Daily News, New York - March 17, 2004
NEW YORK - Andrew Golota was ranked No. 15 in the IBF heavyweight ratings Monday, clearing the way for the April 17 match between him and IBF champ
Chris Byrd at the Garden to be sanctioned by the organization.
Shortly after promoter Don King announced that he was putting Byrd in with Golota at the Garden, the bout drew criticism because Golota was deemed
unworthy of a title shot.
"You can't take a guy who humiliates himself (quitting against Mike Tyson), doesn't fight for three years, then fights two low-level guys and then
legitimately put him in the top 15," said Patrick English, the lawyer for Main Events Promotions. "There's no way to stretch it."
Miriam Muhammad, IBF president, said she doesn't understand the controversy. She said Golota met the criteria to be ranked and Byrd was given the
sanction because he is in an optional period of title defense. That means he is able to meet anyone ranked in the top 15.
It is difficult to argue for or against the legitimacy of the sanctioning organizations' rankings, especially when the champion from one is not even
ranked in the others. Did Tyson do anything to deserve to be ranked high enough to merit a title shot against Lennox Lewis in 2002? Has he done
anything since to warrant being currently ranked No. 7 by the WBC and No. 9 by the WBA?
I'm not arguing that Golota, one of the flakiest and dirtiest boxers ever, deserves to be ranked or have a shot at a world title over any other
contender. But a quick check of the IBF rankings contains only two names that anyone would care to see Byrd matched against - Juan Carlos Gomez, the
former cruiserweight champ, and Dominick Guinn, the best young heavyweight in the game.
Jameel McCline turned down the bout with Byrd because it didn't pay enough. (Golota is making $150,000.)
The Garden was going to rent the building to King until he tossed Golota's name into the mix and then it came up with $1 million. King did what any
other promoter would do. He put a ticket seller on the card and then pressed for a ranking with the sanctioning organization to make it a title
As much as Golota doesn't deserve the opportunity that he has been given, Byrd deserves to be able to earn some money and defend his title. The real
tragedy is Byrd has to meet a lunatic like Golota for short money.
DOLLARS, NO SENSE: Trainer Emanuel Steward said he is not going to train Evander Holyfield in his dubious quest to become undisputed heavyweight champ
again. Steward said if Holyfield had said it was one fight, he may have considered it. Steward is training the Klitschko brothers, who both have title
matches in April.
Holyfield shouldn't be boxing anymore. Shame on the latest group of businessmen that is trying to make a few dimes off Holyfield's delusions of
grandeur. It should be trying to help him invest the money he has left so he can have a nice retirement rather than putting him a ring so he can get
his brains bashed in.
ORDINARY JOE: Watching Joe Mesi pull himself off the canvas three times in the last two rounds against Vassiliy Jirov on Saturday night makes me
believe HBO hitched its wagon to the wrong young heavyweight. Unless Guinn gets knocked stiff by Monte Barrett on March 27, I will continue to believe
that. P.S. to Jirov: Ain't gonna be no rematch. Mesi is now officially a matchmaker's nightmare. And not in a good way.
NAME RECOGNITION: Recommending ShoBox on Thursday night on Showtime only because of the nicknames of the two boxers in the main event. Rico (Suave)
Hoye will meet Donnell (Cadillac) Wiggins in a 12-round light-heavyweight match. . . . Bronx featherweight Emanuel Lucero will take on Pasqual Rouse
at the Olympic Theater in the Bronx on Friday night. Lucero is coming off a knockout loss to Manny Pacquiao. For tickets call Sal Mucumeci's Final
Forum at (516) 342-0053.