Five years ago Andrew Golota and Tomasz Adamek sat together in a van as it drove to Central Park in New York City. It was early Monday evening and Golota wanted to do some light roadwork in the southern end of Central Park, and Adamek joined him. Adamek was the young Polish light heavyweight boxer who had just entered the United States and would later win the light heavyweight and cruiserweight world titles. Golota was shaking out in his first night in New York the week of his WBA title challenge against John Ruiz. Golota and Adamek were friendly back then but their friendship ended after Golota made some critical but well-intentioned comments regarding Adamek’s inability to box against southpaw Chad Dawson in their WBC title fight in Kissimmee, Florida.
I sat and watched Adamek vs. Dawson with Golota who remarked during the fight that he thought Adamek was under-prepared by his trainer Buddy McGirt for southpaw Dawson and should have listened to advices he offered at their Vero Beach camp. Those Golota comments were later published in my report on the fight and subsequently picked up by the Polish media, from what I am told. Of course, anything Golota says about anything is big news and not long after, Adamek learned of the comments. He seemed to misinterpret the Golota comments to be antagonistic when really they were not intended in that way. And I vividly remember when Adamek left the ring and was walking back to his dressing room by himself, it was Golota who made his way to console his fighting brother, and put a friendly tap on his shoulder as if to say to Adamek, You lost but it’s okay, you fought a great fight. Don’t worry about this, you will be okay. You have to consider that Polish translation of English can be inaccurate at times – as I’ve read some of my translated prediction in Polish back to English – and most likely the translation misconstrued Golota’s comments in my article. Adamek then responded by saying something derogatory about Golota and whores, alluding to the recent story that Golota had an incident with two women of the night in Chicago. From there a grudge commenced and hostilities reached full explosion in Lodz, Poland where the two met to settle their differences.
The Polish Fight of the Century would pit the new up and coming force Adamek vs. the Polish sporting legend Golota. The nice guy against the perceived bad guy people love and hate. The two-time champ against the man who failed in four attempts, though two of those setbacks were highly controversial (to Byrd and Ruiz). The smaller faster sharper Adamek vs. the hulking Golota.
As expected, Adamek was too quick, too sharp and just too good for his much slower former friend. Round one Adamek circled and fell Golota with a straight right. Once a technical artist who could throw powerful flowing combinations of punches seemingly effortlessly, is a mere shell of what he was. An injured arm that never recovered also handicaps his ability to punch. It was an impossible task, almost like a replay of Pacquiao vs. De La Hoya. Golota tried but just couldn’t connect cleanly. Adamek is a masterful fighter, so calm and smooth, yet so strong and sharp. The younger man had Goliath bloodied and battered in round five. He unloaded a right, left hook combo which dropped Golota again. Golota got up but could not thwart the onslaught Adamek unleashed and ref Bill Clancy halted the battle.
Adamek can now look forward to an eventual IBF title challenge against Wladimir Klitschko, which appears on paper to be a mismatch, but I am starting to believe that Adamek is one of those special fighters with extraordinary skills, intelligence and unlimited capacities, who can rise to any occasion. Like a Manny Pacquiao who is becoming stronger and stronger as he moves up in weight.
For Andrew Golota, this is surely the end. The final chapter to one of the most unpredictable, entertaining, frustrating and inexplicable heavyweight careers the sport has ever witnessed. Though he was never a champion, Don King called him the uncrowned champion after the Ruiz fight. Tyson, Lewis and Holyfield all thought he did enough to beat Byrd. For a guy who came to America and took the test to be a truck driver, but then suddenly decided to go back to the boxing gym, Golota did all right for himself. Golota not only survived but became very successful and wealthy from boxing. He took his life and put it into his own two hands. And he made it big. He fought some of the best fighters of all time, and though his career will end on this losing note, it was a career that will always be remembered for the incredible magic he showed in both Bowe fights. Those performances not only dazzled the world, but they inspired and opened the door for the next wave of Eastern European heavyweights who now dominate the sport. You could call Andrew Golota a former Heavyweight contender and world title challenger. But Andrew Golota is also a pioneer, in a way. A pioneer who contributed to changing the face of boxing as we know it. A pioneer who touched the sport – both positively and negatively – in a way no man ever has or ever will.
Scoop’s first book “Heavyweight Armageddon: The Tyson-Lewis Championship Battle” was called “A smashing success,” by Emanuel Steward, “One of the two best boxing books I ever read.”