Say this, there’s no quit in the Foul Pole’s promoter. As long as Andrew (Foul Pole) Golota is willing to at least climb into a ring, Don King apparently is willing to squeeze a few more drops of that very faint blood.
And if the Foul Pole, who has been quitting one way or another since 1996, has worn out his welcome in America, King knows he can still sell tickets back in Poland. He’s billing it as the fight between the two best boxers in Poland’s history, which is not exactly rich in pugilists. The favorite is Tomasz Adamek, the cruiserweight champion and former light-heavyweight king, who is moving up in weight – certainly not in class – to meet Golota, but certainly not eye to eye.
Adamek is a compact 6-foot-1½ who weighed 194 pounds in his last start, when he stopped a cruiserweight challanger named Bobby Gunn in four rounds. With no money fights available, he has agreed to face the 6-4 Golota, who usually scaled somewhere in the 240’s.
A few years ago, it might have been an interesting match, but with Golota, now 41 and spoiled goods, it is more freak show than big top.
Apparently, you can bet on bearded ladies. Adamek, I have noticed is about a 5-1 favorite off shore, and the only question may be when Golota decides to take the money and flee.
Yes, he is much bigger and even with age he probably retains enough of his many skills to warrant a flier. But this smacks of just another in Golota’s long line of tank jobs. In his last fight, almost a full year ago, he quit in the opening round against Ray Austin, another perennial King retread. He was stopped in the opening round by Lamon Brewster in a 2005 title (if you count the WBO) bout, the third in a row for King’s pet – having already lost to John Ruiz and drawn with Chris Byrd. Yes, he might have won that last one, but by that time Golota had used up any sympathy fans might have felt for him.
By that time, he had already quit after two rounds against Mike Tyson.
He quit against Michael Grant in 1999, he didn’t even start against Lennox Lewis in 1997. You might say his disqualifications for continued low blows in two 1996 fights with Riddick Bowe were perverse ways of throwing in the towel.
There was a time when his foul tactics could have been construed as underhanded ways of trying to win. Back in 1995, for example, I was ringside when after being hurt by a punch from Samson Po’uha, he bit his Samoan opponent on the shoulder to buy some recovery time.
He could be charming. Before his first fight with Bowe, I was squeezed into the backseat of a limo with Golota, his wife and baby when I asked him what went with Samson Po’uha, red wine or white. "Ho, ho, ho," he replied.
Now Golota seems to be King’s little joke. The 78-year-old promoter has not been very active lately. But he is turning back the clock a bit not only with Golota, but the week after he is going to be the lead promoter on a fight card in Las Vegas. He has found a new oasis in the desert at Treasure Island and is putting on a nice show headlined by Joseph (King Kong) Agbeko, the Bronx-based Ghanan who battered Vic Darchinyan earlier this year, defending his bantamweight belt against a California-based Colombian and undefeated challenger, Yohnny Perez, who qualified by going to South Africa and knocking out Silence Mabuza in the 12th round.
Of course, King will stick a heavyweight fight on the card, and thankfully Showtime will not air it – the aforementioned Ray Austin vs. DaVarryl Williamson. And if you think that is bad, how about the night before Adamek-Golota, which thankfully will not be televised (if it is, I’m doing you a favor by saying it isn’t). In Las Vegas, Oliver McCall is facing Lance Whitaker, once a Mountain, now a mole hill.
King used to be big, too. Next week, we’ll revisit the Rumble in the Jungle. It’s been 35 years.
Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Michael Katz
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