Will Golota finally get a belt or will Brewster finally find respect?
By Benny Henderson Jr. (December 28, 2004)  
Photo © HoganPhotos.com
Inked and ready to go, Andrew ‘The Foul Pole’ Golota gets his third consecutive shot at a world title belt on March 19th when we steps in the ring against WBO heavyweight champion Lamon Brewster, 31-2 (27), at Madison Square Garden in New York City on HBO. Golota, 38-5-1 (31), has lost his last two bouts in controversial fashion against Chris Byrd for the IBF title and more recently against WBA champion John Ruiz. The bout against Brewster represents perhaps Golota final chance to get a piece of hardware secured around his waist.

Will the third time be a charm for the power-punching Polish heavyweight, or will the ‘Black Rocky’ prevail once again?

Golota will always be remembered as the low blow boxer in the unforgettable circus show with Riddick Bowe, the shameful showing against Mike Tyson, and his first round destruction at the hands of Lennox Lewis. Hey, I’m not knocking the guy, but with the big fights prior to his new image that was just what we got. New image, well maybe not.

Golota is a man accustomed to controversy so it should be no surprise that upon his return to the ring he signed a promotional agreement with Don King. Golota was almost immediately boosted into the IBF rankings and quickly found himself challenging slick southpaw Chris Byrd for his title last April. Not bad for a guy going on a three-year hiatus after the Tyson debacle and defeating two club fighters to get the nod for a major title. For twelve unentertaining rounds the 6’4” brawler pushed and bullied around the much smaller champion, fighting him on the ropes pretty much the entire fight just to get a draw, but Golota received respect if not for winning the bout in many people’s eyes, then at least for his lack of fouling that he has been renowned for.

After the Byrd fight Golota was handed another title shot. This time it was against the ‘Clinching King’ John Ruiz for his WBA crown this past November. There really is no other way to describe this bout other than a grueling sideshow with foul after foul and a whole lot of holding. This was not your average championship bout but more of a bar room brawl with ring card girls. After twelve punishing rounds – mainly for the crowd in attendance and the pay-per-view subscribers – and with the champion Ruiz not once but twice tasting the canvas and having a point deducted for hitting after the break, the scorecards were tallied up and the verdict was in. 111-114, 112-113 and 111-114 in favor of the champion John Ruiz. Can this guy Golota ever get a break?

It seems the old axiom “you reap what you sow” came into play for the Warsaw warrior. After two bouts of bashing the balls of Riddick Bowe in 1996, another two fights of calling it quits with Grant and Tyson and years of some sort of fouling in the mix, it seems as if Golota has a force field around his waist that couldn’t possibly let a belt around it. It seems that his past trangressions will forever haunt him.

This time Golota will be facing the hard-hitting Lamon Brewster, who also has been plagued with controversy in a few fights of his own. After seven years of competing with the big guys and sporting a record of 31-2 (27), Lamon Brewster, who prior to detroying Wladimir Klitschko in five rounds had only fought a few fighters with name recognition, was about to be put on the heavyweight map with one of the most controversial fights in 2004. After taking an onslaught of punches by Wladimir Klitschko and pulling himself off the canvas in round four the relentless Lamon Brewster won the vacant WBO heavyweight title when referee Robert Byrd stopped the fight in round five after the spent Klitschko couldn’t continue, and thus one of the most controversial bouts of 2004 was born.

Whether Klitschko lost due to the body punches he absorbed or the magic disappearing sports bottle, the bout would take on and define the word odd when the usually superb athlete would fall out. High blood sugar or not, Brewster was champion.

Brewster’s first title defense was against former sparring partner and virtually unknown Australian Kali Meehan. For twelve rounds the champion struggled at times and was rocked in the eight round but held on to retain his title by split decision. Some boxing fans would object to Brewster’s win over Meehan, while others wouldn’t debate the victory. But regardless of whom you think won the fight Brewster was and is still WBO champion. A belt, a win, and a no respect could pretty much sum up Lamon’s present state in the division, so this fight in March could be it for either fighter.

Whether this is or isn’t the fight the fans want to see, there is so much at stake in this title match. Golota, who very well could be facing his last shot at anything, has so much to gain and so much to lose along with Brewster all in one night. Both fighters are fighting for the same belt but for different reasons. One is looking for redemption while the other is searching for respect and either way one is going to get it. Golota has to keep his cool and stay in the fight to get the belt while Brewster has to win convincingly to finally get his props. Who will reign? Who will get what he has fought for all these years? And will it be a show for all the fans to enjoy?
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