1. ANDREW GOLOTA, born January 5 1968, concluded his largely successful amateur career (111 wins) in 1988 by claiming a heavyweight bronze medal at the Seoul Olympics. Despite needing to shift five pounds in order to make the heavyweight limit upon his arrival, Golota would later describe the cafeteria in the athletes’ village as one of his fondest memories of the Games. “It was the best cafeteria I have ever seen,” he said 20 years later. “They had everything there.”
2. THAT bronze was supposed to provide the full stop on his boxing career. In 1990 he married an American girl and they set up home in Chicago. His wife soon gave birth to their baby daughter and Golota trained to be a truck driver, passed his tests, and started to look for work. In the meantime, he started boxing again in a Chicago gym. Onlookers were impressed with Golota’s skill and the bruiser was soon offered a professional contract.
3. WITHIN three years of his 1992 debut, the unbeaten Golota was attracting attention. Technically impressive and with a whack to compliment his heavily muscled frame, the heavyweight was matched with fringe contender Samson Po’uha in Atlantic City on May 16, 1995. The Pole was in total control when he opted to bite his opponent on the shoulder in round four. The crime was forgiven by the referee, and Golota halted Po’uha in the fifth. It was an early sign of the erratic and bizarre mindset that would accompany Golota into combat.
4. AFTER proving his worth as a top contender by halting Danell Nicholson, Golota was matched with Riddick Bowe in December 1996. Bowe was heavily favoured going into the bout, and was seemingly on course to regain his world heavyweight title. But Golota was a revelation, bossing Bowe for large chunks of the showdown, and looked the likely winner. He had other ideas, though. Warped and unfathomable ideas. Golota hammered a blow into Bowe’s groin in round four that dropped the American. He did it again in round six. Despite losing points he was still ahead going into the seventh. Twice more he targeted the exhausted Bowe’s groin. He was rightly disqualified.
5. GOLOTA’S ludicrous behaviour was contagious and savage fighting spread from pockets of the crowd. Inside the ring, the theme continued. A melee broke out. Veteran boxing man Lou Duva – acting as Golota’s advisor – was hospitalised after being struck by a walkie-talkie.
6. DESPITE the puzzling result, and horrendous aftermath, a rematch was necessary. Inexplicably Golota was disqualified again. Deservedly well ahead on the cards after scoring two knockdowns, and rising from the canvas himself, he was thrown out for persistent fouling in the ninth. “I can’t defend him,” said Duva, Golota’s co-trainer. “I wish I could. I can’t explain it. I said, ‘Andrew, you’re winning the fight. Just get out there and box.’ What made him do what he did, I don’t know.”
7. BOWE may have won the two fights but it was clear he was damaged goods. And despite his mind-boggling bad habits, Golota was regarded as the leading contender. He was matched with WBC champion Lennox Lewis in October 1997. Some thought the Pole could harness his madness for long enough to claim the title. Looking apprehensive from the beginning, Golota was bombed out in just 95 seconds. More on Lewis-Golota HERE
8. GOLOTA then put together a six-fight win streak – beating the ageing Tim Witherspoon along the way – before losing to Michael Grant in November 1999. It would be another exhibit in the case against his sanity. Deducted a point early for punching low, Golota was well ahead in the 10th round when he signalled he could not continue after being dropped. His surrender was curious.
9. PLENTY more big fights were presented to Golota and he did not win any of them. A born-to-fail showdown with fellow firecracker Mike Tyson ended in a No Contest in 2000 (FULL STORY HERE), and after a layoff, he somehow secured three more shots at world titles. Golota was unfortunate to not win either his meeting with IBF boss Chris Byrd (draw pts 12), or WBA leader John Ruiz (lost pts 12) in 2004, but there were no arguments about his first round loss to WBO king Lamon Brewster.
10. ANOTHER comeback in 2007 threatened to spew another title chance, but a one-round loss to Ray Austin in 2008 ended his hopes of glory, before losses to Tomasz Adamek (2009) and Przemyslaw Saleta (2013) finished his career.