“When God is with me, can’t no man beat me.”
WBO heavyweight champion Lamon Brewster repeatedly offered that quote before his title defense with Andrew Golota. All he needed was a minute to live up to his word.
In front of a hostile pro-Golota crowd, Brewster silenced all of his critics with a stunning three knockdown technical knockout of Andrew Golota at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. Despite entering the fight as defending champ, Brewster was a 5-2 underdog by fight time. In pulling off the “upset,” Brewster upset many in attendance who turned out in hopes of seeing two Polish fighters win world titles in one evening.
Brewster knew his role heading into the fight. He knew he was heading into hostile territory. Fittingly enough, he entered into the ring to Public Enemy’s “Welcome to the Terrordome.” Golota entered to “Yeah,” but had many saying “NO!” seconds into the bout.
Brewster, a chiseled 224 pounds, came flying out of his corner, much as he had against Wladimir Klitschko thirteen months ago. Unlike the Klitschko fight, Lamon never fell behind, as his left hook found a home seconds into the bout. A left hook crashed on Golota’s jaw, and down he went, hard to the canvas.
Once down, Golota found himself in a familiar position – behind the eight ball and running low on courage. Brewster knew exactly what he had in front of him.
“I studied Golota’s tapes,” said a jubilant Brewster, who successfully defended his title for the second time. “He keeps his hands high, and I knew he would be susceptible to my punches.”
Brewster was right. Golota beat the count, but could not avoid the incoming punches. A determined Brewster went right back on the attack, knocking Golota down and through the ropes about twenty seconds later. Referee Gino Rodriguez issued a second count, this time studying Golota hard to determine if he should allow the fight to continue.
The bout went on, but Andrew was gone. He had no legs, no focus, and no chance to keep Brewster off of him. A final left hook sent Andrew straight back and down for the third time. Rodriguez saw no reason to allow the bout to continue, and waved off the action just fifty-three seconds into the first round. The crowd, as rabid as any in recent memory heading into the fight, was stunned at the sudden and shocking result.
For Lamon, the knockout was more than just another checkmark in the win column.
“I knew I had a lot of critics to silence going into this fight,” exclaimed Brewster, now 32-2 (28 KOs). “When I went up into the ring, I was very inspired.”
The end result was more than inspiring; it was conclusive. Golota found himself on the wrong end of back-to-back dubious decisions against Chris Byrd and John Ruiz. No cries of robbery could be made in this fight. Instead, Brewster put his name on the heavyweight map, this time for all of the right reasons.
“They can’t see me,” said Brewster of the doubters who pointed to past inabilities to get the job down in his biggest fights. “When God is with me, they can’t take it away. If we can’t work and make it, we can still take it.”
Take it he did. With the win, Brewster lends instant credibility to a heavyweight division in dire need of anything positive. In doing so, he proved to the world that he was more than a durable heavyweight.
“I’ve got more than just heart. I’ve got skills. I’m an F-16 and he was a B-52 bomber, and I shot him down.”
Where Brewster goes from here remains to be seen. He insisted that he would be ready to go again as early as the summer. Such a schedule may fit perfectly into Don King’s plans. A recent scheduling change pushed back the WBC interim heavyweight title fight between Hasim Rahman and Monte Barrett. The original date and location was July 23 in Madison Square Garden. King announced after the fight that the bout would be pushed back to August 13, and now to be staged in the very same arena as tonight’s fight.
Brewster has no reservations about returning that soon. He is content with finally making it to the top of the heap, and has no plans to step down anytime soon.
“Andrew Golota was the only thing keeping me from the land of milk and honey.”
Now he joins elite company such as Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson as the only fighters to dominate Golota. To his credit, Lamon was even more dominant than the aforementioned former undisputed heavyweight champions.
Brewster helped put it into the proper perspective.
“I’m not saying that I’m great; but there was Lennox Lewis. And before that, there was Mike Tyson. And now, there’s me. I need to stand up and be a great champion. I’m here to stay.”
Golota appears to be headed in the opposite direction. Suffering his sixth defeat, this was by far the most devastating of his career. After two close calls, Andrew was shown the exit quicker than at any other point in his career. At age 37, Golota remains skeptical in regards to his chances of one last run.
“Maybe it’s time for me to think about leaving boxing,” offered a very dejected Golota, now 38-6-1 (31 KOs). “I prepared for this fight since the beginning of this year. I cannot believe it is so quickly over.”
Golota was so stunned from the knockdowns, his corner had to explain to him afterward why the fight was over.
“I understand why they had to stop the fight, but I wanted to continue. I cannot believe this happens to me every decade.”
Neither can the city of Chicago. On a day where the Cubs would blow a late lead and fall to the White Sox, Golota blew what appears to be his last chance at a world title. Brewster blew into the Windy City, and right into the heart of the heavyweight division for the first time in his career.
The final attendance tally was 20,126. The fight was aired live by HBO, and promoted by Don King Productions.