said: "I watched that fight and knew that I had to come back for America.
"You take the Klitschkos, I can match them with experience and size. I am not intimidated by them. Everybody who fights them is intimidated by them. I have the whole package to beat them.
"I'm going to show them the Riddick Bowe of 1992 - if not better. I sat around for 10 years and gave the Klitschkos a chance to get it right. Now I feel I need to show them how it should be done."
With Bowe's great foe Holyfield still fighting on approaching the age of 50, Bowe's mooted comeback is hardly the most surprising headline in sport. But given previous concerns over his health, it is one of the more worrying.
Bowe's speech became noticeably more slurring during late career interviews, and brain damage was even used as a defence during his kidnapping trial in order to mitigate the length of his sentence.
Bowe's top-level career came to an end after his second consecutive disqualification win over Andrew Golota in 1996. Twice Bowe took a sustained beating from the Pole, but took victory when Golota was thrown out for low blows.
Those fights appeared to underline Bowe's status as a faded force. In his previous fight, the third of his trilogy against Holyfield, he had been knocked down for the first time in his career but rallied to win an epic in round eight.
The pair's first two fights earned Bowe his place in history. He won the first by unanimous decision, and lost the second in the same way in a fight forever remembered for the notorious 'Fan Man' incident in the seventh round.
Bowe spent eight years out after that second loss to Golota, during which his life largely unravelled, and it was no surprise to see him return for two facile and out-of-shape wins over club fighters in 2004 and 2005.
After another near-four year absence, Bowe admits for the first time that he made mistakes in his career. He told boxingscene dumping the WBC belt in the bin was "ill advised", as was a career which ended without more career-defining fights.
"It goes back to being ill advised," Bowe added. "With this comeback, I can make up for lost time. I still have the desire to be champ. I want to die for what I believe in. I'm willing to put my life on the line."
The boxing world must hope Bowe is not given the chance.
Mark Staniforth covers boxing for Press Association Sport
Tags: Wladimir Klitschko , Vitali Klitschko