By Charles Jay
Coming off a win – albeit a controversial one – that helped bring boxing back to the broadcast networks, and ticketed him for a chance to return to another substantial opportunity, Tomasz Adamek ran afoul of the law on Saturday night.
Adamek, who beat Steve Cunningham in an NBC-televised fight a few weeks ago, was arrested in Lake Placid, N.Y. as apparently he was drunk at the wheel of his 2010 Infinity and crashed into a parked automobile shortly before 10 PM ET.
According to the police in Lake Placid, which is best known for hosting the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, Adamek, who was alone in his car, failed to stay in his lane, and that was a contributing factor to his collision with the unoccupied vehicle. He hit the car hard enough that it actually moved forward and hit another parked vehicle. It is suspected that he totaled the car and was lucky not to suffer any injuries. Adamek refused to take a test to determine his alcohol level while at the scene, at which time he was taken into custody and processed before being brought to the hospital for observation.
Naturally, he faces a charge of driving while intoxicated. After bonding out of jail, he had no comment, but his lawyer, Brian Barrett, made a brief statement to the local paper, the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, that appeared to lay the groundwork for a defense, referring to the intersection of Mirror Lake Drive and Saranac Avenue in Lake Placid as “a dangerous intersection where a number of accidents have previously occurred.”
Saranac Avenue is a single-lane road that splits into two lanes right at the intersection in question. Getting onto Mirror Lake Drive, which runs along the lake of the same name, involves making a left turn from the left lane, which is designated for that purpose. The right lane bears right onto Main Street, which is the continuation of State Road 86. In effect, Main Street turns into Mirror Lake Drive when it crosses Saranac. There is no traffic light at the intersection, on a thoroughfare that does accommodate quite a bit of activity, despite the small size of the community (under 3000). In fact, according to a travel piece that was published in the New York Times (December 8, 2011):
“Unlike many ex-Olympic Villages, Lake Placid’s Main Street retains its party atmosphere all winter, luring tourists and townies alike to commingle over pints of local lager.”
This is a look at the street view of the intersection as captured by Google Maps:
There was no reason to believe this incident will affect Adamek’s most immediate plans, which include a fight against Kubrat Pulev, with the winner to fight Wladimir Klitschko for the heavyweight championship. There is no date that has been settled upon, nor a purse that has yet been negotiated. Pulev is the IBF’s #1 contender, having gotten there by virtue of his win last September against Alexander Ustinov.
Adamek has already faced the other Klitschko brother (Vitali) and hung in gamely, although the difference in size really showed. He went into the tenth round of their September 2011 fight before being stopped, but was never in the fight; all three judges had the fight a 9-0 shutout in rounds up to that point.
Adamek became the WBC’s light heavyweight champion in May 2005 with a decision over Paul Briggs, losing the crown to Chad Dawson in February 2007. He won the IBF cruiserweight title by beating the aforementioned Cunningham in December 2008, on a split decision (which was also the result of the fight last month between them). After defending against Jonathon Banks (recently a winner over Seth Mitchell and ironically the trainer for Wladimir Klitschko) he moved to the heavyweight class, registering wins over the likes of Andrew Golota, Chris Arreola and Michael Grant before the WBC title fight against Vitali.
Since that defeat, he’s been busy, with wins over Nagy Aguilera, Eddie Chambers, Travis Walker and Cunningham. He’s lost only twice in 50 career fights. He is currently rated #9 by the WBA and #3 by the IBF. The 36-year-old Adamek, who represented his native Poland in the 1998 European amateur championships, winning a bronze, now calls Jersey City his home, although he has occasionally gone back to Poland, most notably for the Klitschko fight.