After a six month absence from the ring following his one round blowout loss against Lennox Lewis, Andrew Golota returned against 293 pound behemoth Eli Dixon. Dixon, who sported a 19-3 record, with the losses coming against Taco Bell, McDonalds, and Pizza Hut, should have been ashamed to call himself a professional athlete tonight. How you can expect to win a fight while being in such woeful physical shape, is beyond me. But I digress.
Predictably, Golota looked a little stiff while shaking off the effects of the six month layoff. But as the fifth and sixth rounds rolled around, Golota's combinations started to come together, and he was able to harpoon Dixon with a shot to the cup (not to the protective cup, the D-cup) at the 2:15 mark of the sixth.
Is Golota ready to step back into the fray with the top heavyweights? Not by a long shot. He still seems too tenative, and unable to shake off the tag of dirty fighter, which has definitely tamed his aggressiveness. But in today's wide open heavyweight division, one punch can send you to the top, and Golota can still bang. He will definitely be a story to watch for the rest of 1998. As for Dixon, it seems that all he learned from being a sparring partner for Tyson and Akinwande is to hold and foul. Hopefully, the suits at the USA Network aren't using fighters like Eli Dixon as a measuring stick as to the quality of TNF.
On the other hand though, fighters like Fernando Vargas could boost ratings on any night of the week. Vargas, in only his eleventh fight as a pro, blew out 24-3, world rated Romallis Ellis at 1:56 of the second round. Vargas, who looks to me to be the class of the 1996 Olympic squad, has far surpassed other impressive teammates like David Reid and Floyd Mayweather with his patient style, awesome punching power, and good technique.
Ellis, who just a short while ago scored a victory over Vince Phillips and fought a title fight against Raul Marquez, was just overwhelmed by Vargas, who had him out on his feet in the corner when referee Matt Mullaly wisely stepped in. At 11-0, with all victories coming by kayo, Vargas may very well be a champion by the end of 1998. And with fighters like Trinidad, DeLa Hoya, Reid, and possibly Quartey all in the junior middleweight division by the end of the year, this division could very well be like the welterweights of the eighties (Leonard, Hearns, Duran, Benitez, Cuevas). And by the looks of things now, I may be going out on a limb here, but Vargas could wind up as the Sugar Ray of the aformentioned group.
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