Boxing


Why Tomasz Adamek has some reason for hope against Vitali Klitschko

by Geoffrey Ciani - When Vitali Klitschko came out of retirement after almost four years of inactivity to challenge WBC champion Sam Peter for the belt he once held, many wondered if the elder Klitschko brother would even survive training camp let alone a fight against “The Nigerian Nightmare”. After all, Vitali had to call off scheduled fights with Hasim Rahman on three separate occasions due to injury setbacks suffered during training. Klitschko did the honorable thing and retired to not hold up the progress of the division, but it seemed the old warrior had seen his best days come and go. His body simply became too fragile. He even had to call off an attempted comeback nearly one year prior to the Peter fight when a back injury suffered during yet another training camp prevented a fight with Jameel McCline from going forward. The fact that his only two career losses happened when his body failed him in fights he was winning with Chris Byrd and Lennox Lewis only amplified the perception that he was injury-prone.

Of course, Vitali went on to stop Sam Peter in one-sided fashion and has since successfully defended his title in equally one-sided fashion six times. Now he goes for defense number seven against former cruiserweight and light heavyweight champion Tomasz Adamek in his home country of Poland in a matchup many fans view as a total mismatch. Adamek, after all, is not a natural heavyweight. He is a skilled fighter who has shown tremendous heart and warrior spirit in his career, but he is grossly undersized for the weight class. Nevertheless, Adamek has strung together a series of victories against much larger foes. After successfully testing the heavyweight waters in October 2009 against fellow Pole Andrew Golota, Adamek has since won five in a row, marking him as one of the most active fighters in the division.

While Adamek was known for having good power at cruiserweight, he does not carry much pop at heavyweight. Instead, Adamek has redefined his game by becoming a more fluid boxer who relies on speed, reflexes, movement, and conditioning to defeat bigger opponents. It has been a relatively smooth transition for Adamek who started his heavyweight campaign with head trainer Andrew Gmitruk, but has scored his last four wins under the guidance of American trainer Roger Bloodworth who has worked on Adamek’s movement, timing, and general ring technique. This has enabled Adamek to be successful against big, tall heavyweights like Michael Grant and Kevin McBride and his biggest heavyweight win to date came against the hard-punching Chris Arreola. Unfortunately for Adamek, these fighters are not good preparation for an athletic big guy like Klitschko.

Vitali’s impressive streak of dominance since his return makes him the rightful favorite. The fact that Vitali is naturally much bigger makes it difficult for observers to envision a scenario whereby Adamek can outbox Klitschko, and the fact that he has just two stoppage victories in six fights at heavyweight—one against a well past it Andrew Golota and the other against unheralded Vinny Maddalone—makes it virtually impossible to imagine Adamek stopping, or even hurting the champion. Therefore, there are not many scenarios out there which seem favorable for the Polish warrior. One way or another, it seems inevitable that Vitali will ultimately win this fight in his usual style as he systematically breaks Adamek down both mentally and physically before either stopping him late or winning a lopsided points victory.

Realistically, the only chance for Adamek in this one is if Vitali’s body once again fails him. The good news for Adamek is if he can survive and hang in there, and make Vitali chase him and miss him, there is a chance this can happen. After all Vitali is 40 years old and even though he has remained perfectly healthy since his ring return in October 2008, his track record of injuries gives Adamek some reason for hope. While Adamek has virtually no chance outside of a Klitschko injury, it should be noted that he will likely be fighting with more heart and determination than any recent Klitschko foe, and that he will be energized by his loyal fan base in Poland. It should also be noted that Vitali’s recent wins were against relatively stationary targets making Adamek the first real mover he will have faced since his return. That combination places Klitschko in a position he is not accustomed to and can actually turn this into an interesting fight, especially for fans that enjoy tactical and methodical approaches to the art of the sweet science. So even though Adamek’s chances are remarkably slim, he may have his moments and this can potentially turn into one of the more entertaining heavyweight title fights in recent years.

OFFICIAL PREDICTION: Vitali Klitschko beats Tomasz Adamek by unanimous decision

***

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Article posted on 07.09.2011



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