Power Shots: News and Views on the Heavyweight Division
By Johnny Walker
ADAMEK AND CHAMBERS MEET AT THE HEAVYWEIGHT CROSSROADS
This Saturday night at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, two men who not so long ago were riding high in the heavyweight division, Polish warrior Tomasz “Goral” Adamek (45-2, 28 KOs) and slick American “Fast” Eddie Chambers (36-2, 18 KOs), will engage in a true crossroads battle for continuing relevancy.
Adamek and Chambers, both smallish heavies who seem more suited to the cruiserweight ranks, have one big thing in common: both men have seen their careers brutally derailed by a Klitschko brother.
Chambers had been rolling along with wins over much bigger men like Samuel Peter and Alexander Dimitrenko when he met up in early 2010 with world champion Wladimir Klitschko in Dusseldorf, Germany. After being dominated for most of the night, Chambers suffered a horrifying knockout in the last round that left him draped limply over the bottom ring rope.
Since that fateful night, Chambers, 30, has fought once, a UD win in early 2011 over Derric Rossy in Atlantic City. Scheduled bouts with Tony Thompson and Sergei Liakhovich were cancelled due to injuries at the very last minute, leaving both men furious with Fast Eddie: “He plays a good guy image in the press, but his good guy image is a fake…. From my point of view he is just a fucking punk,” a livid Liakhovich said of Chambers.
Perhaps inevitably, rumors have been whispered in boxing circles of Chambers being “gun-shy” since suffering the devastating Klitschko knockout, and the Philadelphia native goes into this one knowing that he has a lot to prove. Just showing up for the fight will be the first step back to relevancy for Fast Eddie.
Adamek has demons of his own going into this fight. The former cruiserweight champion has always had his share of doubters since entering the heavyweight division, though a campaign that saw him defeat bigger men like Chris Arreola and Michael Grant won many skeptics over.
It is fair to say that Adamek, 35, suffered the worst night of professional career, however, when he faced WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko in Wroclaw, Poland, last year. In front of his raucous home fans in a new stadium, the game Pole was thoroughly dominated and dismantled by Klitschko, who later said that he carried Adamek for a few rounds because of the circumstances.
After the fight, Klitschko advised Adamek to move back down to cruiserweight.
Adamek disregarded Klitschko’s advice, and made a tentative step back at heavyweight against Nagy Aguilera—who was previously knocked out by Arreola in three rounds–earlier this year, winning a wide UD but still looking shaky in spots. It’s safe to say that should Adamek lose to Chambers, his time as a relevant force in the heavyweight division is over.
Also on the Newark card is rising American heavyweight Bryant Jennings (13-0, 6 KOs), who will battle Steve Collins (25-1-1, 18 KOs) for the vacant USBA Heavyweight title. Jennings dismmantled former WBO heavyweight champion Sergei Liakhovich last time out, and has been hailed as America’s top heavyweight prospect by none other than superstar trainer Freddie Roach.
ARREOLA VS MOLLO SET FOR JUNE 23
Top American heavyweight Cristobal Arreola (35-2, 30 KOs), rumored to be headed for a bout—possibly in America–with world champion Wladimir Klitschko in fall, takes on bad luck plagued Mike Mollo (20-3-1, 12 KOs) on the undercard of the Victor Ortiz vs Joselito Lopez fight on June 23 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Mollo, who might consider using the nickname “Mishap,” will have achieved a victory of sorts if he can even get in the ring with Arreola. He was to have faced top American contender Franklin “Yah Yah” Lawrence on May 18, only to be ruled out at the last minute due to a questionable MRI scan.
Mollo has also seen fights with the very same Chris Arreola and Seth Mitchell fall through for various reasons, and hasn’t been in the ring since August of 2010, when he drew with Gary Gomez.
“I’m ready to go to war against Arreola,” says Mollo.
“This is a big opportunity for me to show the boxing world that I have something left in the tank. The fans are going to see an exciting fight with a lot of action. I’m coming to upset Arreola in his hometown.”
IT’S A LEGAL MATTER, BABY
TMZ has been having a field day reporting on American heavyweights’ legal problems lately.
Troubled former WBO world heavyweight champion Shannon “The Cannon” Briggs was recently dealt a legal blow by a South Carolina court, which awarded his ex-publicist Kali Bowyer a $420,000 default judgement settlement for unpaid commissions.
Briggs had recently been in the news claiming that he was only paid $25,000 of a $750,000 purse for a title fight against WBC world heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko, a bout in which he took a vicious beating from the Ukrainian that left him hospitalized in Germany.
In a development perhaps not unrelated to the decision in South Carolina, Briggs has resurfaced this week in Dubai where he–wait for it–is once again calling out the Klitschko brothers.
“Dubai is my new home,” said Briggs while promoting a local fight card at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
“I want my wife and children to be here with me. Given my personality, it’s hard to get me excited, but this mega situation has got me excited and I want the world to know that Shannon Briggs is here.
“This is the only situation that I can pull [the Klitschkos] out for a fight. They have avoided me for many, many years and I want to tell them that Shannon Briggs is not gone, I am back.”
Perhaps only Briggs could claim that the Klitschkos have ducked him after suffering one of the worst beatings in recent memory at the hands of one of them.
Also on the troubled front, former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield sold his massive mansion in Georgia for $7,500,000 at a public auction, but he owes the bank twice that amount, plus $200,000 in back taxes.
According to TMZ, “Holyfield owed more than $14,000,000 on the house — plus more than $2500 in foreclosure expenses. It’s unclear whether the bank is going after him for the balance.”
Any wonder why Holyfield is still hoping for that lucrative last payday against one of the Klitschkos?