Tomasz Adamek: Boxing’s best kept secret

25.01.07 - By Geoffrey Ciani: When heavyweight contender Andrew Golota challenged WBO champion Lamon Brewster back in May 2005, many observers expected Golota to put on a boxing exhibition. Indeed, coming off solid back-to-back performances against IBF champion Chris Byrd and WBA champion John Ruiz, it seemed as if “The Foul Pole” would finally put everything together and secure his first championship. After all, not only did many spectators feel Golota deserved the nod against both Byrd and Ruiz—which arguably would have made him a unified champion—Brewster was coming off of a lackluster performance against Kali Meehan.

Despite high expectations, Golota was stopped by Brewster in under a minute, adding yet another fiasco to his enigmatic career. At the time, very few fans were probably aware that there was another Polish fighter featured on the under card.

His name was Tomasz Adamek, and he had faced-off against rugged Australian pugilist, Paul Briggs, in a battle for the vacant WBC light heavyweight championship. In an ironic twist of fate, this night saw the fall of one Polish pugilist and the rise of another.

Adamek and Briggs fought their hearts out for twelve exciting rounds, each doing his best to stake a claim on the vacant belt. It was the type of fight boxing fans dream of with both men going toe-to-toe in an all-out give-and-take war. While it was an instant classic and a no-brainer fight-of-the-year candidate, HBO inexplicably failed to televise the fight, ultimately disappointing boxing fans around the world.

In the end, Adamek won a majority decision against Briggs, with scorecards reading 114-114, 115-113, and 117-113. It was a sensational effort put forth by both fighters. The relatively unknown Adamek proved he was a force to be reckoned with in the light heavyweight division. He showcased some great combination punching, a snappy jab, good ring movement, a tremendous chin, and a splendid display of heart and courage. At the time, Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson were widely considered the best light heavyweights in the world, but both men had been put on notice: Adamek had arrived, and would prove to be a daunting challenge for anyone in the division.

After winning the WBC light heavyweight crown, Adamek made his first defense five months later against Thomas Ulrich. Ulrich entered the bout with a professional record of 28-1, and came prepared to fight. Unfortunately for Ulrich, Adamek proved to be the superior ring specimen as he proceeded to put on a boxing exhibition against the very game challenger. In sharp contrast to the Briggs bout, Adamek showcased his skills and wasn’t drawn into a brawl. Against Ulrich, Adamek was calm and collected, utilizing his jab, and boxing patiently. His patience ultimately paid off, and Adamek stopped Ulrich with a booming right in the sixth round of the contest.

After making his first defense against Ulrich, Adamek encountered some promotional difficulties and was forced to take some time off. Once he was ready to return, he wasted no time jumping back into the thick of things, and granted Paul Briggs a rematch. Apparently, there weren’t too many fighters keen on fighting Adamek or Briggs as a result of their first encounter, so logic would dictate that they face off again, and face off again they did.

The rematch between Adamek and Briggs would prove to be just as entertaining as their first encounter, if not, more so. In round one, Briggs caught Adamek with a crisp left hook that sent the champion crashing to the canvas. Adamek already knew that Briggs was no push-over, and it seemed that he would have to work even harder this time around if he wanted to successfully defend his belt for a second time. He recovered quickly, and began out-boxing Briggs in the second round, mostly utilizing his jab to control the fight. Adamek began looking comfortable much like he had against Ulrich, but it wasn’t long before Briggs fought his way back, and once again, these two were engaged in an all-out war. Apparently, there’s something about the styles of these two pugilists that simply brings out the best in each other.

In the end, Adamek once again found himself on the winning side of a majority decision. This time the judges’ scorecards read 113-113, 115-111, and 114-112. With the second defense of his championship, and the retirement of Bernard Hopkins, it appeared as if Adamek had a strong claim as top dog in the 175 pound division, but that wasn’t enough for Adamek. He wanted to prove he was the best in the division, which brings us to the present.

On February 3, Adamek, whose record is now an unblemished 31-0, is slated to face undefeated challenger, Chad Dawson, 23-0. No doubt, Adamek still wants to prove he’s the best in the division, for Chad Dawson is an outstanding young fighter. Although Dawson isn’t a well-known commodity in the states, he’s a spectacular tactician with an abundance of skills.

In many ways, this can be viewed as a bad business move by Adamek—not only is he facing a worthy challenger, he’s facing him in a voluntary defense. That Dawson is not especially well known makes things even riskier. Regardless of whether it’s a bad business move, it’s the move of a true champion who wants to prove he’s the best. For that, Adamek should be commended in his quest for greatness, especially when one considers that a fairly recent ‘legend’ at 175 never dared to be great. In that regard, Adamek is like a breath of fresh air.

Dawson has already beaten some solid fighters in the division, including Eric Harding and John Roman William. A well-schooled amateur, Dawson is a right-handed southpaw whose best punch is his leaping lead right uppercut. He has a good jab, and he hooks well off of the jab. He’s tall, moves extremely well, is exceptionally quick, and is capable of putting together some pretty mean combinations. He’s proven to have a sturdy chin, but the question becomes, is his chin strong enough to absorb the type of punishment that Adamek is capable of administering? After all, Dawson was dropped in the first round by Harding who has never been especially known for his power, but then again, he did go on to dominate Harding the rest of the way, so it’s a tough call to make.

This should prove to be a most entertaining match-up. With two motivated, talented, undefeated light heavyweights prepared to go head-to-head, it’s got all the makings of a classic. As is often the case with Adamek, it has the potential to become a boxing fan’s dream match. Can the young tactician help put an end to the Adamek’s reign? Or will Adamek’s heart and determination prove to be too much for his younger foe? Whatever the outcome, the winner certainly has a great claim to get a crack at Bernard Hopkins, who’s recently announced he’s out of retirement.

Be sure to tune into Showtime on February 3 and watch Boxing’s Best Kept Secret, Tomasz Adamek, as he squares off against Chad Dawson! There’s liable to be some fireworks in this one, and I expect an outstanding contest!

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Article posted on 25.01.2007

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