Thursday, July 11, 2013

On this day in Fistiana... Wild & Weird Bowe-Golota 1

On this Day in Fistiana…

 Riddick Bowe WF7 Andrew Golota

July 11, 1996 
Madison Square Garden, NYC
By Alex Pierpaoli

This day in fistiana was one of the weirder moments in heavyweight boxing history. If you’re of Polish descent Andrew Golota is the heartbreak and frustration of Billy Buckner, Ben Johnson, and Steve Bartman all rolled into one.  

Despite being the WBO Titlist, Riddick Bowe was hoping to get a fight with Lennox Lewis or Mike Tyson, and Andrew Golota was not expected to be much more than a tune-up fight. But Bowe, always one to struggle with conditioning, was not in peak physical shape and from the descriptions given on-air by Lampley & Merchant, he didn't seem focused on Golota in the least.

He would pay for it. Through 2 rounds it was clear Golota would be a force to be reckoned with and things might get weird—halfway through round one he lands a heavy overhand right and only halfway through the second he lands a barrage below the belt and gets the first warning from Referee Wayne Kelly. And right at the bell to end the second, Bowe almost pays Kelly back with a big right-hand hay-maker that just misses the Ref.'s noggin.

In the 3rd there’s a serious heavyweight fight breaking out and Golota smashes Bowe in the nuts and gets a second sterner warning from Ref. Kelly.

Rd 4, is when Golota wobbles Bowe—legally—and has his best round but also lands the heaviest low blow and Ref. Kelly deducts a point from Golota on the cards.

The fight continues, and it’s an exciting one, with Golota doing very well against a hubristic and out-of-shape Riddick Bowe. But Golota’s appetite for the groin would be his undoing on this night, despite all the legal blows he landed which were having serious effect on Bowe.

In the sixth Golota nails Bowe just under the beltline on his trunks, but not as low as he had previously and Bowe does appear to do some acting. But Referee Kelly takes another point and HBO’s Harold Lederman is already thinking a DQ must be Kelly’s only recourse after the next time Golota lands on Bowe’s cup.

Interestingly, HBO’s George Foreman, a former Heavyweight King of some note, mentions how the way in which Riddick Bowe relaxed, stretched out on the canvas like a man in a lounge chair, as he recovered from the foul, was something Foreman found rather objectionable. A fighter should never show his opponent such an example of weakness. And Larry Merchant points out how between rounds 6 and 7 it sounded like Bowe was looking for a DQ win while he was in the corner.

Round seven is where the wheels fall off.
Despite continued success and a foe before him that was ripe to be beaten—legally—Golota simply cannot stop himself from fouling Bowe and in the seventh he is finally disqualified by the late WayneKelly.

But the night didn’t end there, suddenly, Bowe supporters leap into the ring and go after Golota and his team and a full scale riot ensues.
What’s easy to forget even 17 years later was that for a while at least it had been a damn good heavyweight fight! Check it out below and see for yourself! 

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