by Boxing Insider Staff
With apparently very little else to do, Andrew Golota is looking to get back into action at the age of 45. Golota, who had an eventful ring career to say the least, will be throwing low blows again in an attempt to climb the heavyweight ladder, and he’ll start with a match against fellow Pole Przemyslaw Saleta at the Ergo Arena in Gdansk on February 23.
Golota has made the declaration “now I can box,” which means the rest of the heavyweight division is in for some trouble. No, we’re just kidding. Let’s see how far he gets first with Saleta, who is also 45 years old and has been a pro since 1991.
Actually, no one has ever doubted that Golota had quite a bit of fighting ability. He first drew the attention of a lot of fight fans when he scored an eighth-round stoppage of fringe contender Danell Nicholson in March 1996, and that led to a fight with Riddick Bowe. Golota got the better of Bowe, leading on all three scorecards until his own demons got the better of HIM. A number of low blows later, he was on the losing end of a disqualification defeat. Just to prove that was no fluke, he AGAIN out-performed Bowe just five months later, only to do a “bonehead” repeat, this time losing on a ninth-round DQ.
In the bizarre world of pro boxing, those disgraceful losses led to a chance to fight for a heavyweight title, and indeed Golota got his opportunity to challenge for Lennox Lewis’ WBC crown in October 1997. In that bout Golota didn’t even have a chance to commit fouls, as he was blown out in 95 seconds.
After rehabilitating his career a little, Golota got a chance to fight on HBO against rising star Michael Grant, and again he seemed on the verge of victory. He put Grant to the canvas twice in the first round and led on all the cards when he was put down in the tenth and demonstrated another of his tendencies – to quit – as he basically refused to go forward.
In an October 2000 bout against Mike Tyson, Golota quit in the third round, and caught a break of sorts when Tyson was tested for marijuana and the fight was declared a no-contest. He got another undeserved shot at a world title in April 2004, but he almost made the most of it, holding Chris Byrd to a draw. In a fight for the WBA crown, he knocked John Ruiz down twice but lost a narrow decision. And then, in his third consecutive for a heavyweight title, against his third different opponent and under the auspices of a third sanctioning body, he was stopped in one round by Lamon Brewster for the WBO belt.
Golota’s last fight was in October of 2009, and he was never really in the fight as Tomasz Adamek, a countryman who was on his way up in the heavyweight class, stopped him in five rounds. That was a huge event in Poland, naturally, and so will this upcoming bout, since, well, there aren’t many Polish fighters who have made a mark.
Saleta, nicknamed “Chemek,” was a world-class kick boxer who has a record of 43-7 with 21 KO’s with hands only. He’s had a career that has been split between cruiserweight and heavyweight. Unlike Golota, he has never fought for a world title, but has posted wins over some names, such as Dennis Andries, Brian LaSpada and former Olympian Rodolfo Marin. he’s also been knocked out in one round by the likes of Zeljko Mavrovic and Johnny McClain. Saleta won the European heavyweight title with a stoppage of Luan Krasniqi in July 2002 but lost it to Sinan Samil Sam three months later. He’s been out of action longer than Golota, having last fought in February 2006, when he won a six-round decision over Ed Perry.