Is Tomasz Adamek ready for another shot at the World Heavyweight Championship?June 20, 2012
Former two-division world champion Tomasz Adamek has proven that he is a force to be reckoned with in the Heavyweight division. After conquering the Light-Heavyweight and Cruiserweight divisions, Adamek set his sights on the Heavyweight division in 2009. Adamek compiled six victories as a Heavyweight to find himself in position to challenge WBC Heavyweight world champion Vitali Klitschko in September of last year.
Despite giving a valiant effort Adamek was stopped by Klitschko in ten rounds before a pro Adamek crowd in his native Poland. Following the loss to Klitschko, some questioned whether or not it would be in Adamek’s best interest to perhaps move back down in weight to the Cruiserweight division after being dominated by a man who was six inches taller and outweighed him by twenty-seven pounds.
This observer commented after the fight that Adamek could remain in the Heavyweight division and still do quite well. One must remember that since moving up in weight to Heavyweight Adamek has fought and beaten fighters who are bigger and who have outweighed him. The loss to Klitschko should be looked at as a case of a world class fighter being bested on one night by a truly dominant Heavyweight champion. After all, the Heavyweight championship of the world has been ruled with two iron fists by the two-headed Heavyweight monster known as the Klitschko Brothers for much of the last decade. It has proven to be an extremely difficult task for many fighters throughout the division to succeed against either Vitali or Wladimir Klitschko. It has truly been a dominant and perhaps frustrating era of Heavyweight Boxing ruled by two great fighters. A loss to either Klitschko is certainly no shame or disgrace.
Since the loss to Vitali Klitschko Adamek has shown that he is still a top Heavyweight contender. Adamek returned to the ring in March of this year with a dominant ten round unanimous decision over fringe contender Nagy Aguilera. Adamek proved to be too quick for Aguilera with combinations to the head and body that backed Aguilera up throughout the contest. Aguilera was however able to test Adamek by periodically landing flush power punches. It was a solid win for Adamek which certainly served as a confidence builder but it was definitely not an easy night at the office.
Adamek’s next fight on the comeback trail came last weekend against fellow top Heavyweight contender and former world title challenger Eddie Chambers in Newark, New Jersey. From a stylistic standpoint this seemed to be a difficult fight for Adamek who has been able to beat most of his Heavyweight opponents to the punch with quick combinations and lateral movement. Chambers is an elusive fighter who uses angles and timing to evade his opponents and execute his offense. Going into the fight the question I had in my mind was what effect would Chambers’ boxing style have on Adamek’s offensive rhythm.
When the fight got underway Chambers’ movement seemed to give Adamek trouble finding him from the outset. Despite working behind his jab, Adamek had trouble landing anything significant in the early going. Along with his lateral movement, Chambers was able to find a home for his right hand on Adamek’s face. It seemed that Chambers could not miss Adamek with the right hand. Chambers also sustained a muscle injury to his left arm early in the fight which seemed to make him alter his style slightly throughout the contest. Chambers often switched between his orthodox stance and a southpaw stance throughout the fight and used his right hand as his primary offensive weapon. Despite fighting essentially with one arm Chambers was very accurate whenever he did throw and was solid defensively.
Adamek however was the more busy of the two fighters and was able to make up ground when Chambers would go into a high guard defensive shell where he was unable to counter effectively. It was an extremely tactical fight in which the scoring was likely to differ among fans and experts alike. There were really no moments where one fighter was able to really stun or hurt the other. In fights like this as I have said many times over the years it often boils down to what a judge prefers and looks for in their criteria of how they score a fight. Clean, accurate punching or, effective aggression and overall activity.
Although by the end of the twelve round bout Adamek had gradually outworked Chambers, I thought that Chambers had won the fight seven rounds to five for a 115-113 score. It was not out of the question however that Adamek based on aggressiveness and activity had done enough to win the fight. For my part, my score was based on clean accurate punching and the defensive elusiveness of Chambers. It was clear that Adamek’s normal offensive flow was not as consistent as it has been in other fights and despite being more active, Chambers was able to make him miss often. In the end two judges, Joe Pasquale and Steve Weisfeld gave the fight to Adamek by scores of 116-112 while the third judge Alan Rubenstein scored the fight in Adamek’s favor 119-109.
The scorecard of Judge Alan Rubenstein, not withstanding, I think it is consensus that this was an extremely close and competitive fight especially when you take into account that Chambers fought the majority of the fight with one arm. As the scoring of professional Boxing has been the subject of great debate recently I can only assume that the scorecard of judge Rubenstein was based on effective aggression. In the opinion of this observer however, although I had Chambers winning by a narrow margin and can easily see how some feel Adamek did enough to win; I simply cannot see a scorecard of 119-109 rendered in this kind of fight. Simply the way this fight was fought does not adequately match up with a scorecard of that type in the eyes of this observer.
With the win, Adamek took possession of the International Boxing Federation (IBF) North American Heavyweight title which more or less positions him higher up in the IBF’s Heavyweight ratings. The IBF Heavyweight world championship is currently unified and held by Unified IBF/WBO/WBA Heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko.
Klitschko is scheduled to defend his title in a rematch with top contender Tony Thompson on July 7th in Switzerland. Is Tomasz Adamek the next in line for the winner of that fight?
Given Adamek’s exciting boxing style and drawing power I think it is safe to assume that he may be on a short list of potential opponents. Should Adamek be next in line? Opinion could differ in answering that question. Some may argue that despite his victory over Eddie Chambers that Adamek may not have looked impressive in that fight. Some may believe as I did that Chambers did enough to win that fight. As far as whether he looked impressive in winning the fight, we should remember that styles make fights and Eddie Chambers’ style is the type that is very difficult to box against and is probably the type of style that will always give a fighter like Adamek trouble. It goes without saying sometimes a win is a win regardless of whether a fighter manages to impress. Without the injury to Chambers’ left arm the outcome may have been different.
Eddie Chambers should be given a lot of credit for turning in the kind of performance that he did considering that he was injured. It is not unthinkable that Chambers could get a rematch after his injured left arm has healed. Speaking for myself I would like to see a rematch between the two at some point regardless if it comes right away or after Adamek challenges again for the Heavyweight title.
Is Adamek ready? Only time will tell…