Dorchester's Kevin McBride, the man who ended Mike Tyson's competitive career, tries to resurrect his own championship hopes on Saturday night in New York City, in a heavyweight contest against former top-ranked contender Andrew Golota. The fight is set to take place on the undercard of the Samuel Peter-Jameel McCline WBC title bout at Madison Square Garden, which will be broadcast on Showtime.
Though the IBF's North American title belt is on the line, the stakes are much higher than that for McBride, 34, and the Polish-born Golota, 39. Both are on the comeback trail, and a loss will squash whatever hopes they harbor of competing for a major title.
After the Tyson fight in 2005, McBride's former management was unable to get him a title shot, and in his second fight against middling opposition, he was knocked out. McBride's journey in boxing seemed to have come to an end, after taking him from a small gym in his hometown of Clones, County Monaghan, to an appearance as the youngest Olympic super-heavyweight ever at the 1992 Games in Barcelona, through a professional apprenticeship in Britain and Germany, and to Boston in 1999, where he built up a local following in the series of victories that led to the Tyson fight.
But longtime supporter and Boston bar owner Jerry Quinn stepped in, offering McBride a chance to train as a full-time professional for the first time, after years of taking construction jobs to make ends meet. McBride spent much of this year in intense physical training, and September in Vero Beach, Florida, honing his speed and technique under renowned trainer Buddy McGirt.
Quinn and McBride are hoping that the fans who have supported McBride will come out again Saturday night. The potential to bring his own fan base to the show was one of the main reasons King agreed to put McBride on the card, Quinn has said. McBride said this week he still aims to fulfill his dream of become the first Irish-born heavyweight champion of the world.