Boxing

Andrew Golota Vs. Kevin McBride - 2007’s “Most Fun To Watch” Heavyweight Fight?

andrew golota21.08.07 - By James Slater: On the under-card of Oleg Maskaev’s Madison Square Garden WBC title defence against Samuel Peter in October, there is a heavyweight clash that just might be the fight of the night - from a crude, wild swinging and unpredictably entertaining standpoint anyway. For Andrew Golota, “The Foul Pole” himself, and “The Clones Cyclone,” Kevin McBride, collide on the support bout to the world championship match. The possibilities this match-up brings are really quite numerous. Indeed, both big men are nothing if not unpredictable.

We all know Golota’s track record. He is capable of winning a big fight, quitting in one while winning and being blown away within seconds of the first bell. While for McBride’s part, he is big and strong and has no shortage of bravery, but is also easily beaten on any given night.

Throw them both together - as promoter Don King has - and you are almost guaranteed a fight that will provide entertainment.

Okay, the fight also has a reasonable chance of being a stinker. As I said, both Kevin and Andrew are not fighters that should ever be relied upon to be at their best each and every time they step into the ring. But should both men enter Madison Sq Gdn in anywhere near as good a frame of mind as they were when scoring the biggest wins of their careers, we could well get an exciting and brutally fascinating slugfest. This is what I feel will happen, as opposed to a dull fight. Overall talent is not what is always required for a fight - not least one amongst the heavyweights - to be wildly thrilling. On October 6th we just might get a modern day version of a fight not too dissimilar to the almost devoid of skill rumble George Foreman and Ron Lyle put on three decades ago. And while that may be asking for too much, a knockdown, drag out affair cannot be ruled out when these two somewhat clumsy, somewhat sloppy, yet always dangerous (Golota especially) heavyweights step between the ropes.

Golota’s recent story is more up and down than any top class fighter’s career has a right to be. Going back to his fight with the then unbeaten Michael Grant, we see that Andrew has boxed some good fights as well as some disastrous ones. The 1999 fight with Grant is classic Golota. Then a big name due to his two crazy fights with Riddick Bowe, Golota unbelievably quit once again. As with the Bowe fights he was ahead on the cards at the time of his inexplicable surrender. In short, Andrew Golota is not an easy boxer to explain. After the Grant debacle there followed another, even bigger one, however.

Fighting perhaps the only other modern day heavyweight more unpredictable than he, Andrew met former great Mike Tyson. Once again, this time after only two rounds of action, “The Foul Pole” quit. Prompting his then trainer, Al Certo, to remark on how he should have shoved the gum shield he was desperately trying to get into his fighter’s mouth, “up his ass!” The frustration and anger Certo displayed sums up Golota perfectly. He has that affect on the best of them. Since the Tyson fight - a bout that’s in the record books as a No-Contest because of Tyson’s failed post-fight drugs test, by the way - Andrew disappeared, seemingly all done as a fighter. Amazingly, three world title fights still awaited him.

Coming back in 2003 with a KO over Brian Nix, Golota actually boxed two of his most disciplined bouts. A draw and a close points loss to Chris Byrd and John Ruiz, respectively, showed what a focused Andrew Golota was (is?) capable of. While his next title shot - to WBO king Lamon Brewster - showed us yet another side of the man from Poland. He didn’t box in a disciplined fashion, and he didn’t quit. He didn’t have time to do either. As with his fight with Lennox Lewis in 1997 (in Andrew’s first shot at the world title) Golota was blown away in the opening round. Things definitely looked all over for him. But, showing admirable determination if nothing else, Andrew came back one more time this past June.

In what seemed like his umpteenth comeback, Golota stopped perennial loser Jeremy Bates in two rounds. Now with a record of 39-6-1(32) and after having gone well and truly through the mill, the thirty-nine year old Golota is back for one final attempt at glory. His fight with Tyson conqueror McBride, 34-5-1(29) is the next step in a truly fascinating, if frustrating, career.

So what does he have to look for from the five years younger man in Kevin McBride? The Tyson fight aside, Kevin has no standout win. Sure, the slaying of Tyson deserves some respect, even if it was an “Iron Mike” that was way, way, way past the stage of even wanting to fight any more. McBride took some good shots early on, though, and if he can do the same in the fight with Golota he could well tough out a win. As we know, getting discouraged after hitting a guy with his best shots is not something that is alien to “The Foul Pole.” Then again, if McBride is nailed early, as he was against Mike Mollo in what is likely his other most widely viewed fight, the chance will arise for Golota to get a quick KO.

McBride has also been guilty of carrying too much weight in fights. Even in his big win over Tyson he looked too heavy. “The Clones Colossus” coped well enough with Tyson’s dirty tactics though. Mike tried to break his arm, bite his chest and hit him on the break. Despite this Kevin kept his composure to get the win, and should the Golota that is want to try his own colorful rule breaking techniques show up, McBride might not be fazed here either.

I think we will get a good, old fashioned, slugfest. Both men are past their best - whenever McBride’s was, some less charitable fans will no doubt say - and neither is particularly hard to hit. Both guys have shown courage, physical strength and heart is the past, however. Put all these things together, and you should get a pretty evenly fought battle. You can expect more than one knockdown either way, or you can expect the possibility of a quick blow out, again, either way, or you can expect something of a crazy, DQ invoking nature. Indeed, all scenarios considered, you can pretty much expect something worth watching. It doesn’t figure to be boring, that’s for sure. At least I hope not.

Article posted on 21.08.2007



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