Fireworks are about the only guarantee on Saturday night in Ontario, CA, as just about anything else can happen in the fascinating showdown between Tomasz Adamek and Chris Arreola where speed, skill and precision will meet brute force and strength. But this crucial crossroads clash of heavyweight contenders is about much more than that.
The surface analysis suggests Arreola (28-1, 25 KOs) will try to use his size and strength advantages to attempt blow out Adamek (40-1, 27 KOs), at least that’s the plan of the Arreola team and manager Al Haymon who handpicked this fight for the powerful, colorful Mexican. They rate Adamek as the perfect opponent to shine against – tough but small and easy to hit – and are extremely confident they have this in the bag.
What makes this fight very interesting is that Adamek did not hesitate a milli-second to accept such a risky test as Arreola. It kind of reminds of when Oscar De La Hoya handpicked the much smaller Manny Pacquiao as a safe opponent. Pacquiao didn’t hesitate to accept that offer – and we all remember what happened there.
Adamek is similar to Pacquiao in that he’s successfully moving up in weight classes, he is a beloved figure of the Polish people and he is a still-improving, highly-skilled warrior who seems to have an unbreakable spirit which helps him overcome severe adversity again and again.
Adamek, with his big fan base and propensity to ALWAYS deliver exciting performances, is a superstar in the sport despite the fact major American TV networks have opted to ignore him. Though Adamek has his opportunity now, it’s certainly not a favor in any way. Let’s face it, he’s being used. HBO and Haymon regard Adamek merely as a sacrificial lamb for their golden heavyweight Arreola. And there are no long-term plans or contracts on the table, in effect to market and promote Adamek in the future.
Arreola has plenty going for him too. He’s an exciting, fearless and charismatic gladiator who had the misfortune to have his world title shot come against one of the greatest, most destructive heavyweight champions in history – Vitali Klitschko. Still, Arreola performed admirably in that fight, showing tremendous toughness, very good stamina, and at times, a smart competitiveness which forced Vitali to dig deep at times. After, Vitali showed a lot of respect for Arreola, more than he normally shows an opponent, and advised everyone Arreola would surely be a champion someday, another high praise I don’t recall Vitali saying about Juan Carlos Gomez, Samuel Peter, Kevin Johnson, Kirk Johnson or Danny Williams.
What can we expect to happen in the ring on Saturday night? It’s so hard to tell. Either scenario can easily play out – Arreola can prove to be too big and too strong and it’s conceivable that he can overwhelm and dominate Adamek. On the other hand, there might be sound basis for the enormous self-belief Adamek has for himself. The very intelligent two-time champion may see flaws and weaknesses in Arreola that mere mortal pundits and fans cannot. Perhaps Adamek knows he can exploit those vulnerabilities and pick apart Arreola with science and technique.
This is a very difficult fight to figure. So much is at stake. We know they both will give it everything, every ounce of passion and desire that they have, which could result in a memorable war along the lines of Foreman-Frazier I or Vitali Klitschko-Lennox Lewis.
But if one factor stands out more than any other it’s the 33-pound weight advantage of Arreola over Adamek. Adamek’s power might not be strong enough to make Arreola tentative. But then again, Adamek is good enough to adapt if so.
It’s going to be an exciting fight, maybe the best heavyweight fight of the decade. Either man can take this but I have to give the slight edge to Arreola.
Says Adamek: “It was an easy choice to fight Arreola. Because we are similar in many ways. We want to fight and give people what they deserve. This is what my career is all about.”
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