Walk-off part in sad soap opera

Golota's hasty departure and Tyson's enigmatic exit line leave the once noble art in turmoil

Andrew Golota walked out of his fight against Mike Tyson here. But the real question is different: is a resurgent, impeccably behaved Tyson, after his most impressive performance in years, about to walk out of boxing?

Andrew Golota walked out of his fight against Mike Tyson here. But the real question is different: is a resurgent, impeccably behaved Tyson, after his most impressive performance in years, about to walk out of boxing?

Tyson's 49th career win was another mess a tarnished sport can ill afford, its circumstances leaving the 16,000 present at the Palace arena, who had paid between $75 and $1,000, outraged at Golota's refusal to answer the bell for the third round. For once however, boxing's most infamous son was absolutely not responsible for controversy.

Beforehand, Dr Ferdie Pach-eco, who counselled Muhammad Ali and is now one of boxing's elder statesmen, had predicted that Tyson-Golota would be "a psychodrama." And so it was; only not the jungle brawl expected from two of the wildest and most mixed-up individuals in the business, but an astonishing collapse by Golota - not of his body, but in his mind.

Perhaps the presence of Ali himself played a part, perhaps it was Detroit's reputation as one of America's great boxing towns; but from the moment he stepped into the ring, Tyson he was plainly in control of himself, and the fight.

From the start he came at Golota in that familiar crouching, swarming style. The Pole, four inches taller and 20lb heavier, tried to jab him off, but Tyson surged forward, landing a stinging left hook. Then with eight seconds left in round one, a thunderous right hook deposited Golota on the canvas. He was back on his feet when the bell intervened, but shaken and cut by his right eye.

In the second round he changed tactics, seeking to tie up his opponent, taking some solid blows but landing a few of his own. Just for a moment it seemed as if that rarity, a Tyson fight memorable for the right reasons, was in the making. But if Tyson had conquered his demons, Golota had not.

Just as in last November's match with Michael Grant, when he was actually ahead, Golota quit. Barely coherent, he accused Tyson of head-butting, though there was scant evidence of it. "Something was wrong with me tonight," he said. "Boxing is a very difficult sport. I am sorry to all my fans who counted on me, but it wasn't my day." Golota is also now considering his future - although an understandable future reluctance by fans to invest honest dollars may make the decision superfluous.

Afterwards Al Certo, Golota's salty trainer, could not hide his disappointment and disgust: "I'm not here to defend my fighter. Some guys have the guts, some guys don't. The older they get, the more gunshy some of them get.They ask themselves, 'what the hell am I doing in this business?'

"Andrew really trained hard for this. But after the first round he said, 'stop the fight.' When he refused to come out for the third, I tried to shove his mouthpiece back in his mouth, I told him everything under the sun, that he had to go back out there. Before the fight, I predicted one guy would finish with his pants on, the other with a skirt. Well, I wound up with the guy with the skirt."

In disbelief that quickly gave way to fury, the crowd watched as Golota forced aside his cornermen and went to a neutral corner. To a crescendo of booing he then strode out of the arena under a cascade of beer cans. It was fully five minutes before the bedlam subsided and the result, a technical knock-out at the start of the third round, was announced.

Tyson himself refused to say anything after a display in which he also followed the referee's every instruction scrupulously. "Tonight Mr Tyson fought like a gentleman," said Flip Homansky of the Nevada State Boxing Commission, which banned Tyson for 18 months after the ear-biting fiasco and whose blessing will be required if Tyson is to enjoy more lucrative Las Vegas paydays.

But that question too may be moot. Yesterday his camp insisted that the threats to retire earlier in the week, assumed at the time to be merely an attempt to boost sluggish ticket sales, were serious. "What Mike needs is to get away and re-assess," his advisor Shelly Finkel. "Obviously, the way this fight ended leaves him unfulfilled. But he's been pretty emphatic about quitting. If he doesn't want to fight again, I wish him well. If he does, the world is his." Which is perhaps another way of saying: Lennox Lewis or bust.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Sales, London

£70 - 95K OTE £125K. Plus Car,Private Healthcare and Pension: Charter Selectio...

Head of Sales, Milton Keynes

£70 - 90K OTE £125K. Plus Car,Private Healthcare and Pension: Charter Selectio...

Head of Sales, Bristol

£70 - 90K OTE £125K. Plus Car,Private Healthcare and Pension: Charter Selectio...

Head of Sales, Birmingham

£70 - 90K OTE £125K. Plus Car,Private Healthcare and Pension: Charter Selectio...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game