Boxing


Tomasz Adamek dominates Kevin McBride but is he ready for Vitali Klitschko?

by Geoffrey Ciani at Ringside - Tomasz Adamek (44-1, 28 KOs) overcame his final hurdle before a title shot when he dominated Kevin McBride (35-9-1, 29 KOs) over twelve rounds for a unanimous decision victory. The official judges’ cards read 120-107, 119-108, and 119-108. The win means Adamek will challenge WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko (42-2, 39 KOs) this September somewhere in Poland. Whether or not McBride was good preparation for Adamek to face Klitschko is a matter for debate which remains to be seen.

At the opening bell McBride lumbered out slowly firing on all cylinders. He was looking to bring the fight to Adamek immediately as he attempted to grab the Polish fighter and wail away at him while semi-clinched in close quarters. Adamek squirmed out of harm’s way and created some breathing room. Once at safe range, Adamek began peppering McBride with quick combos. The vast difference in hand speed was nothing short of amazing, with Adamek looking like Speedy Gonzalez and McBride appearing more like a lethargic version of Slow Poke Rodriguez.

After outboxing McBride in the opening stanza things looked much the same in the second. Adamek was simply too quick for McBride who was already gasping for air. Adamek began mixing his shots up and was landing at will to both head and belly of his larger foe. Undeterred, McBride kept Adamek moving and continued ineffectively plodding after him. Rounds three through five followed the same pattern. Not only was Adamek doubling, tripling, and sometimes quadrupling up his jab, he was also making McBride miss and miss badly. It was almost like watching Keanu Reeves ducking bullets in The Matrix.



McBride landed a big shot early in round six which grabbed Adamek’s attention, but his success seemed short lived as Adamek reestablished his fighting range and began working his magic again from the outside. McBride did land some more shots near the end of the round making this the closest round of the fight. To start the seventh, Adamek looked almost annoyed. He was being flustered by McBride’s scrappy style and rough house tactics which actually resulted in a point deduction for excessive holding. McBride was still losing, but he was starting to make Adamek uncomfortable.



During much of the remainder of the fight, Adamek was on the move with McBride still following him around, only now McBride was getting closer and landing leather more frequently than he was earlier. McBride came out attacking in the final round. At times Adamek looked off-balance and was stumbling about awkwardly. Adamek was actually on his bike in the final round, but fortunately for him McBride was too slow and lumbering as he telegraphed shots which were wide and off the mark. Even though he was thoroughly outclassed, McBride had no quit in him. He was always looking for ways to land that one big shot to change the fight, but despite his best efforts he just lacked the speed and reflexes to compete.



Adamek did what he needed to do, but it is doubtful that a fight against McBride did anything to help prepare him for a Klitschko, in particular Vitali Klitschko. Aside from size, Klitschko and McBride have very little in common. In fact, even that “similarity” is different as McBride is bigger in a bulkier sort of way whereas Klitschko is taller and rangier. McBride was unable to inflict much damage from the outside because his strategy was to close the distance and to try and trap Adamek up against the ropes. Klitschko, on the other hand, prefers being on the outside where he can keep his opponents at the end of his long punches. So even the one obviously similarity of being big is really more of a difference, and in light of that, one has to wonder if Adamek is prepared for his September showdown. Then again, finding preparation for a Klitschko is no easy task in the current heavyweight landscape.



Adamek has a chance to beat Klitschko but it will not be easy. As it turns out, he is lucky in a way that he will be challenging Vitali rather Wladimir. For one thing, Vitali is the older brother whose body has already suffered some wear and tear. His only two career losses were the result of his body failing him. He is stiffer and more robotic than his younger brother, and he does not carry the same explosive pop on his punches. In addition, he is also a little bit slower so it is conceivable that Adamek can have some success darting in and out if he can land and use his foot work to get him out of harm’s way before Vitali returns fire. If he can do this, he may have a decent shot, but it will not be easy.



At the end of the day, Adamek has already accomplished a great deal more than most expected from him when he first decided to make the jump to heavyweight. He now holds victories over Andrew Golota, Jason Estrada, Chris Arreola, Michael Grant, Vinny Maddalone, and now Kevin McBride. The former light heavyweight and cruiserweight champion will now have a chance for a championship in a third weight class, but even if things end badly which seems likely, Adamek has made a good account of himself especially considering he is still really nothing more than a blown-up cruiserweight with good skills and the heart of a lion.

***

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Article posted on 10.04.2011



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