Interview with Golota trainer Sam Colonna
08.10.07 - By Scoop Malinowski - "I know he can do better." -- Well-respected American trainer Sam Colonna comprehensively explains his man Andrew Golota's IBF North American Heavyweight title-winning victory against Kevin McBride in New York City on Saturday night.
Question: Tough start in the first round, Andrew started off a little stiff and slow and got hit with a few heavy hits. Were you worried about it?
Sam Colonna: "Yeah, I was very worried in the first round because Andrew was getting hit with some big shots. He was right in front of him, like, the gameplan was out the window. And our gameplan was to move, stay away from the guy, jab him, move, don't stand in front of him. And Andrew went out there trying to slug with him. And he got caught with some big shots. When he came back to the corner, thank God we weathered the storm, he came back to the corner, I yelled at him. And he went back to our gameplan, he started moving, started jabbing, stepping to the right and every time he stepped over to the right he caught him with that right hand. And the body shots were tremendous body shots he threw at him."
Question: How was Andrew in the dressing room before the fight? Was he properly warmed up?
Sam Colonna: "Well, I wanted him to warm up a little more than we did. But we were supposed to go out at 10 after eight but they moved it to eight. So it gave us ten minutes less than we wanted to. But he was warmed up enough where he was comfortable with it."
Question: Overall, were you pleased with the performance?
Sam Colonna: "Somewhat. I know he can do better. I wanted him to stay off the ropes, that fifth round he scared me again. He said he wasn't hurtin' him, that's what he's sayin'. But I saw the shots going at him. I felt some of those shots because McBride's a big puncher. And he felt comfortable on the ropes but I didn't want him on the ropes, I wanted him to stay in the middle of the ring and box him. Every time he moved me made McBride look bad. He countered, he jabbed at him, he did whatever he wanted to do. Why fight his fight? When he was moving he was doing much better."
Question: What can Andrew do better, do you believe? How can he improve off this fight into the next?
Sam Colonna: "I believe he can move better. He can jab more. And we gotta start working on little, shorter punches."
Question: But overall, what grade would you give him?
Sam Colonna: "I would give him C+. Really, I would. That's all I'm gonna give him. He can do better."
Question: And how does Andrew feel about his performance?
Sam Colonna: "Well, he feels that he could have did better himself, too."
Question: It did seem that he wasn't really happy at the stoppage in the sixth. He didn't raise his arms, like, after an important, career-saving triumph you might expect.
Sam Colonna: "Well, I told you. He doesn't know how to accept victory. Didn't I tell you that earlier? I told you that earlier, he doesn't know how to cope with victory."
Question: What about his conditioning? And how was his condition after the bit of drama of round five?
Sam Colonna: "He wasn't even breathing hard. When he came to the corner I grabbed him, and I looked him in the eye, What did I just say? And he repeated almost word for word what I said. It means he was paying attention and wasn't tired. The tired fighter - he's not hearing what you're saying."
Question: He said the same thing after the Ruiz fight - I cannot believe it, I am not tired. Why am I not tired? Maybe I should have done more. How do you want to say to him to just give it more? He could go 15 rounds it seems.
Sam Colonna: "It's the condition he's in. This guy is a specimen, I mean, the guy rides his bike for three, four hours at a time. In Colorado, in the mountains. He comes down here, jumps rope, hits the bag, shadowboxes, hits the pads - he's not even breathing hard. And all week. People thought we were in the hotel. But we were up there training, you know we were. We weren't sitting around, just doing nothing. We ran in the gym, then at night we went to the gym in Jersey City and trained. We weren't just sitting around eating. McBride - I don't think he did what we did."
Question: By the third round McBride began to look tired. He had a ton of heart and courage though, would you agree?
Sam Colonna: "Oh. I'll tell you something. He's got a BIG heart. And he came to fight. If the referee wouldn't have stopped it, he wouldn't have quit."
Question: Andrew was getting better and better as the fight progressed, do you agree?
Sam Colonna: "What Andrew did, and I was shocked, I don't know if anybody caught it - in the round when the referee stopped it, I don't know if anybody caught it, he switched southpaw. That's what hurt (McBride)! He caught him with the (straight) left hand, he caught him. The power shot (that knocked the 288-pound McBride into the ropes with force). He switched on him. Look at this mother******, he switched on him! And he caught him. And that's what started everything (stoppage came moments later)."
Question: Who would you like to see him fight next?
Sam Colonna: "There's so many heavyweights out there that I like to see the winner of this fight (Peter) and speculate on this. I really don't have anybody picked for him right now. We'll see what happens."
Postscript: Andrew watched Peter-McCline from the ringside press section and then left the arena before the decision was announced (he thought it could have been a draw). The new IBF North American champ was swarmed by many Polish fans as he and his team walked back to the Affinia Hotel, taking about a dozen photos for all of the electrified and inspired supporters, both male and female, who literally ran down the street after him. A late night celebration dinner at a local restaurant on Seventh Avenue consisted of chicken wings, quesadillas, calamari, beer and wine. Andrew's wife Mariola and Sam both said it was their happiest nights of Andrew's 15-year career.
Article posted on 08.10.2007
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