Boxing


Tomasz Adamek still has a lot of potentially good possibilities at cruiserweight

by Geoffrey Ciani - Most boxing observers were not too surprised when Vitali Klitschko dominated every second of every round in his recent title defense against Tomasz Adamek. Ever since Adamek first decided to make the jump to heavyweight, he was widely perceived as being physically too small to have any real chance to compete against the elite big guys. The Klitschko mismatch proved this beyond any shadow of a doubt. Adamek is a blown-up cruiserweight, nothing more. Despite his size disadvantage, Adamek was nevertheless talented and skillful enough to string together some decent wins against much larger foes, which is a strong testament to his abilities.

There has been no official word on where Adamek goes from here, but the smart move for him would be a return to cruiserweight. For starters, Adamek has the ability to dominate that division and add to his legacy. More importantly, however, the most entertaining fights of Adamek’s career happened south of heavyweight. His battles with Paul Briggs at 175 and his back-and-forth cruiserweight thriller against Steve Cunningham are the type of fights that have had the greatest appeal to fans. As a heavyweight, his most exciting victory was probably against Chris Arreola but aside from that, he became more of a tactical boxer than a crowd-pleaser out of sheer necessity. This generally led to duller fights. In order to compete with these big men, Adamek had to utilize his speed, reflexes, and timing. He had to learn to box more rather than brawl and trade, which was more his nature. If he can combine his newly refined boxing skills with his former more aggressive style, he may wind up proving to be an even better cruiserweight now than previously.

There are no realistic opportunities for him to win a legitimate heavyweight world title (which excludes Alexander Povetkin’s “regular” WBA title), but at cruiserweight there are an abundance of opportunities. Logically, the first name that jumps to mind is the reigning IBF champion Steve “USS” Cunningham. There was a lot of demand for an Adamek-Cunningham rematch after their close encounter in December 2008 when Adamek beat Cunningham to become IBF champion. It was a split decision win for Adamek in a fight where Cunningham clearly won more rounds, but three knockdowns scored by Adamek ultimately became the difference. Not only is this a rematch that will still have great fan appeal, it is also the type of fight that can help the division build on the momentum created by Antonio Tarver’s recent upset victory against Danny Green.

That brings us to some of the other potential fights which could become options for Adamek should he return to the weight class which affords him the best chance of success. Tarver, of course, is a great option. A fight between Adamek and Tarver is one that would instantly generate a lot of interest amongst boxing fans and could potentially be a great fight. James Toney is rumored to be making a return to cruiserweight and it seems likely that he will be facing Denis Lebedev. That makes two more potential foes. While a rematch with Cunningham makes the most sense, he must first defend against Yoan Pablo Hernandez who could become another possibility. Fellow Pole Krzysztof Wlodarczyk defends his WBC cruiserweight title against Danny Green in late November, which adds two more names to the mix. Then you have WBO champion Marco Huck defending against Rogelio Rossi on October 22. Depending on how things play out all of these guys could become potential foes for Adamek, and there is also always the possibility that he could even land fights against guys like Bernard Hopkins or David Haye.

Adamek might perhaps stand to make more money if he remains at heavyweight, but even that is debatable. What is not up for debate, however, is the fact that Adamek’s best chances for success are at cruiserweight and there are a lot of good fights for him to be made there. Adamek moved to heavyweight, made some money, gave it his best shot, and fell short. There is no shame in that. It is time to move on, however. He is still young enough and talented enough that he can have great success as a cruiserweight. His heavyweight journey will not be wasted. In fact, it should prove to be an invaluable learning experience. It should be beneficial for a return to cruiserweight because now he fights much more intelligently and is capable of boxing with much more variety.

The decision for Team Adamek should be a simple one. If they want to see him get relegated to gatekeeper status while absorbing greater punishment for the rest of his fighting days, they will continue pursuing the ultimately hopeless journey at heavyweight. If they want to see him have his best chance for success, however, while providing fans with the type of crowd-pleasing fights they most enjoy then he will move south.

The cruiserweight landscape is simply far more favorable for him.

***

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Article posted on 19.09.2011



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