Sensible? Interesting? Pragmatic? Desperate? Whatever descriptive you attach to the forthcoming series of matches in the heavyweight division there is unquestionably a degree of common sense at work. From the clash between ageing ramparts Andrew Golota, a fighter ten years removed from a prime he never actually had, and Kevin McBride, famous as the last fighter Mike Tyson quit against, to the IBF eliminator tourney – the heavyweights are getting their act together.
Both Golota and McBride continue to search for the remuneration and status presumed to follow their stand out performances against Riddick Bowe and Mike Tyson respectively. Golota, who twice thoroughly outboxed, out muscled and outworked Riddick Bowe before being disqualified for repeated low blows never again reached the heights of those break out performances.
Several opportunities presented themselves including a run of three title shots in three consecutive fights in 2004/05, but Golota failed to grab any of them. Most famously crushed by Lennox Lewis, toppled by Michael Grant when ahead, and blown away in a maelstrom of fear and self-doubt by Mike Tyson, Golota has failed all his major examinations and aged 39, is not an improving fighter.
His name still carries weight though , hard to believe given the eleven years that have elapsed since the infamous Bowe encounters. It is this renown that attracts McBride, a fighter who failed to capitalise on his own brave victory over Mike Tyson, turning down lucrative fights in the belief he would land a title shot. He didn’t, and following inactivity was derailed by Mike Mollo last time out.
Pitching the two veterans together is sensible and creates interest.
Elsewhere, Jameel McCline, another perennial bridesmaid, faces DaVarryl Williamson – who steps into the void left by Vitaly Klitschko’s injury prone frame. Interesting, because Williamson was Klitschko’s chief sparring partner – despite being a completely different fighter to the lumbering McCline.
I hope McCline is able to raise himself for the fight, it will be a shame if his hard work is wasted; easy to forget he’d looked ambitious and competitive versus Nicolay Valuev before his own injury intervened. Williamson, meanwhile, is an underrated puncher who needs to grasp the exposure and opportunity too – his own previous attempt at the heavyweight summit was a lacklustre, unsatisfactory experience.
Like McCline, the clock is also ticking.
For the record, McBride is now training with Buddy McGirt, which strikes this writer as a curious pairing and the Big Irishman’s claims that they’re working on his speed caused more than a chuckle behind this keyboard.
McGirt is a good trainer, but he’s not God.
McBride & McGirt clicking at Vero Beach training camp
VERO BEACH, Florida (September 16, 2007) – Two weeks into his first training camp in Vero Beach with new trainer James “Buddy” McGirt, Irish heavyweight champion Kevin “The Clones Colossus” McBride is even more confident of beating Andrew Golota in their October 6 crossroads fight at Madison Square Garden.
“The big difference so far is Buddy is helping to increase my speed,” McBride reported. “He pushes me and keeps me on my toes. If my hands drop, Buddy’s on me to get them up. Even when he’s sitting in his office, he somehow knows exactly what I’m doing at all times in the gym. He believes in me. Buddy told me I have great power and I that I need to utilize it the right way. It’s hot down here but I love it. He’s getting the best out of me and people are going to see the real Kevin McBride –‘The Clones Colossus’ – on October 6th.
“I’m going to put an end to Andrew Golota’s career just like I did to Mike Tyson. I won’t pick which round, but I’m going to knock out Golota. There’s going to be two big giants in the Madison Square Garden ring. Kevin Martin McBride is going to be like James J. Braddock in ‘Cinderella Man.’ What’s past, is past and my new manager, Jerry ‘The Mighty’ Quinn, put together a great new team for me. I’m 34 now and in my prime. One punch can change the chapter and it’s going to be my punch not Golota’s.”
McGirt, the former world champion and Trainer of the Year, feels that McBride’s best days are ahead of him, starting Oct. 6 against Golota.
“Kevin’s really underrated,” Buddy explained. “He’s more special than he’s shown and a very hard worker. McBride’s a strong SOB and I really like his work ethic. To beat Golota he has to keep his balance and not throw one punch at a time.”
McBride (34-5-1, 29 KOs), born in Clones and fighting out of Boston, is continuing his nearly lifelong journey to become the first Ireland-born heavyweight champion of the world.
“I’m hungry for glory to fulfill my dream of becoming the first Irish-born heavyweight champ of the world,” the 6’ 6” McBride added. “Golota’s in my way of achieving my dream. I’m in better shape – mentally, physically and spiritually – than I’ve ever been for a fight in my life, even better than for the Tyson fight. It’s because of my new team. I have all of the natural ability to become world champion. Now, I’m also a mean, lean fighting machine. I want all of my Irish fans to be there to watch the legacy of Kevin McBride with ‘The Mighty’ Quinn and Buddy McGirt in my corner.”