Samuel Peter may still get to fight on October 6, as he wishes, in an interim WBC championship bout at Madison Square Garden, live on Showtime.
To the man's credit, Don King is working very hard to save the event after champion Oleg Maskaev pulled out of the title fight with an injury. Peter wants to fight, so King has found him an opponent. According to the new potential main eventer's camp, it's all done and in the hands of the WBC to approve it.
Ladies and gentlemen...
Oh, that's right. The 39-year old, former four-time world title challenger who does not have a single credible win this entire decade (unless you count an aging Orlin Norris in 2000) could be the man to get a title shot.
I have so many questions about this, but I want to say, first off, that I don't really object. Of the guys on the card, who else was gonna step in? At least Golota still has some name value due to his various disasters.
Andrew Golota has never really been a guy who takes a big punch too well. Just not his strength. Let's be frank: Golota is a glassjaw. So the idea is to match him up with arguably the biggest puncher in the division. ...Awesome.
How about Kevin McBride, though? The Golota-McBride fight had me pretty intrigued, I'll admit. Both guys can be fun to watch, and I've always liked McBride. If he gets the shaft, that's too bad.
Hell, I hope it happens. Peter deserves a guy he can bomb in the first round. He's put up with enough bullshit from enough people in the last year.
I guess, really, McCline could have gotten the spot, given that he was ducked by Klitschko -- and to be honest, I am entirely done with Vitali Klitschko and his endless excuses for why he's not fighting -- or DaVarryl Williamson could have gotten it, given that he was training against Klitschko and seems to be willing to take some credit for "injuring" him. But Golota is a cakewalk for Peter. And, again, Peter deserves that. I don't expect he'll duck anyone down the road.
Just for kicks, let's quickly recap the first four times that Golota received a shot at a world heavyweight title:
October 4, 1997: Lennox Lewis (31-1) v. Andrew Golota (28-2) for the WBC championship in Atlantic City
Golota is coming off of two straight disqualification losses to former heavyweight champ Riddick Bowe. To be fair, let's recognize that those were the only losses on the 29-year old Golota's record. Lewis drops Golota in the opening round, and does it again moments later, finishing off the challenger in 95 seconds. Golota, who had really received the fight only because of his newfound reputation as a walking meltdown, probably never should've gotten another title shot, as Lewis thoroughly thrashed him, and we're talking Lennox Lewis here, not exactly a hard-charging guy. But, well, welcome to modern heavyweight boxing.
April 17, 2004: Chris Byrd (37-2) v. Andrew Golota (38-4) for the IBF championship at Madison Square Garden
Byrd was a fine champion, and is still a fine fighter and a good guy. But he was never going to excite anyone as the heavyweight champ. Doesn't have power, doesn't have size, isn't a great boxer, and doesn't talk a ton, so he doesn't even create glitzy press. Byrd had walked over Evander Holyfield two years prior to win the vacant strap, then he beat Fres Oquendo in his first defense. Still, who was excited about this guy? I liked him, but I wasn't going to go too far out of my way to see him fight.
Enter Golota, who hasn't scored a decent win in years and is more or less an historical footnote now. In fact, before this fight, an Andrew Golota entry into a boxing encyclopedia could have been summed up something like this:
Hit Riddick Bowe in the nuts a lot, losing two fights via DQ. Was steamrolled by then-WBC champion Lennox Lewis. Quit against Michael Grant after being knocked down in 10th round, despite leading on all three cards. Quit against Mike Tyson, decision was later changed to a no-contest after Tyson tested positive for marijuana.
That's really all there was to say about the guy. But, he got another shot, seven years after his first. He's 36 years old. And to me, this was the one positive defining fight of Andrew Golota's career. He fought his heart out against a superior boxer, using his size and power, and keeping an effective gameplan. I was stunned by how competitive he was. You could have made a case -- and official judge Steve Weisfeld did -- that he won a tight decision. Instead, it was a draw. This was the one truly proud moment of Golota's career.
November 13, 2004: John Ruiz (40-5-1) v. Andrew Golota (38-4-1) for the WBA championship at Madison Square Garden
Part of a big night of heavyweight boxing (Byrd-McCline, Rahman-Meehan, Holyfield-Donald, McCall-Williamson) at the Garden. Golota was again competitive, but more in that way that everyone that fights John Ruiz is at least competitive, because John Ruiz doesn't do the first damn thing to make a fight his. Ruiz was a year and a half removed from being embarrassed by a 193-pound Roy Jones, Jr., and had scored comeback wins over Rahman and Oquendo. Ruiz-Golota wasn't great, because Ruiz was involved, but Golota did knock him down twice and the scores were close. Had he not knocked him down twice, they wouldn't have been. As it stands right now, this was Ruiz's last win. But the showing could have been worse for Golota. He'd done worse before. And...
May 21, 2005: Lamon Brewster (31-2) v. Andrew Golota (38-5-1) for the WBO championship in Chicago
Brewster wasn't exactly red-hot coming in, plus Chicago is basically Golota's adopted city. With a large Polish-American audience pulling heavily for Golota, the champion was on someone else's turf. Golota said several times leading up to the fight that he felt as though this would likely be his final shot at a heavyweight title. And why not? He'd already failed in bids to claim the titles of the WBC, IBF and WBA. The WBO strap held by Brewster was next.
Strangely, it marked the third straight fight in which Golota received a world title shot, going 0-1-1 in the first of the three consecutive attempts. Let this prove that name value means almost everything, especially in the heavyweight division. "Earn" has nothing to do with it.
Brewster had won the belt with a miraculous comeback win over Wladimir Klitschko, then looked subpar at best in his defense against Kali Meehan.
12 seconds in: Brewster drops Golota with a brutal left hook. Golota gets up. 33 seconds in: Golota goes down again, on another left hook that ends a five-punch combination. Golota gets up. 53 seconds in: Golota is again sent to the canvas. Referee Gino Rodriguez has seen enough, and Golota is bombed out of boxing, having vowed to retire if he lost the fight. His exact quote: "If I don't do this now, I never will. If I lose, I go fishing."
Golota stayed out of the ring for two years, returning this June to beat veteran punching bag Jeremy Bates.
If this fight goes through, it marks the fifth time that Andrew Golota has gotten a shot at a world title just because he's Andrew Golota. I don't think any of us figured way back when that punching Riddick Bowe in the crotch over and over would lead to a decade of relative relevance for Golota, but that's the story.