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Andrew Golota: The Quitter That Won't Quit

BY Frank Lotierzo ON July 29, 2009
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The question that needs to be answered is, other than quitting in just about every one of his major fights, what has 41-year-old Andrew Golota 41-7-1 (33) done to justify getting another big fight? It will be announced shortly that Golota will be fighting cruiserweight champ Tomasz Adamek 38-1 (26) sometime in early October. This is in no way an admonishment of Adamek. Tomasz is looking for a big money fight and there aren't many out there for him currently. Therefore I don't blame him a bit for making some easy money and keeping his name in the public eye. Fighters fight and Adamek is doing just that. Hopefully he'll have a short night and get rid of Golota once and for all.

How laughable is it that the Adamek-Golota bout is being referred to as the Ali-Frazier of Poland, regarding hype and anticipation. Both Laila Ali and Jacqui Frazier have more courage in their pinkie finger than Golota does in his entire 240 pound plus body. Not to mention that they're closer to being a real fighter than is Andrew Golota. Had Golota fought with the same tenacity and determination as either Laila or Jacqui, with his physical skill-set, he very well may have captured a piece of the heavyweight title instead of being remembered for being an elite fighter who is most notable for a string of DQs and No Mas.'

Most Identified by lack of character and heart

Golota's march to four title shots officially began in July of 1996 when he was DQ'd in the seventh round for hitting Riddick Bowe with several illegal low blows during the fight. The bizarre ending and the melee that ensued after the fight set the stage for the rematch. Five months later Golota was DQ'd again for repeated low blows against Bowe in the ninth round of their sequel.

Golota's comedown for losing two consecutive fights by disqualification was a shot at the WBC heavyweight title, held by Lennox Lewis. On October 4, 1997, Lewis made the easiest defense of his title reign, knocking Golota out at 1:35 of the first round. In what became a pattern of outlandish excuses after a poor showing, Golota blamed the fact that he was given a shot of lidocaine for a supposed knee injury before the fight as the reason why he lost. Looking back now it's obvious that wasn't anything close to the reason. It was just the case of Golota's heart and chin failing him again in a big spot.

After getting shellacked by Lewis, Golota rebounded by winning six straight fights over the next two years. On November 20, 1999, he fought Michael Grant in Atlantic City. Golota had the unbeaten Grant down twice and almost out in the first round. Grant got up and fought on and floored Golota in round ten. Golota was up before the count of four and appeared steady on his feet. When referee Randy Neumann asked him if he wanted to continue, he said "No" twice, forcing Neumann to stop the fight. At the time of his surrender, Golota had the fight won on two of the three judges' scorecards with only two rounds remaining.

Instead of being fined or suspended, Golota fought Mike Tyson 11 months later, earning a million dollar payday. On October 20, 2000, at the Palace in Auburn Hills Michigan, Tyson dropped Golota with a flush right hand to the jaw with seconds remaining in the first round. At the end of the round Golota whispered to trainer Al Certo to stop the fight, but Certo wouldn't and Golota made it through the second.

Before the bell sounded for round three, Golota got up from his stool arguing with Certo. When referee Frank Garza tried to calm him sending him back to his corner, Golota said, "Please stop this fight." Left with no choice, Garza waved the fight off with Certo pleading to Golota, "You're going to disgrace yourself." Golota left the ring before the decision was announced, being pelted with beer and popcorn by outraged fans.

In his dressing he apologized to his fans, saying his biggest disappointment was that Garza, an inexperienced referee, was allowing Tyson to headbutt repeatedly in the fight. This came from a fighter who bit Samson Pou'ha on the shoulder in one fight and headbutted Danell Nicholson in another.

Because it was the second time that Golota abruptly quit in the middle of a fight, the Michigan commission held his purse and launched an investigation. When nothing wrong or suspicious turned up, they released his earnings. Later the fight was ruled a no-contest as a result of Tyson failing a drug test, for marijuana.

The day after the Tyson fight, Golota was diagnosed with a fractured cheekbone and a herniated disk between the fourth and fifth cervical vertebrae in his neck. If those injuries were in fact legitimate, why didn't he mention that he thought he was injured when he wanted the fight stopped? Who can say for sure that he wasn't injured before the fight, giving him a parachute to land if things got too tough in the ring? The next day Terry Foster of the Detroit News wrote, "If he suffered these injuries, they must have come in the parking lot where irate fans found him. All I see is Golota fights only when the mood hits him, and refuses to fight when the heat hits him."

Golota didn't fight for 34 months after quitting against Tyson. In late 2003 he returned to the ring and stopped Brian Nix (18-10) and Terrence Lewis (32-13-1). After posting only his second win in three years over two unranked heavyweights, Golota signed a promotional contract with Don King in mid-March of 2004. On April 17th, Golota was rewarded for his consecutive victories over the unranked Nix and Lewis with a title fight against IBF champ Chris Byrd.

For his fight with Byrd, Golota weighed in at 237 1/2 pounds, the second lightest he'd been for a fight in nine years. Byrd not being a knockout puncher, Golota fought well. The fight went the distance and Byrd retained the title when the fight ended in a draw. The bout was close and really could've gone to either fighter by a point, but Byrd out-worked Golota over the final three rounds to legitimize him keeping the title.

Once again boxing's most decorated loser was compensated for not winning. Seven months after failing to take the IBF title from Chris Byrd, Golota challenged John Ruiz for the WBA title. In his fight against Ruiz, Golota started strong and put Ruiz down twice in the second round. Ruiz was deducted a point for hitting on the break in round four and was on the verge of losing his title to Golota with eight rounds remaining in the bout.

Luckily for Ruiz, Golota failed to push himself with the fight on the line just as he failed to dig down within himself against Byrd. From rounds six through 12, Ruiz forced the action, bulling Golota around the ring. As Ruiz was doing all he could to pull the fight out, Golota fought not to lose or be embarrassed. The fight was hard to score as most fights involving Ruiz usually are. However, Ruiz deserved the nod and won a unanimous decision to retain the WBA title. Six months after losing to Ruiz in May of 2005, Lamon Brewster made the 1:35 it took Lennox Lewis to knock out Golota look like a long night in that it only took him 52 seconds to do it in what was Golota's last title shot.

Since losing to Brewster in 2005, Golota has fought four times, going 3-1. He's stopped journeymen Jeremy Bates and Kevin McBride and won a unanimous decision over Mike Mollo (19-1). In his last fight, back in November of 2008, Golota left the ring after his fight with Ray Austin (25-4-4) the way he usually does when his opponent fights back, a loser. After getting dropped once and pushed down once in the first round, Golota quit on his stool claiming his arm was injured. His reward for quitting in his last bout is participating in the biggest fight in the history of his native country, Poland. I can't even begin to speak about who that says the most about, but it ain't good, that I know.

Andrew Golota has been given more undeserved opportunities and high profile fights than any fighter I can think of. In between 1997 through 2005 Golota was given four title shots over a span of 16 fights. And three of them in consecutive fights. He's been knocked out or stopped three times in one round. If that weren't so tragic it would almost be comical. When I think of four-round fighters getting up time and time again for a couple hundred dollars, seeing Golota quit in his major fights while being paid sometimes millions of dollars makes me ill just thinking about it.

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

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