Tyson, Golota, and Hamlet
October 24, 2000
Paying to see Mike Tyson fight
is like dating O.J. Simpson. You have no right to complain later. In
fact youre lucky if youre in any condition to
When Tyson fights clean, the
fight may last two rounds. At 50 bucks a pop, thats about 25
bucks a round. And Im talking about watching on TV. At one
time you could see Joe Louis fight in person for a lot less.
But Tyson doesnt always
fight clean. Sometimes he bites an ear off; once he broke an
opponents arm; once he knocked a guy out after the bell; and
he even slugged a referee. All that remains for him is to punch the
ref after the bell.
So I decided a long time ago that
I would never pay to watch another Tyson fight.
Then, last week, I got a phone
call. A seductive voice invited me to watch Tyson fight Andrew
Golota. I said no thanks. She persisted. I said yes please.
It wasnt just her dulcet
tones. It was Golota. A fight between Tyson and Golota would be
interesting, because Golota is, if anything, even dirtier than
A few years ago Golota fought
the former champ Riddick Bowe. He was beating the tar out of Bowe
until late in the fight, when, on a sudden inspiration, he delivered a
magnificent uppercut to the privates. Down went Bowe, groaning in
agony. Golota lost on a disqualification. Talk about stupid.
months later there was a rematch with a surprise ending. Again
Golota was beating the tar out of Bowe late in the fight when, on a
sudden inspiration, he delivered a magnificent uppercut to the
privates. Down went Bowe, groaning in agony. Golota lost on a
disqualification. Either I was watching a rerun, or Golota was not
only the dirtiest but the dumbest fighter Id ever seen.
So I hope you can understand the
sudden fascination I felt at the prospect of a Tyson-Golota fight. It
wasnt that I hoped for twelve rounds of pugilistic finesse. It
was more like being invited to watch a train wreck. Something wild
was guaranteed to happen. And it did, but not the way I expected.
I bit. Me, a Shakespeare scholar.
I took a night off from polishing my new book on
It was a long night. There were
several preliminary bouts, including a fight between two women, one
of them Muhammad Alis daughter. If you want to know what
degradation feels like, watch a pair of women slugging each other in
Finally, around midnight, the
main event came. Golota took forever to come out of his dressing
room. He looked twice as big as Tyson.
The fight began. Golota tried to
stave Tyson off with soft jabs but at the end of the first round
Tyson landed a right to the nose. Golota bounced on his butt but got
up immediately. The bell rang.
In the second round Golota
clinched as often as he could. Tyson couldnt find room to land
the big punch.
When the bell rang for the third
round, Golota quit. His manager was screaming at him to get out
there and fight, but he refused. He wanted no more of Tyson. The
fight was over.
The crowd went ape, throwing
drinks and debris at Golota as he walked back to his dressing room in
instant disgrace. If you paid 50 bucks to watch this debacle on TV,
imagine what it cost to watch at ringside. The one thing nobody
expected from either of these thugs was sheer cowardice.
Now I dont want to get
hit by Mike Tyson either, but at least I dont take two million
dollars to fight him and climb into the ring with him before running
away. Im an honorable coward. I run away for free.
Golota later explained that
Tyson had butted him and the referee hadnt done anything
about it, so he quit. Golota charging another boxer with dirty
fighting? That took a lot more nerve than hed shown in the
Right now Im trying to
think of analogies between Golota and Hamlet. If I can work them
into my book, maybe I can claim the 50 bucks as a business expense.
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