“Everybody just assumed, well here you have a winner and a quitter,” Mariola Golota, Andrew’s wife, said after the fight. “There was more involved.”
Tyson vs Golota
On October 20, 2000, high-profile heavyweight contenders Mike Tyson and Andrew Golota squared off in a high-stakes PPV match-up. The winner would take a giant step to secure a shot at champion Lennox Lewis while the loser would be forced to re-assess his career.
Menacing and aggressive as usual, Tyson struck first – and early – by flooring his foe at the end of Round 1.
The route was on…Or so it seemed.
Golota, after the knockdown, held his own and was competitive in Round 2. Not only did he absorb some heavy shots without wilting, but he also landed good punches of his own while making Mike miss often. No, Andrew didn’t win the round but many watching had certainly rolled up their sleeves in anticipation of an epic battle.
But after the second round, Golota mysteriously retired on his stool saying “I quit” to his cornerman, who acted in disbelief. Seconds later, he got off his stool and began to walk around his corner refusing to accept his mouthpiece and engage his opponent.
He quit – And the referee had no choice but to award the fight to Tyson.
As an embarrassed and disappointed Golota walked back to his dressing room, he was pelted with garbage and drinks by angry fans, many of which had supported Andrew and clearly believed he’d robbed them of getting their money’s worth.
Andrew had quit but that wasn’t the whole story.
After the bout, Andrew Golota was diagnosed with a concussion and a neck injury and was subsequently hospitalized for several days.
And there’s more…
Dr. Wesley Yapor, a neurosurgeon who treated Golota at Chicago’s Resurrection Medical Center, said the fighter also sustained a fractured left cheekbone and a herniated disc between the fourth and fifth cervical vertebrae.
“If the symptoms persist, he might need surgery,” said Yapor who noticed some bleeding on the brain via an MRI.
“It’s not uncommon for people who sustain serious head injuries to have a cervical injury,” said Yapor who indicated that all head injuries are considered serious.”
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“If he had sustained another serious blow to the head he could have become paralyzed,” Yapor said. “There’s no way I would have allowed him to enter the ring for the second round.”
And while Andrew Golota appeared lucid in the post-fight interview, his wife insisted his condition deteriorated when he reached his dressing room.
“He was pretty incoherent. He was stuttering.”
Andrew Golota, who complained he was also victimized by Tyson’s illegal headbutts that continued without warning, made the right call after all.
“He got hurt, he got injured and it’s probably the smartest thing he did,” Mariola Golota said of her husband’s refusal to go out for the third round against the fearsome Tyson.
After the bout, Tyson tested positive for marijuana, which led the commission to change the result from a technical knockout to no contest, the second of Tyson’s career (Orlin Norris 1999).
Golota, after a three-year hiatus following this fight, would eventually become a top 5 contender again but never win a major world title.
And Tyson, of course, would earn an impressive stoppage over Denmark legend Brian Nielsen a year later before being soundly defeated by then-champion Lennox Lewis in June.