Andrew Golota's New York City Adventure

andrew golota05.10.0 - By Scoop Malinowski: Though Andrew Golota has never held a world title during his 15-year professional career, he is - to this day - treated by many as a People's Champion. Yes, he messed up a few times, but most ring observers know in their heart of hearts Andrew defeated Chris Byrd and/or John Ruiz in 2004 and should have come away with at least one of those world title belts. Yes, he made a few mistakes along the journey, but more importantly, he showed to all that even if you do mess up and make mistakes, you can still do good, you can still succeed, in some form.

All week long I've witnessed how people gravitate toward the man when they see him, as if he is some kind of familiar face, some kind of friend, an inspiration...from the pizza shop's owner's brother in Jersey City ("Knock him out Golota!"), to the tourists walking along Seventh Avenue ("Can we please have a photo with you?" Sure.), to heavyweight boxer Jameel McCline. "I don't know why I like him so much, I just know he was one of the first guys I worked with as a sparring partner," said Jameel after Thursday's weigh-in. "And he wasn't very nice to me back then, not that he wasn't nice to me, he just wasn't very polite to anybody. But over the years, man, even though he's still not really polite to anybody, over the years we kinda bonded. It's strange. I only see him in press conferences, at fights, and sometimes gyms, but it's the strangest thing. we have a crazy relationship, man. But I love him to death. I don't know why [laughs]. You know what I think? I think he's a great, great, GREAT fighter who had some misfortunes in his career. That's probably why I admire and like him so much. I love the kid. I really do."

Perhaps it could not be stated any better, what Andrew Golota means to many people.

The weigh-in began at 2, before stepping on the scales Andrew received a phone call from Chicago - the principal called to say Andrew Jr. had some kind of confrontation with another student on the lunch line in school and had to go to the office. Details are sketchy at this time, but young Andrew apparently had his first school fight. All of Team Golota were mildly surprised as young Andrew is a very nice kid and definitely not a troublemaker. But he is definitely not one to take any stick from anybody.

Andrew weighed in at 241 after a full plate of pasta, and McBride tipped the scales at a career high 288. From there, it was over to Cafe Metro for some more pasta at a late lunch, where we met the Japanese dancer Rituko who was seated at the next table (see photo). [Miss Rituko will be performing on October 13 at the New Generation Dance Company Benefit Gala at the Sandra Cameron Dance Center at 199 Lafayette]. Then it was back to the hotel and a short nap, before taking the PATH to Jersey City for a workout, at around 6:00. Leaving the hotel we ran into Papa Trinidad, who earlier in the day had found and returned Andrew's phone in the lobby sofa, and Andrew thanked him again.

Once again, Andrew looked superb in his workout. He is very relaxed, confident, and he still has the fire, the hunger to be champion. George Foreman and Bernard Hopkins are definitely two important inspirations now. No matter what anybody else says, it doesn't matter. Andrew still has the self-belief that he can do it. And what Andrew believes is all that matters.

Golota Fact You Probably Didn't Know:

Andrew has only pulled out of a fight once - his pro debut. He was supposed to fight Buster Mathis Jr. in his pro debut in '92 but decided to pull out hours before the show because of a hand injury.

Andrew on Kevin McBride:

"I think Tyson took the fight lightly. With me, there's no mistaking. He thinks I might underestimate him. But, for me, I will be ready...He's awkward fighter. Ugly, awkward fighter. That's what he is. Always chance because of heavyweight, anything can happen at heavyweight. But I don't think there's going to be trouble here."

Question: It's laughable to say he'll retire you. Your comment?

Golota: "They say what they want. It's their job to pick up the fight."

Dinner was at Casa Dente in Jersey City, the last time Team Golota ate there was before the Bowe fight. From the menu Andrew selected a Caprese salad (tomato, fresh mozzarella and basil), large shrimp appetizer, and veal, of which he said was the finest, most tender he's ever had.

Article posted on 05.10.2007

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