Comment by Paul Upham: It was Groundhog Day all over again for the long suffering Andrew Golota fans. Has a heavyweight boxer ever before promised so much only to deliver so little? The “Foul Pole”, as he came to be known, grabbed world wide attention so spectacularly in July 1996 against Riddick Bowe in a fight that would send New York’s Madison Square Garden into full scale riot. At least now, they have a true champion to support in Tomasz Adamek.
On Saturday night October 24 at the Arena Lodz in Poland, Golota entered the ring against fellow countryman Adamek, in what was being promoted as the Polish “Fight of the Century”.
In the final seconds before the match began, Golota had the same anxious look on his face that he did against Lennox Lewis in October 1997. That fight lasted 95 seconds.
After a solid stare down during the referee’s final instructions, the much smaller Adamek looked straight into Golota’s eyes and the veteran encouragingly stared right back.
The opening bell saw a fast start from Adamek. He threw eye catching combinations and worked the body. Towards the end of the round, Golota hit the canvas after a flurry. More off balance than hurt, as he shook his head acknowledging his mistake.
41 year-old Golota sustained a cut over his left eye in round 2 and while Adamek maintained his brisk pace, there was the ever so slight indication that this cruiserweight, who had beefed up to 214.2lbs, was slowing down as the round ended. Golota was pressing forward, soaking up all of Adamek’s punches in an attempt to corner his foe.
After the 256lbs Golota continued marching forward in round 3, Adamek hurt him early in round 4. There was an extended flurry, which battered Golota, but the much maligned heavyweight kept fighting and later used a left hook to visibly hurt Adamek.
Just as any hopes of a resurgence appeared, an Adamek right hand/left hook combination put Golota down again. He beat the count, but Adamek quickly swarmed again and American referee Bill Clancy stopped the fight with Golota still on his feet. It may have been a little premature, but it seemed unlikely could have won from there.
As Golota paced around the ring like a caged tiger, Adamek climbed each corner of the ring to recognise his passionate fans and use his finger to indicate that he is their No.1.
Fight after fight over two decades, wherever Golota competed, there have been loyal Polish fans waving their national flags and chanting his name. No matter his shocking, disappointing and often incomprehensible losses to Riddick Bowe (twice), Lennox Lewis, Michael Grant and his eventual no-contest with Mike Tyson, they were there.
Regardless if 32 year-old Adamek returns to cruiserweight to reign as champion, or unexpectedly remains at heavyweight, finally the Polish fans have a new champion worthy of their admiration.