October 20, 2000
he Gods must be smiling.
As Halloween approaches, how utterly appropriate is it for Mike Tyson and Andrew Golota to climb into the same ring at the same time? These two miscreants have been given more second chances than Elizabeth Taylor. While the paths they have taken to get here and nature of their offenses are as different as can be, there certainly is a morbid fascination associated with these combatants, not unlike viewing a car wreck or an autopsy.
For some reason, Polish people have been unfairly singled out as being a step slower than the rest of mankind. Just about everyone has heard at least 5 jokes to this effect. I personally have seen no evidence to support this theory. Unfortunately, Andrew Golota does absolutely nothing to advance their cause.
While we all know the disturbing trends of Tyson, there is something innately silly about Golota. Against Riddick Bowe, Golota had to throw nary a punch, above the belt that is, to win. He could not summon the resources, mental or otherwise, to succeed. Against Lennox Lewis, for some reason, he froze. The circumstances surrounding his submission to Lewis are somewhat sketchy, but his performance wasn't. Against Michael Grant, he tanked it. Why? Why, when all seems in his favor, does he find a way to sabotage himself? It's as if there is an instinct or reflex that prevents Golota from doing the right thing.
After his disqualification against Bowe, Golota's summation of his performance was, "I stupid, I stupid." You've got that right, Andrew.
Tyson's troubles are well chronicled. He has done so much wrong over such a long period of time; to recount his transgressions would be exhaustive and pointless. Unlike Golota, many of his offenses have been of a criminal nature.
However, Tyson remains a star attraction and perennial meal ticket. Why? Perhaps people watch because it may be the last time they see Tyson in the ring, or even alive. Perhaps people want to see his wretched actions in the ring, which often bear little resemblance to boxing. Maybe he will gnaw on an ear, or an appendage of some variety. Maybe he will deck a ref. Perhaps people tune in to see a deranged ranting after one of his "performances." Remember his outburst regarding eating Lennox Lewis's children? As we all learned, Lewis had no children.
As different as they are in background and appearance, what they have in common is they have been given chance after chance to redeem themselves. Whether it be pugilistic or legal redemption, these two have never proven worthy of the court's or the ring's largesse.
In fact, will anyone be watching this fight for its aesthetic qualities? Does it really matter who wins? Will Golota be allowed to wear headgear? Will Tyson be wearing a steel cup? This fight has the look and feel of a circus rolling into town.
The truth is, these two deserve each other.
CBZ Exclusive: Andrew Golota's Record
CBZ Exclusive: Mike Tyson's Record