On November 13th at Madison Square Garden in New York, John ‘The Quiet Man’ Ruiz tackles Andrew Golota for the right to wear the WBA belt. Ruiz will be walking into the ring with the title around his waist, but whether he leaves with it likely depends more on Golota’s actions between the ropes than what Ruiz does.
‘The Foul Pole’ Golota has dropped four fights in his 43-fight career, but when you consider that he was leading on the cards both times he was eventually disqualified against Riddick Bowe, and that he had knocked Michael Grant down twice in the first round of the bout he eventually lost, a case could be made that he should be 41-1-1. On the other hand, a case can’t be made for Golota because the reality is that he really has lost four fights by falling apart at the seams.
While being blown out by Lennox Lewis wasn’t a career highlight for the Warsaw native who now resides in Chicago, other than that loss and his collapse against Tyson that resulted in a ‘No Contest’ thanks to Tyson’s pot problem, Golota really hasn’t been beaten purely based on skills. Where the big man has been defeated – three times – is in the mental aspect of the game.
Between working his way back into the heavyweight picture and impersonating police officers, we all can hope that Golota has refined his brain game. He finds himself on the verge of another title shot against Ruiz, as Golota is in the right place at the right time in a division that attracts the most public interest. Many believe Golota defeated the elusive Chris Byrd back in April of this year when the IBF belt was on the line. The Draw decision didn’t sit well with Golota, but he has been justly rewarded with another title shot.
Many believed that Byrd’s slick southpaw style and ability to frustrate opponents would work wonders against cranium challenged Golota. Instead, Golota kept his composure and took the fight to Byrd. Those same people are suggesting that John Ruiz now will be the man to crumble Andrew’s cracker. It seems to be a matter of not ‘if’ it happens again, but ‘when.’
Ruiz definitely can frustrate opponents and fans alike. Last time Ruiz was in the ring he came away with a TKO 11 victory over Fres Oquendo. The bout with Oquendo was the type of fight that would have a fan coming out of a coma wish he could go back to sleep. It was so uneventful and painful to watch that referee Wayne Kelly stopped it despite anything remotely offensive occurring between the two combatants. Officially it was called a technical knockdown, but Oquendo still hasn’t hit the canvas and was never in any kind of danger.
While Ruiz lives to defend his WBA title once again, we get stuck having to watch him again. Andrew Golota, whodathunk it, may be a savior of the division. If nothing else he certainly can spice things up a bit and that is undeniable. Should he remove Ruiz from our viewing area in the process then that’s all the better.
A Golota-Klitschko bout, regardless of which brother it is, would be a very interesting fight, easily marketable, and likely highly entertaining. Golota versus the suddenly active, rejuvenated and top-rated Hasim Rahman would also be a great match up between two big men who jab well, hit hard, and have fallen from grace at some point in their careers. WBO gatekeeper Lamon Brewster is certainly beatable and many feel that Golota already defeated IBF champ Byrd. James Toney’s should change his nickname to “Lights On-Lights Out” he is injured so often and David Tua hasn’t been seen in the ring in over a year and a half.
If Andrew Golota can keep his head on straight against Ruiz – and that’s a big “if” – he just may find himself in the spotlight once more. Once he gets there we’ll see if he can handle himself better than in the past, and the easiest way to test that . . . dare I say it . . . just might be Golota-Bowe Part III.