By Johnny Walker
Heavyweight contender Tomasz “Goral” Adamek returned to his old stomping grounds, the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey tonight, but even his raucous Polish fanbase had trouble mustering up much enthusiasm by the end of his lackluster victory over Philadelphia’s “Fast” Eddie Chambers in a fight billed as a crossroads battle.
The bout was tactical in nature and often resembled something from the lower weight divisions. Chambers–who hurt his left arm and shoulder early in the fight and was rendered a one-armed fighter for the rest of the night–often frustrated Adamek with his slick movement and his speedy counter-punching.
Early on, Adamek (46-2, 28KOs) was his usual energetic self, but the clean, hard punches were for the most part being landed by Chambers (36-3, 18KOs) with counter right hands. The early stages of the fight featured a lot of probing forays by both men, and the chess match nature of the contest saw the initially exuberant crowd’s interest waning.
By round eight, the Polish fighter’s nose was bloodied, and it was clear that the momentum was slipping away from Adamek as Chambers postured theatrically and took the crowd out of the fight.
To Adamek’s credit, his dogged determination began to wear down Chambers–who was coming off of a long layoff due to various injuries–in the fight’s latter stages. Chambers rallied to repeatedly land hard right hand counters to Adamek’s head in a strong round ten, but after that, the Polish warrior prevailed mainly by outworking his opponent.
The judges scored the fight in Adamek’s favor, with two scores of 116-112 and one outrageous score of 119-109 that was an insult to Chambers, who fought very well considering he barely threw a left-handed punch after the third round.
Boxing Insider scored the fight 115-114 for Adamek.
To be frank, in today’s world of large heavyweights like the champion Klitschko brothers, David Price, Kubrat Pulev, Robert Helenius, Tyson Fury, and so on, Adamek and Chambers, neither of whom possess true heavyweight knockout power, are anachronisms. Both are in the heavyweight division purely because it offers more lucrative paydays, but neither man really belongs there in 2012.
Vitali Klitschko advised Adamek to go back down to cruiserweight following his brutal beatdown of the Pole last year, and the same advice should be also be given to Eddie Chambers.
Adamek himself didn’t sound too convinced by his own efforts on the night.
“It was difficult, a very tough fight,” he said following the scores being read. “The fight was close – I didn’t know for me or for him.”
Chambers, who can’t seem to shake the injury bug, was crestfallen.
“I tore a fuckin’ bicep or something,” he said.
“I thought I did OK, but if you’re not sure and it’s in the hands of the judges, what can you do?”
Also on the bill, American heavyweight prospect Bryant Jennings, who road into town on a wave of hype as the possible next big thing, saw some of the air go out of his hype balloon during a pedestrian win over an opponent he was expected to crush.
Jennings (14-0, 6KOs) might have received identical scores of 100-89 in his win over Texan Steve Collins, but he couldn’t sustain the momentum after a hard right uppercut jolted Collins in round four. To his credit, Collins (25-2-1, 18KOs) gamely fought back, and slowed Jennings in the latter part of the bout with a good body attack that didn’t seem to impress the judges, even during a very strong seventh round.
Jennings himself sounded less impressed than the judges and was apologetic following the fight.
“I executed, I came out with the victory, and that was my only goal,” he said.
“I’m still a work in progress.”