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Bowman returns Friday amid personal and legal issues
Unbeaten one-time lightweight prospect Carney Bowman looks forward to getting back in the ring on Friday following nearly two years of inactivity caused by a variety of promotional, personal and legal issues.
From the beginning, it seemed like Carney Bowman III's career was heading places. After falling just short of making the 2004 U.S. Olympic boxing squad, Bowman made his pro debut on a Floyd Mayweather Jr. undercard and was the curtain jerker for the Bernard Hopkins-Oscar De La Hoya middleweight championship in September of '04.
Bowman, known to most by the nickname "Beeper," had always hoped that he'd be undefeated in 2012; the York, Penn., native just thought that record would be more celebrated than the 16-0 (7 knockouts) mark that he will bring into the ring on Friday night against Ramesis Gil (7-4-5, 5 KOs) in a six-round bout at the Valencia Ballroom in York. The event begins at 6 p.m. and will also feature fellow York resident Jesus Saucedo (3-0-1, 1 KOs) vs. Luis Antonio Lopez (2-11-1, 1 KOs) plus several other pro and amateur bouts.
"I'm sure I will have some [ring rust] but I feel good in training and can't wait to be back in the ring," Bowman told THE RING. "After this fight I'm gonna definitely stay busy."
Bowman, who has not fought since December of 2010, has had several bouts of inactivity due to a number of issues, none more pressing than the birth of his daughter Ava Lynn shortly after his sixth pro bout. Ava was born premature and suffered several health complications. Doctors initially told him she wouldn't survive, but she overcame the early difficulties and is healthy today. Bowman was out of the ring for two years.
"The talent is there, but he needs to fight more often," said Julio Alvarez, who has trained Bowman at the Lincolnway Sportscenter since he was nine years old. "He was in the 2004 trials with Brandon Rios and the Peterson brothers. Everybody went by him and now he's got to catch up with them."
During his time off, Bowman was released from a deal with Top Rank and signed with the now-defunct TKO Boxing. Now 29, the unbeaten lightweight is looking to pick up where he left off, far away from the lights of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.
Bowman's latest sabbatical from the ring was due more in large part to the unpredictable nature of the sport. Numerous fights throughout 2011 fell out, including last August when former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik suddenly pulled out of a bout with Darryl Cunningham the week of the fight, nixing the entire show.
In the meanwhile, Bowman has been working for York-based Richard Jackson Seamless Spouting, assisting in roofing, siding and gutter hanging jobs.
"Long days out in the sun all day on a roof," said Bowman of the work. "I gotta do it, I've got babies to take care of."
What lies ahead has the potential to cause Bowman to miss more time.
Bowman is currently out on $16,000 bail after a March incident involving the mother of his children where he allegedly smashed a window in her home while she was away to retrieve his cell phone charger. The York Daily Record reported that Bowman missed his arraignment in July, prompting the judge to issue a bench warrant for his arrest. A pre-trial conference is scheduled for Sept. 18.
As Bowman recalls: "I went over to see my kids and she wasn't there. I waited like four hours and she didn't come home and I needed my stuff inside her house so I punched her window out and got my stuff and left. My phone died and my charger was in her crib and I snapped."
Alvarez, who says he has been like a second father to Bowman, says Bowman and his former girlfriend had long-standing issues which are touched off when alcohol is introduced into the equation.
"[Bowman] isn't into drugs, he hates when someone smokes in his face. He does a little drinking and then sometimes he has problems with his family," said Alvarez.
Bowman, who doesn't have a prior record, said his lawyer is anticipating probation and a fine.
The best way for Bowman to stay out of trouble, his trainer believes, is to stay active in the ring. Bowman says he is still working with manager Cameron Dunkin, who is working on getting out of York and to California. Alvarez said that he and Dunkin had spoken about sending Bowman to spar with Mikey Garcia, who is in talks to meet WBO featherweight titleholder Orlando Salido later this year.
An email to Cameron Dunkin seeking comment was not returned.
Despite lost time, Alvarez doesn't think Bowman is too far off course.
"His mind is a lot better now and Cameron Dunkin is focusing on getting him a world title fight in the next three fights," said Alvarez, who said the name of Las Vegas-based super featherweight Diego Magdaleno (23-0, 9 KOs) had been mentioned to him.
Bowman is in agreement. "I'm ready to take it to the next level."
Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and contributes to GMA News. He is also a member of The Ring ratings panel. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @RyanSongalia.
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