Grant Stops Golota In 10th
While Michael Grant is looking for a fight against undisputed heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, for much of his match against Andrew Golota, he was staring defeat in the face.
Grant, knocked down twice by Golota in the first round, pulled out a 10th-round victory Saturday night.
The 27-year-old Grant was controlling the action with his jab and right hands to the head in the first round, when with a little less than a minute remaining, Golota knocked him down with a chopping right hand to the jaw.
"When I got knocked down, I knew it would be a test of my faith," the 6-foot-7, 252-pound Grant said.
He managed to get up, and then survived a second knockdown in the round.
Nine rounds later, Grant, his left eye swollen shut, knocked down Golota and stopped him at 1:49 of the round. The stoppage gave Grant a 31-0 record with 22 knockouts.
The 6-4 Golota, a 31-year-old native of Poland living in Chicago, got up at 2. After referee Randy Neumann completed the mandatory eight count, he said four times to Golota "Do you want to fight?"
Golota said no twice, then shook his head and Neumann stopped the fight.
HBO boxing analyst Larry Merchant asked Grant if he found out if he was a real fighter in the rough-and-tumble match at the Trump Taj Mahal.
"I don't know," Grant said. "I just go out and fight."
As for fighting Lewis, who was at ringside, Grant said "I wanted to fight him six fights ago, but I'm not pressing anybody. When it's my time, I'll be ready."
After nine rounds, Golota was ahead 86-81 under the consensus scoring system used for the fight. Under that system if at least two judges score the round for a fighter, he gets the round. On the three individual cards, Golota led 87-80, 86-81 and 85-83.
The AP favored Golota 87-81.
When Grant went down for the first time in the first round, he got up quickly then reeled around the ring as Neumann gave him the mandatory eight count.
"I didn't see the punch coming," Grant said. "He caught me sleeping."
Grant went down again from a left-right at the bell. Because the bell can't save a fighter who has been knocked down, Neumann started the count but Grant got up at 4.
Grant seemed to get back into the fight in the fifth and sixth rounds, but then Golota took charge again in the seventh and eighth, and it looked like Grant, his left eye swollen shut, was headed for defeat.
Trainer Don Turner had one piece of advice for his fighter,
"You know what you've got to do, you've got to knock him out," Turner told Grant.
It was a rough, tough fight from the outset. Golota was cut over both eyes and Grant's face was lumpy.
In the third round, Grant was penalized a point for holding and hitting. Then in the fourth round, Golota was penalized for hitting on the break.
In the sixth round, Golota added a touch of comi relief to the proceedings, when after he hit Grant as Grant was stepping away on a break, he stepped in and hugged Neumann.
A victory for the 31-year-old Golota, probably wouldn't have earned him a shot at Lewis in the near future because he was stopped in the first round against Lewis, Nov. 4, 1997, when Lewis was only WBC champion.
In an undercard bout, Stephan Johnson was on a respirator and in critical condition after he was knocked out in the 10th round by USBA junior middleweight champion Paul Vaden.
Trainer Kenneth Woods said he spoke to a neurosurgeon at the Atlantic City Medical Center, who told him that there is some swelling on the left side of Johnson's brain and the boxer has not regained consciousness.
Woods said doctors want to insert a tube in Johnson's brain to relieve some of the pressure.
Johnson and Vaden were exchanging punches in the middle of the ring when Vaden landed a stiff jab and Johnson staggered backward. Vaden missed with a big right, but landed a left to the head and Johnson went down. The back of his head hit the lower strand of rope and the upper part of his body landed on the apron. Johnson was taken from the ring on a stretcher.
©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed
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