As this anticipated Championship weekend draws nearer, I'm getting a bad feeling in which I hope I am totally wrong about. It is in regards to the Chris Byrd - Andrew Golota IBF Heavyweight title fight Saturday the 17th. Before I get into that, I must state two things up front as a disclaimer. First of all, I'm not a big Golota fan as I'm sure some have gathered from past articles. I personally don't have time for fighters who have quit in a big spot on multiple occasions while being paid millions, something Golota has made a career out of. The powers that be who Govern us throughout the World can make us do a lot of things, but fighting is not one of them. Nobody has ever forced Andrew Golota to fight!
To draw a comparison, I felt that Vitali Klitschko quit in his fight versus Chris Byrd which led me to question his character. However, he has more than redeemed himself since then. As I said, it only happened once and he has proven that it was not a true indication of his character and heart. On the other hand Golota has had many chances to erase the stench of his misfortunes, but hasn't come close to making amends for them in the least. Every time I see a four round fighter get up time after time for a few hundred dollars, I think of that mutt Golota quitting for millions. On top of that I have always believed his skill, chin, and power were slightly overrated. He couldn't finish an already finished Bowe, Lewis killed him, Tyson took his heart with one right hand, and Grant caused him to fold like a 99 dollar suit in a Hurricane.
Secondly, I respect and appreciate IBF Champ Chris Byrd as much as any fighter in the Heavyweight division. Here's a Fighter who has fought everybody who was supposed to be a somebody, and has won all but twice. His two defeats are only to the upper-tier Heavyweights in the World, and he didn't disgrace himself in either one in the least. And to go along with that he only weighs between 210-214 pounds. Yet he is the holder of a major belt. I guess when you know what you're doing in that Ring, size isn't everything, although it does help. Especially if you can't fight.
What scares me is why did Don King pick Golota? I believe King has become frustrated in managing Byrd because not many fighters are willing to fight him, therefor he can't make huge money promoting his fights. I don't know this to be a fact, it's just a gut feeling. Golota has a huge following and the fact that he is unpredictable makes him a box office draw. On top of that, he is a big 240 pound fighter with some boxing skill. King can promote anybody, but give him Golota with a couple wins and a title and he becomes a huge attraction. I figure that King knows that more money can be made in a potential Golota versus Vitali Klitschko fight than there can be made in a Byrd versus Klitschko bout. You know King must be envisioning Good Drago vs. Bad Drago in the worst way. Of course this is assuming that Vitali beats Corrie Sanders, which I believe he will.
Plus, Byrd has already fought both Klitschko's and is 1-1. I'm not sure there is a lot of interest in a 211 pound fighter fighting either one of them right now. The thought around the Boxing community is that Byrd isn't big enough to beat Vitali, despite holding a win over him. I'm not saying that is right, but it is the overwhelming consensus. Fans are most likely more interested in seeing Vitali in against another big strong and skilled fighter like him. Golota, if he beats Byrd gains instant credibility and becomes a huge fight for either Vitali Klitschko or Corrie Sanders. This is something that I'm sure hasn't escaped Mr. King.
Another thing that concerns me is the Byrd-Oquendo fight aftermath. There are more than a few who feel Oquendo was deprived the decision because of his low appeal at the box office. Compared to Oquendo, Byrd is an Ali like drawing card. I can almost see Byrd bettering Golota but losing a decision based on the next fight. Another words King may be looking down the road trying to imagine the biggest fight. It doesn't take a Boxing Scholar to figure out King can parlay a Golota win into much more money than he can a Byrd win. And lets face it when two of King's fighters face each other, if it comes down to a decision, how many times does the wrong guy get it? From a marketing vantage point, there is a possibility that Byrd may be perceived as the wrong guy? Oh, and in case anyone doesn't know by now, King is the promoter of both Chris Byrd and Andrew Golota.
In Boxing, most times one fight is made in order to set up the next fight. This is nothing new, but in the Boxing game everything is set up for the next fight. I'm afraid that Byrd may not get the benefit of the close calls due to his under whelming physical size and his hit and not be hit style. This is why I believe Chris Byrd has to beat Andrew Golota in the same manner in which he beat David Tua and Evander Holyfield, or there is a very good chance he won't get the decision even if he deserves it. Another words, he has to dominate Golota from start to finish. Something that will not be easy.
I can just hear people talking after the Byrd-Golota fight if Byrd wins but isn't awarded the decision. Well, I thought Oquendo beat him and he got it, this time I thought he beat Golota but didn't get it. This is something I think is a very distinct possibility.
Lastly, Golota's style will be very difficult for Byrd. Golota is a big enough and good enough Boxer that even if Byrd goes to the ropes and tries to make him miss an then counter, Golota may still be able to score with his jab without lunging and reaching. The fact that Byrd is not a one punch knockout artist will also help keep Golota brave. Since he probably won't feel threatened to be knocked out, it's more likely that he won't lose his head. These reasons have me believing that Byrd has to win this fight in a convincing manner. EKING it out won't be good enough I'm afraid. Remember, King wins either way, it's just that he wins a little more if Golota is the IBF Champ instead of Byrd. Hope I'm wrong!