Brock vs. Chambers: The IBF Tournament Continues

29.10.07 - By Paul McCreath: This coming Saturday in Tacoma Washington the second half of the International Boxing Federation heavyweight tournament semi-finals takes place between contenders Calvin Brock and Fast Eddie Chambers. This is an intriguing match between on the one hand in Brock the fighter who was America's main hope not long ago and on the other the man many now see as the best prospect coming out of USA..

The first half of this round was won last weekend by Alexander Povetkin who stopped the veteran ex-belt holder Chris Byrd in the 11th round. Alex will meet the winner of Saturday's bout with that winner getting the dubious honor of meeting Wladimir Klitschko for the International Boxing Federation title later next year.

This is not a fight that is likely to excite the masses who prefer the blood and guts type of action. It is more likely to be a tactical bout enjoyed most by those fans who are serious students of the game. Neither fighter has a glass jaw nor are they all out sluggers likely to ignore defense in favor of a "man the torpedoes" type of attack.

Brock was a very accomplished amateur who won the 1998 Golden Gloves title at heavyweight then moved on to take the National Championship at super heavyweight the next year.In 2000 he represented America in the Sydney Olympics but was a disappointment, being stopped in the 4th round by Paolo Vidoz in a preliminary match.

Brock then turned pro the following February and ran off a string of 20 strait wins, 18 by KO. He could clearly punch but the opposition was soft as it usually is with young prospects.In May of '04 he finally had his first serious test when he outpointed rugged Terry Smith over 10 rounds. In January of '05, he added another big name when he stopped former fringe contender Cliff Etienne in 3 rounds. He followed that up in April of that year with his biggest win to date, an impressive 10 round decision over top contender Jameel McCline. Jameel had just dropped a close decision to Chris Byrd in an IBF title bout. Calvin was now 25-0 and the future looked very bright.

Unfortunately the McCline bout may have given fans a false impression of Brock's status because we would soon learn that Jameel was in a period of decline. 6 months later he would lose to lower level trial horse Zuri Lawrence. Brock on the other hand never looked that good again. He went on to challenge Wladimir Klitschko for his IBF title and after 6 close rounds he was blown away in the 7th. Many felt that Brock looked like he didn't really want to be there.

I have always felt that while Calvin is a talented fighter with both power and technical skills, there is something missing. He seems to lack that killer instinct that would allow him to come from behind and put away a top opponent. He has looked unimpressive in his two bouts since the Klitschko fight, both wins but over soft opposition.Has he lost some confidence? He is 31 years-old and his record now stands at 31-1 with 23 KOs.

In the other corner will be Fast Eddie Chambers. Eddie lacks the extensive amateur pedigree of Calvin, so he has been brought along more slowly although he actually turned pro a couple of months before Calvin.He is now 29 and has a 29-0 record with 16 KOs. He first gained attention when he outpointed tough old pro Ross Puritty on TV in May of '05. His best wins since were over Robert Hawkins in Sept. the same year by 12 round decision, a 7 round stoppage over unbeaten prospect Derric Rossy this past February and then his latest and best win,a 10 rounder over Dominick Guinn last May. He has come a long way but can he extend this success against top contenders? That remains to be seen.

Eddie has often been compared to a young Chris Byrd.Both are short as heavies go with rather rounded middles that suggest they should lose a few pounds and fight as cruisers. Both have fast hands and are quite mobile with sound defenses. Eddie is a little bigger and may hit a bit harder than Chris. I have always felt that Eddie's style sometimes resembles that of James Toney. He will occasionally stand with his back to the ropes and let his opponent belt away while he slips most of the punches and escapes with little harm done. He is not easy to hit,much like Toney.

Predicting the winner of this one is tough. I expect a close tactical battle, interesting rather than exciting, with Chambers getting the decision by a margin of 2 or 3 points. A knockout is unlikely either way. It is a good match, one that we could use a lot more of instead of the mismatches we sometimes get. The bout can be seen on Showtime.

Article posted on 29.10.2007

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