Unfortunately, his DQs in the Bowe fights only hinted at his ring unpredictability. He'd butted one boxer, and in the heat of battle he bit another (on the shoulder, well before Tyson was measuring Holyfield's ears for dinner). It was much easier to market Golota's instability than his talent, and press conferences hyping the fight invariably resorted to the presentation of sonic protective cup or other outlandish defensive gear. At one of last week's media events promoters even trotted out a knight in armor, supposedly the only foe comfortable jousting with a man like Golota. There was much talk of Golota's need for counseling and a lot of photo shoots of his special heavy bag, with shorts painted on it so that he could practice hitting above the belt.
Poor Golota, who had to suffer through explanations of his past behavior at every stop, still couldn't guarantee he'd never repeat it. "I am not a robot," he said, and some were guaranteeing he would foul again. Steward was certain that, in a tough spot, Golota would come unhinged. "I don't think he has the heart," Steward said.
It turned out he didn't have the nerves. Golota said after the fight that the "pressure, too much pressure," made him "too nervous." He certainly seemed tentative coming out of his corner—"He froze," said Lou Duva, his trainer—and was unprepared for the bombs-away approach of Lewis.
Lewis forced his foe into a neutral corner and in a series of eight punches, beginning with a tremendous overhand right, drove Golota to the canvas. Golota sprang back up, grimacing as if fighting for air, and immediately lurched across the ring toward Lewis until the referee stopped him and gave him a very generous eight count. Then Lewis maneuvered Golota into another corner and pounded him down to the canvas again, with Golota going into a crouch and then crumpling to the floor.
As it turned out, it wasn't the last time Golota would go down, even though the fight was stopped after the second knockdown. According to his personal physician, Scott Katzman, Golota was sitting in his dressing room afterward when he suddenly got up to tell a joke. "I guess I better find a new line of work," he said. Then he collapsed and had what Katzman diagnosed as seizures. Paramedics were called, and Golota was rushed on a stretcher to the Atlantic City Medical Center, from where he was released Sunday in stable condition.
Lewis, meanwhile, was in much better condition, having gained some respect against a feared opponent and having secured a brighter future for himself—and for boxing—than even he could have predicted. Maybe the heavyweight division hasn't gone nuts after all.