Beat down in Chi-town Part 1: A look back at Golota
By "Big Dog" Benny Henderson Jr. (May 16, 2005)  
Photo © Marty Rosengarten /
On May 21st the United Center in Chicago, Illinois, is going to explode with the first heavyweight showdown the city has seen in twenty-four years when Polish bad boy Andrew Golota challenges the hard-hitting WBO champ Lamon Brewster for his strap. This will be Lamon’s second title defense since earning the belt just over a year ago when he defeated and disrupted Wladimir Klitschko’s title run with a stunning fifth round upset over the towering Ukrainian. Will it be the third times a charm or the three strikes you’re out rule for Golota, who is attempting his third consecutive try for a piece of the heavyweight title after two failed attempts, one coming in the form of a draw with the IBF champ Chris Byrd and a very iffy UD loss against the recent dethroned WBA champ John Ruiz, who many feel actually lost the title to Golota five months ago. No doubt the champion Brewster is going to give it his all to assure this will be Golota’s last attempt at any hardware. With both being heavy hitters and having everything to lose in this bout it is safe to say that somebody is going down.

The Challenger
Andrew Golota 38-5-1 (31)

Best known for his classic ‘ball swatting’ incident nine years ago against Riddick Bowe that pinned him as the ‘Foul Pole’, Golota is big, strong, and physically tough as nails but lacks the mental capacity to achieve greatness. The 6’4” punching Polack broke out on the scene in 1992 after boasting 111 wins as an amateur winning seven Polish championships and earning a Bronze medal in the ’88 Seoul Olympics. In his rookie season Golota dominated nine opponents knocking out all but one and stopped six in the opening round. Golota was a brawler with impressive skill for a big man but by his twenty-third bout the dark side of Golota started to protrude when he bit his opponent Samson Pou’ha on the shoulder in the fourth round, Golota went on to destruct Pou’ha in five rounds but this incident wasn’t going to be his last. In March of ’96 Golota defeated Darnell Nicholson in the eight round but barely escaped disqualification for head butting. The Warsaw native was still flying under the radar but just seven months after the Nicholson bout Golota was about to become a household name in a big, unforgettably distasteful fashion.

Just coming off a victory and ending of one of the greatest unforgettable trilogies against Evander Holyfield, Riddick ‘Big Daddy’ Bowe needed an opponent so Golota stepped in to either make his mark on the division or get pummeled by the ex-champion. But what the boxing world was about to witness was something far more greater then we imagined.

The underdog came in and disappointed Bowe with perfect combinations and shattering punches that had one of the greatest modern fighters on the ropes and looking for some kind of way to stop the onslaught of punishment he was receiving. Bowe didn’t need to look any further; the dark side of Golota once again reared its ugly head and the fight began to take a turn for the worst. Golota went nut hunting in the fourth, sixth and seventh round that prompted referee Wayne Kelly to disqualify Golota for his poor judgment and bad aiming, and his transgressions sent the Madison Square Garden crowd into an uproar. It was ugly and it was awful to see such a poor display of wasted talent and rioting in the Mecca of boxing, but the freak show wasn’t over yet.

Five months later Golota-Bowe II was set on PPV and this time referee Eddie Cotton had his hands full with the ball-beating brawler. The two faced off and went toe to toe in a very entertaining high-octane bout. Both tasting the canvas, Golota in the fourth, Bowe in the second and fifth, Golota was hands down beating the crap out of Bowe, but once again ‘it’ happened. The fight went south as did Andrew’s punches and Golota was disqualified for a shameful second time and caught hell from the fans for doing so, but even with Golota’s foul play his skill display in the ring earned him a shot at Lennox Lewis. Ninety-five seconds later and his dream of wearing a title was gone in a blowout of a bout, Golota was denied!

Golota went on a six-fight win streak beating the likes of Cory Sanders in a ten round UD bloody brawl, another easy ten round victory over Tim Witherspoon in Golota’s hometown of Warsaw and two more W’s to his resume and Golota was set for another title, and although it wasn’t a major brand name it was something. Golota was shooting for the NABF heavyweight strap and Michael Grant was in his way, but was he?

The two big men went at it and in the second round Golota floored Grant not once but twice, but in the tenth after hitting the canvas himself Golota declined to continue, ahead on all score cards 87-80, 86-81 and 85-83. Golota’s toughness didn’t fail him but his heart gave way to a very disappointing loss. Two more victories and the boxing world was ready for Tyson-Golota, two men with very tattered pasts and highly publicized mental shortcomings, we all knew something was going down!

This wasn’t the famous “no mas” bout; it was more of a ‘what the hell was that about!’ breakdown the world witnessed. All though Golota hit the canvas in the first round he still looked very much in the bout when he muttered the words “I quit” to his corner at the end of the second round. This prompted the fans to display their disbelief and discouragement with throwing their drinks and what ever they could find at the disgraced fighter, but to Golota’s credit he did sustain injuries that could have been worsened if he continued. Golota took a three-year hiatus from the ring and in late summer of ’03 he returned and knocked out two of his opponents, and in the process inked a deal with the powerhouse promoter Don King and was awarded a title bid against IBF champ Chris Byrd. April 17th of ’04 the big man fought a very good fight against the champ, who mainly fought off the ropes. The world was waiting for Chris’s elusive style to offset Golota and cause another foul showing, but what the world got was a display of talent from a focused Golota like never before. All thought Golota fought with drive it wasn’t enough to convince the judges and they scored a draw for the two, leaving Byrd with the belt and once again leaving Golota without.

Just seven months later once again at Madison Square Garden Golota challenged the then WBA champion John Ruiz for his title in what was one of the ugliest bouts known to boxing in recent history. Ruiz was down twice in the second round, received a one point deduction for hitting after the break, and after 190 clinches and an apparent for sure victory for Golota, well, once again it wasn’t his night losing the bout by the score of 111-114, 112-113 and 111-114. Whether it was just bad judging or his past transgressions catching up with him, Golota just couldn’t catch a break.

All this leads us to now; will Golota finally get what he has searched for the past thirteen years? Is Brewster going to finally provide Golota with a title around his waist? This fight Golota will be at home in Chicago, his home since 1991, with the hometown crowd behind him can he stop the very tough Lamon Brewster as Golota states he will do? We will have to wait and see the HBO blowout, until then all we can do is speculate and share our opinions.

Stay tuned to part two of the three part series when we look back on the career of the WBO champ Lamon Brewster.
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