A decade ago today, on November 20, 1999, Andrew Golota squared off against perhaps the biggest American heavyweight boxing prospect in recent memory, "Big" Michael Grant. These two men battled it out for the NABF Heavyweight Title and the WBC #1 Contender rating. The fight began promising for the "Foul Pole," but ended horifically. He out-boxed Grant all throughout, but couldn't finish what he started. This resembled Golota's magic from the Bowe figths—onslaught and out-jabbing. He was winning this fight pretty easily, leading on all three judges' scorecards, but his psyche was too weak and before you knew it it was deja vu all over again for Andrew Golota. Golota floored Grant twice in the first round, setting up an early advantage for himself and exciting the crowd. Then for the next eight rounds it was Golota all the way, dominating the pugilism. Unluckily, in round ten, that all suddenly changed. Grant started an attack on Golota and put him on the mat. After rising from that knockdown, referre Randy Neumann asked Golota if he wanted to continue fighting, and the Pole shook his head back and forth, saying no. This came as a stunner to a number of people watching the fight.
After the bout, Golota told Polish press that the reason he quit was because he thought he was already losing the fight on the judges' scorecards anyway, so his judgment was that either way he wasn't going to win this contest. Golota's thinking couldn't be more opposite of reality, as he was in the lead with all the judges. When Golota destroyed Riddick Bowe three years prior to this bout—the Brownsville fighter got hurt so bad that his career was in ruins—Bowe was never the same again. With this fight against Grant, we saw similar things on behalf of Golota, acting as a career destroyer. He embarassed Grant by beating him all around the ring like no one had before, ruining his reputation. Heck, he lead Grant by a huge margin, just like against Bowe. Is it shocking that the man from Norristown, PA never went on to achieve what many were expecting of him-to become World Heavyweight Champion?
After beating Golota, Grant was disposed of by "The Lion" Lennox Lewis and iced by Jameel "Big Time" McCline. My gut is telling me that it was Golota's dominance that took a toll on Grant both physically and mentally, and the Pennsylvania fighter was never able to climb the heights once sought for him. What's overlooked is the hurtin' that Grant took in this fight, not being able to work his skills in the way he did before. He was never the same fighting hungry lion we remembered him as from fights versus Lou Savarese, Obed Sullivan, David Izon, and Jorge Luis Gonzalez. Both of these "G" men were viewed as the next big thing in heavyweight boxing in the late 1990's, but both never won a World Heavyweight Title. This was also Golota's last fight in Atlantic City, a place he was identified with in the early stages of his career—the 90s.
To this day, both fighters are still active. Neither has been able to recapture, however, the same firepower from his prime that led to a world title shot. Of the two, Golota has come the closest to winning one of the alphabet trinkets, but was on the wrong side of the judging in two title tries in 2004. Meanwhile, Grant has been facing unserious opposition which begs the question: "Is this guy fighting for achievement or for money?" The answer to this question is probably the second part. I would say that since their meeting Golota has no doubt achieved more-just being in world title fights speaks for itself and overall the Pole's pro career is filled with better reputable fights that only make him look as the better heavyeight of the two. This fight probably will never go down as an all-time great, but maybe we'll see it on ESPN Classic someday.