The Association of Boxing Commissions condemned Riddick Bowe's upcoming fight with former NBA star Lamar Odom and other events that involve aging boxers.
"It makes for a hot topic just to talk about fighters' age—Evander [Holyfield], [Mike] Tyson, Riddick Bowe—but age discrimination is not what the discussion should be about," ABC President Michael Mazzulli said. "The discussion should be about safety."
After Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. helped generate more than 1.6 million pay-per-view buys for their November exhibition, boxing promoters quickly learned there's a market for fans looking to feel nostalgic.
However, Mazzulli's statement underscored the inherent risk in long-retired fighters stepping back inside the ring.
Holyfield's fight with former UFC star Vitor Belfort was widely criticized after the 58-year-old legend was stopped in the first round after offering almost no offense. That he was allowed to fight in the first place became a point of criticism toward the Florida Athletic Commission.
Bowe, 54, hasn't fought since 2008, and his run as a regular competitor effectively ended in 1996. He also briefly entered the world of Muay Thai, suffering a second-round TKO to Yevgeniy Golovin in 2013.
The state of Bowe's health has been a source of concern for years. Even as his career was winding down in the mid-'90s, he started looking like a shell of the boxer who beat Holyfield twice during their epic trilogy of fights.
Nevertheless, Bowe and Odom are scheduled to cross paths Oct. 2 at James L. Knight Center in Miami.