June 26th, 2012 By Pedro Fernandez
TWO OF THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL FIGHTS IN HEAVYWEIGHT HISTORY
San Francisco, CA– One of the biggest mysteries to me in my tenure on the boxing perch were the two fights between Riddick Bowe and Andrew Golota. The Polish born fighter’s name came up on the newswire today as he is facing the possibility of deportation in September. Unbeaten when he faced former undisputed heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe on July 11, 1996, Bowe was a 1988 Olympian that lost to Lennox Lewis in the finals. Trained by the great late Eddie Futch, I thought Bowe was the real deal. The three fights with Evander Holyfield, of which Bowe won two, will go down as one of the greatest trilogies in heavyweight history.
BOWE GOT RIDDICK-ULOUSLY FAT!
In the first fight against Golota, Bowe was behind on all three cards against the 28-0 Pole. Looking and fighting like a man that had come down from over 300 lbs., Riddick did and by then was reduced by the good life to “pugilistic toast.” Hall of Fame trainer Eddie Futch had left him years before, stating that Bowe’s bad behavior and training habits, something the old man would not put up with, had gotten to the point where Eddie could no longer work with him. With Futch out, and manager Rock Newman having lost control of the fighter, in hindsight you could see the writing on the wall.
WHAT MADE GOLOTA “LOSE” WHEN HE WAS AHEAD?
Without question, Golota was in far better shape physically then Riddick Bowe. With Bowe seemingly looking for a way out, meaning he knew this would not be his night at Madison Square Garden, Andrew did the unthinkable as he continually hit his opponent below the belt. Eventually, referee Wayne Kelly stopped the fight in the 7th round. The way the fight ended, a riot ensued and it took quite a while before the New York City Police and security could control these hooligans who were both Polish and Black.
LIKE ANDREW COULDN’T COMPREHEND ENGLISH & THE RULES OF BOXING
Time and time again, Kelly kept warning the Polish fighter regarding his fouling. And yet, Andrew continued to throw low blows. Never could I come up with rhyme or reason as to why he did so. Bowe was declared the winner by disqualification around seven. The rematch took place in Atlantic City the following November and was basically the same fight all over again with Golota all over Bowe like a bad suit. Although Bowe had claimed to be on a diet this time, he looked drawn, if not starved and unhealthy. In other words, he was a walking dead man.
DIFFERENT VENUE BUT SAME RESULTS
This time Eddie Cotton was the referee and he disqualified Andrew in round nine, a fight like the first one in which he was winning. Both referees gave Golota a ton of warnings, and yet he kept throwing blows as south of the border as Mexico City. Up until today I could never come up with a reason as to why Golota threw both those fights.
DID THE MOB CONTROL THE OUTCOMES?
Then it crossed my mind, sports betting and the Mafia. A betting favorite both times, Bowe did nothing in either fight to merit such. All I can think of now, is that the Mob was possibly involved. Was it just like the days when Frankie Carbo and Blinky Palermo, both Mafioso, ran and controlled boxing? Did somebody get to Golota, did or said something that compelled him to foul his way out of two fights that he was winning? Had he won clearly, there would have been at least a couple of multi-million dollar fights for the Polish fighter.
NOW I SUSPECT HE MAY HAVE “DIVED” AGAINST LENNOX LEWIS?
In his next fight some ten months later, Andrew faced World heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis and was knocked out just 1:38 into the first round! Although Lennox was a fair-puncher, knocking Golota out in the blink of an eye was, again in hindsight, almost unfathomable. After the two Bowe fights, Andrew Golota went 13-6, losing the title fight with Lewis and getting his jaw broken by Mike Tyson, a TKO 2, but that loss doesn’t appear on his record because Tyson tested positive for Marijuana. The closest Golota would ever come to beating a world-class fighter was his 2004 draw with Chris Byrd. He retired in 2008 at 41-8-3, with 33 KOs.
YOU TELL ME FIGHT FANS!
Is my law enforcement background or my knowledge of a man on the Grassy Knoll shooting at JFK, is this what’s making me see things that aren’t there? Do you think Golota threw both Bowe fights? Did he get hit hard enough to where he could dive against Lewis sans any suspicion? The loss to Tyson was unquestionable with the broken jaw, but those Bowe fights, the results of which still stink like sun-dried cod. What do you think, did Golota go in the tank in the Bowe fights, before setting himself up to do a swan dive with Lennox Lewis?