By Sean Crose
“My job, to be very candid, is not to protect everybody.”
So says Kathy Duva, promoter of The Crossroads, the upcoming bout between heavyweights Tomasz Adamek and the undefeated Ukranian riser Vyacheslav “Czar” Glazkov. The Crossroads, at least on paper, promises to be the kind of match that will help basic cable continue it’s banner few months of televised fights.
“This has potential to be certainly one of the best heavyweight fights of this year,” Duva told reporters during a conference call to promote the bout, which will be televised live this Saturday night at nine on the NBC SPORTS network.
Indeed, there will be a lot at stake on Saturday for both fighters besides the IBF North American Heavyweight title. For this is a battle for the number 2 IBF heavyweight contender position in the entire world. It is also a battle for Adamek, a seasoned ring veteran, to prove he’s still relevant. What’s more, it is a battle for the 16-0 Glazkov to make his mark in front of an international audience.
“I will try to look explosive,” Glazkov said, “and try to get some more American fans.”
According to numerous people, Galzkov has looked impressive in the ring against Adamek already, albeit in a sparring session. Not that Adamek makes a big deal out of it. “ In my opinion,” he told reporters, “sparing is sparing, you know?”
“Sparing is sparing,” Glazkov concurred, “and a bout is a bout.”
Glazkov is wise not to underestimate his opponent. At 40-2, Adamek boasts an extremely impressive record. The Polish immigrant’s list of victims includes Chris Arreola, Michael Grant and Andrew Golata. Oh, and those two losses? They were against Chad Dawson and Vitali Klitschko – not exactly small timers.
At 37, though, is Adamek starting to show or feel his age? After all, this fight was supposed to happen late last year and Adamek called it off, claiming to have been sick. “Her had the flu,” said Adamek’s trainer, Roger Bloodworth, brushing off any insinuation that his man might have been afraid. “It’s not like he had some kind of major illness.”
Galzkov, always the gentleman, also claimed he felt fear had nothing to with the fact that the bout was delayed. “I don’t think Tomasz was playing any kind of a game,” he argued graciously. “He is not scared. He’s knows exactly what he is doing.”
Still, Bloodworth did admit that age changes a boxer, even one as exciting as Adamek has proven to be. “I think as a fighter gets more years on him and he gets more experience on him he needs rest,” Bloodworth told the media. “Rest is just as important as work.”
How Adamek’s age or Glazkov’s relative inexperience against name competition will factor into Saturday’s match is anyone’s guess. Duva herself claimed she honestly didn’t know who would win. “I’m rooting for the fans,” she stated. “I’m rooting for a great fight.”
So are the fans. Basic cable has delivered a lot of excitement during what has otherwise been a slow first quarter of 2014. Luis Collazo has shocked everyone on Fox. Curtis Stevenson has blasted his way back into relevance on NBC. And ESPN? Well, let’s just say Friday Night Fights has easily shown more exciting cards this year than the far more prestigious HBO and Showtime have.
The Crossroads is a relevant bout in that the winner could easily be seen fighting for the heavyweight title in the near future. In other words, these two soldiers have something real and tangible to battle for. As Duva said: “They both wanted to (fight each other) very much.” Let’s hope fans appreciate what these men bring into the ring on Saturday.