What a pleaure to watch the important heavyweight clash between Tomasz Adamek and Michael Grant at ringside with none other than popular American Monte Barrett.
Round one: Grant comes out and lands the first right hand he throws, right on the chin of Adamek. “That’s a good start,” says Barrett’s attorney Mike Borao. Monte says he has sparred with Adamek, “Adamek’s got a great right hand.” As the fight takes shape, Barrett observes, “As long as (Grant) fight tall, he good. Keep up with the jabbing.” In the last seconds of the first round, there’s a tangle up in the corner, and Barrett sees the Grant has hurt Adamek with an uppercut. The video replay proves Barrett correct, Adamek is staggered by an inside, short Grant uppercut.
Round two: Barrett: “Adamek is a very smart fighter.”
Round three: Barrett is telling us Grant needs to throw his right hand more. “Throw it. Gain some respect.” Again he praises the intelligence of Adamek. “He’s very smart. He’s already in his rhythm in the third round…Adamek never moves his head.” During the round, the commentary strays to another heavyweight subject, “Emanuel Steward is a mad scientist. Wladimir Klitschko has the best jab in the world. Emanuel Steward is the best trainer for heavyweights.” The word is Steward will now train Eddie Chambers.
Round four: Barrett: “Adamek is very smart. He fights when he wants to fight. All Grant gotta do is stand back and throw (right) uppercuts.”
Round five: Barrett: “Adamek freezes when he goes inside. He throws punches and freezes…Adamek is moving too much, not setting on his punches. Grant is off-balance.”
Round six: Barrett says he sparred with Golota and knocked him out with a left hook, which resulted in getting thrown out of Buddy McGirt’s gym in Vero Beach. Again Grant lands a right hand that staggers and hurts Adamek late in the round.
Round seven: We all speculate that Adamek might not recover during the one-minute break and could be KO’ed by Grant. Barrett: “Adamek should just give up the round, jab and run and recover.” And for the most part, that’s how the round plays out, Adamek is cautious this round and Grant can’t connect with anything significant.
Round eight: When asked about the punch power of Adamek, Barrett says: “He doesn’t have power, he punches in volume.” Barrett is asked about Valuev who he boxed in Chicago for the WBA world title. “Valuev has good balance for a big fighter.”
Round nine: Adamek appears to be fading. Barrett: “Grant should open up – but this is his pace.” Curiously, Adamek continues to circle the ring and move to his left which is in the direction of Grant’s right hand. Adamek should be moving more to his right – away from the Grant right. Grant has a bloody mouth.
Round ten: Barrett: “I got it 5-4 Adamek but it could be 6-3…Adamek is getting his second wind…Grant is using his elbows.” I ask Barrett who would win Valuev or Grant? “I don’t know, good question.” Grant again is inactive. Barrett observes: “Grant is getting bored with the fight.”
Round eleven: Mike Borao: “Big round for Adamek. He’s destroying Grant’s confidence.”
Round twelve: Adamek is winning the fight but still is tempting disaster as he fearlessly goes for the KO win, the exact opposite of what De La Hoya did vs. Trinidad. Once again, Adamek gets caught and stunned by a Grant right. Barrett: “He hurt, he hurt.” But Adamek shows incredible survival skills. It’s almost like Adamek wants to get hurt – so he can put himself through the experience and learn how to cope with it – as he knows he will be hurt by Klitschkos or Haye. Now he is much better prepared for that inevitable moment.
After the final bell of this exciting battle, Adamek immediately goes over to congratulate and embrace Grant who barely acknowledges it – the American is not disrespectful, he appears exhausted. He has far exceded everyone’s expectations, as most of the media here predicted an easy win for the Polish gladiator. Despite the unanimous decision loss, Grant’s stock went up as he showed tremendous poise in dealing with the pressure of the night, fighting his first top 10 contender in many years and competing so well. If Grant can be busier with his punches, he could possibly pose problems for other top 10 contenders and perhaps the champions.
One Polish reporter says he saw an expression on Adamek’s face as he exited the ring, which conveyed, that Adamek, despite huge self-belief that he could beat the Klitschkos, now realizes it’s going to be a lot more difficult that he previously thought, “He got the message tonight.”
After the fight, Grant tells me Adamek must face the Klitschkos ASAP, within six to nine months. He says these fights with huge heavyweights will take a lot out of him and he will lose his mobility and movement. Grant says that is the reason why Adamek won tonight – because of his movement. The point he makes is that once Adamek loses his mobility, he has NO chance against the big boys. When I suggest Grant’s stock went up tonight and that he is worthy as anyone to get a shot with either Klitschko next year, since many of the leading candidates like Haye, Valuev and Povetkin decline their opportunities. Grant likes the idea of boxing Vitali and asks us in the media to help him promote that idea.
Before the fight I spoke with old friend Harold “The Shadow” Knight. As we entered the arena and saw the huge crowd, I asked Harold what were the most electric nights of his career as second assistant to Lennox Lewis? He mentioned first the Frank Bruno fight. Then Gary Mason – where Lennox stopped Mason “with a jab.” It was Mason’s first loss. Knight also noted both Rahman fights, adding that in the Las Vegas rematch, Lewis got caught by a Rahman jab in the second round and was hurt by it, which put Team Lewis in near panic. But Lewis overcame it and took care of business two rounds later.
Knight also mentioned the Mercer fight, where Lewis had massive facial swelling after the fight. He says if Lewis didn’t win that fight (which he won by the narrowest of decisions), it would have been catastrophic for his career.
Monte Barrett’s attorney Mike Borao says they have two options on the table – A Tua rematch or maybe a date with Adamek later this year.
Middleweight prospect and BoxingInsider.com blogger Richard Pierson summed up Adamek vs. Grant: “The fight went how we said – Grant had the tools to beat Adamek but in the first half of the bout the rust was all over the bigger Grant allowing Adamek to shine until Grant finaly shook it off and landed a good enough shot cutting and shaking up the smaller Adamek. And as the fight went on you can see Grant trying to get the win, land hard shots on Adamek but like I previously said, Grant has all the tools to win ecxept the will and that’s what got Adamek through this fight. His will wasn’t broken and once again David beats Goliath.”