In boxing, when does a fighter win by losing? In the case of Andrew Golota, the answer is: When your promoter is Don King.
On Saturday, for third time in just over a year, Golota will fight for the world heavyweight title when he meets WBO champion Lamon Brewster. To earn this glorious honor, he fought to a draw with IBF champion Chris Byrd last April and lost a decision to WBA champion John Ruiz last November. Oh, and most importantly, he’s remained in King’s promotional stable.
This is no knock against Golota, who acquitted himself well against both Byrd and Ruiz. In fact, I had him winning the Ruiz fight. Sometimes an athlete will say, ‘I’d rather be lucky than good.’ Golota is both lucky and good. He is simply in the right place at the right time with the right promoter. Golota is a familiar face – primarily because of his disqualification losses against Riddick Bowe – who has turned into a dependable opponent.
Who could blame King for using him? Golota is clearly a recognizable fighter in a heavyweight division that lacks a true star. He has fought hard. He has gone from a fighter promoters would stay away from to the division’s mainstay challenger. (Plus, from a ticket-selling vantage point, there is always that outside shot that he could have a meltdown.)
This trend is not an entirely new phenomenon in boxing. Last month at Madison Square Garden, Luis Bolano challenged IBF super flyweight champion Luis Perez after his previous fight was a TKO loss to WBO champion Mark Johnson.
In October of 1991, Glenwood Brown lost a split decision to Maurice Blocker in an IBF welterweight title fight. In his very next bout – three months later in January of 1992 – Brown challenged WBA champion Meldick Taylor. He lost a unanimous decision.
From June 17, 1974 to June 30, 1975, Jorge Ahumada fought for the light heavyweight title three times. He drew with Bob Foster and then dropped decisions to John Conteh and Victor Galindez.
Sometimes, when a promoter has a good thing, he stays with it. Golota is certainly a legitimate opponent as King lines up his heavyweight unification tournament.
So, this Saturday, Golota will again fight for the heavyweight title. Include his knockout at the hands of WBC champ Lennox Lewis in 1997 and it will mark the fourth such opportunity of his career. The only thing that bothers me about this, what pains me like a left hook to the belly, is that my father – Bobby Cassidy – had 80 pro fights and was rated in the Top 10 in three weight classes.
He never fought for a world title.
Appreciate what you have Andrew Golota. And this time, make the most of it.