Jeff Powell

Last updated at 00:00 13 December 1996

WHEN they talk about beefing up security for the New Jersey rerun of the fight which ended in a New York riot, take them literally.

The extra police not only outnumber the boxers and their handlers but are bigger than the giant heavyweights who resume provocative battle here tomorrow night.

Since one of the protagonists is Andrew Golota that may be just as well for everyone, not only Riddick Bowe.

Golota may be Bowe's personal nightmare - at least for the day or so until they have resolved their bitter differences - but when this man gets angry nobody's safe.

When Golota went home to Poland for a visit this summer and was halted by border guards, he feared he was being arrested on a leftover charge of assault in a Warsaw bar. As it transpired, they wanted the autograph of their countryman who emigrated to Chicago en route to shaking up the established order of heavyweight boxing.

The consequences of that brawl, apparently one of many into which Golota was drawn by youths queueing to prove themselves against the toughest guy in town, have been smoothed over.

Like most Polish men, Golota is able to handle himself and his drink. Since he is bigger than most, at 6ft 4in and 15 stone, his street-fighting pedigree is said to be as impressive as his ring record.

The only fight he is known to have lost is that one in Madison Square Garden in July in which he was disqualified for a fourth low blow after giving Bowe a serious beating for six and a half rounds.

The rough injustice of that decision - no matter how correct technically - brought on a full-scale riot which ended with Golota bleeding from a blow to the head by a walkie-talkie and his veteran trainer Lou Duva in a cardiac unit.

It was like the old days. The bad old days.

It also resulted in punitive fines as well as Bowe and his extrovert promoter, Rock Newman, being suspended from boxing in New York for a year.

Hence this shift of scene to the Atlantic shore in grey midwinter as the two fighters strive for a more satisfactory conclusion, with the winner hoping to move on to the world championship stage occupied by Evander Holyfield.

Bowe insists he has heeded the lesson of being caught unprepared by Golota, has trained off those infamous extra pounds and is back to the fighting trim in which he once relieved Holyfield of sport's richest crown.

If not, Bowe's career will be in terminal decline and his long-awaited reunion with Britain's own Lennox Lewis lost for ever . . . while Golota, The Great White Pole, will induce a period of revisionism in contemporary prize-fighting.

The heavyweight championship has been the black man's throne for longer than most of us care to remember - Smokin' Joe Frazier is here as a legendary reminder of that - and even more millions than usual await the next genuine white contender.

Andresej Golota - to dignify him with his original un-Americanised Christian name - stands on the threshold of a fortune.

The casinos of Atlantic City are more than an ocean away from the day on which, as a 13-year-old, he pulled on his first pair of gloves and bloodied a friend's nose but didn't dare tell his mother when he got home to their worker's flat.

What does mamma think now, as her boy closes in on his first million? `She tells me that if I have to fight, then do it well,' he said.

Bowe, much as he professes confidence about this rematch, will testify as to how far Golota has come from under-privileged boyhood in Warsaw and is aware also that Golota will again put up a gruelling fight.

His performance against Bowe, for all that the occasion damaged boxing's image yet further, propelled him into the big time and the big money.

At 28, Golota suddenly finds himself a celebrity in Warsaw and the standard bearer for the large Polish community in Chicago, more than 2,000 of whom are expected at the Convention Centre here tomorrow evening.

That invasion is one more good reason for the heavy security presence, which includes a giant bodyguard for each of the principles wherever they go.

By way of further precaution, New Jersey State Athletic Commissioner Larry Hazard is limiting severely the number of ringside credentials issued to what Newman likes to call `Family Bowe' but which became a family at war that summer night in New York.

There is every chance that it will be another riot, albeit one confined this time to the two legal combatants, men who are bristling with mutual animosity.

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