by Johnny Walker
Top heavyweight contender Tomasz “Goral” Adamek, though an all-action fighter in the ring, is not known for his thrilling press conferences, so the news that his latest presser, announcing a September 8 clash with Travis “Freight Train” Walker, was laid-back and businesslike should come as no great surprise.
Things were so quiet yesterday at the initial presser that Adamek’s promoter, Kathy Duva of Main Events, even felt compelled to remark on it.
“You know sometimes there’s fireworks at the press conference and the fight turns out to be a disappointment, well, with Tomasz it’s always the other way around. Everybody’s a gentleman, everybody’s polite, everybody makes it hard to believe that they are actually going to hit each other,” said Duva nervously after Adamek had finished his low key remarks.
“But they are and we know it’s going to be lots of fun and thrilling as always,” the promoter quickly added.
Perhaps Adamek vs Walker is not a heavyweight fight that immediately gets boxing fans’ pulse rates up, like the David Haye versus Dereck Chisora matchup did, but things could have been much, much worse.
The former cruiserweight champion Adamek was originally slated to meet faded heavyweight James ‘Lights Out” Toney, who then proceeded to shoot himself in the foot by issuing a video in which he cursed out and threatened physical harm to a boxing scribe who criticized the proposed fight.
Fortunately, soon after the profane video hit the web, Toney was dropped as Adamek’s dance partner.
A fight with the long past it Toney would likely have been disastrously one-sided and would have done little or nothing for Adamek’s career, so the much larger and more powerful Travis Walker, coming off a big win over ageing but still tough contender Kali Meehan, looks like a very live opponent in comparison.
And the American fighter certainly sees himself that way, knowing a win over the highly-ranked Adamek would immediately put him in the mix at the top of the heavyweight division.
“I’m here to put on a good show, I came to camp in better shape to deal with Tomasz’s speed and movement,” said Walker at the presser.
“I’m going to bring a different kind of a fight for myself as well because I know he is going to throw a lot of punches so I have to be ready to throw a lot of punches as well. The best thing about me is that I have power on mine, so it’s going to be a real good fight.
“They run as much as they want, they’re going to get caught. I’ve got a great show for y’all.”
While mostly his stoic self, Adamek was slightly irked by Walker’s contention that he “runs” from his opponents, and also seemed irritated about his last fight, a points win over “Fast” Eddie Chambers in which the latter fighter and many observers cried “robbery.”
“I don’t run. I run, but I love combinations, I love to give for my fans big fights, lots of punches…My last fight, my opponent [Eddie Chambers] don’t want to fight with me, he run,” said the miffed Adamek.
Though he may not want to hear it, the jury is still out on Adamek as a heavyweight. It’s not so much his lack of height–at six foot one-and-a-half inches tall, he is the same height as natural heavyweight Dereck Chisora–as his smallish frame that is Adamek’s downfall in the big boys’ division.
Put simply, Adamek lacks power as a heavyweight. The kind of power that can alter the course of events with one punch.
After WBA heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko crushed Adamek with ease in front of his Polish fans last year, the champion offered Goral some sound advice — move back down to cruiserweight. Klitschko felt that Adamek was out of his depth and would find more heartache if he continued as a heavyweight.
Adamek, however, isn’t having it, even though he has struggled against not only Klitschko, but also with another large heavyweight in the six-foot-seven Michael Grant, who came close to stopping the Pole late. Adamek was also forced to go the distance against the big Irishman Kevin McBride, who was knocked cold in his next outing by Adamek’s countryman, the six-foot-eight inches tall Mariusz Wach.
Walker, a big man himself at nearly six-foot-five inches tall, has surely taken note of the chinks in Adamek’s heavyweight armor to this point, and is intent on exploiting them.
“I’m expecting Adamek to throw a lot of punches, but I also want to be busy in the ring,” he says.
“Maybe busier than usual. I will have special tactics for this fight. I have nothing personal against Adamek, I want to thank him for the opportunity, but I will also hit him with a purpose.”
And that purpose is to put an end to Tomasz Adamek’s heavyweight experiment.