Eddie Chambers: "Fast" Entering the conversation at heavyweight

By P.H. Burbridge: To the casual observer 6’ 1”, “Fast” Eddie Chambers (34-1, 18 KO’s) probably seems like another undersized American heavyweight who lacks power and conditioning. Another American with zero chance against the mighty Klitschko brothers and who probably isn’t worthy of discussion. Right? Well, if you’re one of those casual observers then stop reading this immediately and find another article that suits your negative outlook on the American heavyweight scene because this one’s not for you!

Eddie Chambers For the rest of you here’s my take. Eddie Chambers is the best pure boxer in the division! Last Friday night he boxed circles around one of the most feared punchers in recent memory former heavyweight titlist Samuel Peter. Yes, Peter came in weighing 265 lbs and yeah that’s not a good weight for him but the truth is Samuel could have come in at 235 lbs and it wouldn’t have made a difference. It’s the style of Chambers that guarantees him a win over Peter every time and at any weight. Eddie Chambers is now officially in the conversation at heavyweight and if he’s able to make some key changes in his training regimen then I think he has the talent to emerge as a serious threat for the title.

Adding Sam Peter’s name under the “w” column was a sign that Chambers is back on track after a year long rebuilding process that began after his lone defeat to Alexander Povetkin. Sometimes a loss improves a young fighter and I believe in Chambers case he has learned and progressed from that misstep. In the Povetkin fight Chambers was performing very well in the first few rounds and for some unknown reason just stopped fighting. He started sparring with Alexander and not firing his shots. More looking than throwing. The funny thing is that even though he did take his foot off the gas pedal he still did relatively well. He didn’t embarrass himself and at least showed flashes of what he’s capable of. Who really knows what was going on in his mind at the time. Maybe it was the event or maybe it was fighting in a foreign country. The only person who really knows is Eddie Chambers. Obviously, it would be foolish not to give Povetkin credit for manufacturing the environment that made Eddie so damn uncomfortable. Alexander came in ready and did his work. He’s not spectacular but he’s a steady and determined performer who deserved the win.

That loss changed Chambers but in my opinion it will end up doing him more good than bad long term.

Eddie Chambers first hit my radar back in 2007 when I witnessed his systematic dismantling of then undefeated and untested Derric Rossy. That night he took apart his bigger foe piece by piece. I was very impressed and thought to myself that this kid had a style that would be difficult for a lot of fighters to deal with. He has a James Toney old school quality about him. Tough to hit solid coupled with a bit of a swagger. I like that about him. He doesn’t use it in an arrogant way and it doesn’t follow him outside of the ring but it’s on full display inside of it. It says that he’s confident in his abilities and he dares you to aim for his chin so he can counter you to death. He doesn’t run. He boxes ala Ezzard Charles. What really impresses me is his ability to make opponent miss at close range. At times he’ll even counter in combination. Not just single shots coming back at you but combinations. I LIKE IT. It’s a lost art and refreshing in today’s heavyweight division. From a technical standpoint Chambers is terrific. He’s well schooled. I have to admit that his “make him miss and make him pay” approach appeals to the purist in me. Granted, when I say “make him pay” in the case of Chambers that doesn’t mean he’s knocking guys down with his counters or to be absolutely frank even messing up their hair. He’s a snappy puncher but probably not a serious threat to knock anyone out at the top level. No, if he wins it’s going to be by out boxing and out smarting his opponents. That’s okay too.

I do however think he can make adjustments in his training regimen that could yield greater punching power and it all starts with his weight. Sometimes smaller heavyweights have a tendency to keep extra lbs on so that they don’t feel out manned against bigger foes. It’s a confidence thing. You don’t want to feel like you can be easily pushed around and you want to have that extra weight behind you to push back if you need it. Sometimes fighters over compensate in that area and it crosses that fine line between the tactical and having a negative impact on their overall mobility. I believe this is the real situation with regard to Chambers weight. He’s definitely walking that fine line. He doesn’t look fatigued or out of shape in there and his stamina appears to be where it should be for a boxer expecting to go the distance. But, I think dropping those extra lbs will go a long way towards improving his foot speed. Eddie moves fine from the waist up. No problem there and he won’t have any problems avoiding shots from fighters like Sam Peter but it’s not going to work against the taller fighters who have a longer reach. He’s going to have to use his legs to get out of their range. If he doesn’t correct that situation ASAP then forget about winning he’s going to get hurt. He’ll be fighting guy’s who are much bigger than he is so I strongly suggest he replace that extra baggage with muscle mass around his neck, shoulders and arms. Since part of his defensive tactic is based on slipping and blocking shots with his arms this should be an obvious conclusion to come to. Take the Evander Holyfield approach. Hire a strength coach who can help you add muscle without losing too much speed or flexibility. Obviously, this can be risky business because it can result in you losing your natural speed advantage if you over do it. There’s compelling arguments on both sides but I think it’s reasonable to assume that Chambers could easily rid himself of 15-20 lbs of unnecessary baggage to deliver a more effective stripped down version of him self while adding snap to his punches and NOT sacrificing that much of his speed. He should get his weight down to around 200 lbs and then “re-up” to about 220 lbs with muscle. I think that’s an appropriate weight for him.

If he can do that then I see good things ahead for him. To be honest if Chambers was to fight either Valuev or Chagaev for the WBA title today ALL my money would be on him. Even under his current set of circumstances. It’s foolish to look at today’s heavyweight landscape and to dismiss a fighter with Chambers skills. If heavyweight history has shown us anything it’s that things can change dramatically in a moments notice. As quick as you can uncork a left hook.

All of a sudden the guy you thought would rule for as long as he wanted to is an ex-champ. For all we know David Haye will beat Wladimir and Chris Arreola will beat Vitali. We just don’t know. Stranger things have happened.

Now, does anyone really think Eddie Chambers doesn’t stand a chance against either one of those fighters?

In a years time we may be looking at him and thinking to ourselves that HE has the ability to outbox the champ. You just never know.

One thing we do know is that “Fast” Eddie Chambers has talent but it will be up to him as to whether or not he takes that talent to the next level.

Well, Eddie…….We’re watching!

Article posted on 01.04.2009

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