Tag Archives: tomasz adamek

Who Gets Poleaxed? Tomasz Adamek vs Artur Szpilka

Polish legend Tomasz “Goral” Adamek (49-3, 29 KO) and aspiring Polish legend Artur “The Pin” Szpilka (16-1, 12 KO) will be cracking hard noggins come November 8 in Krakow, Poland.

 

The Pin vs Goral

The Pin vs Goral

Adamek as a two division multi-belt holder is obviously more credentialed than Artur Szpilka, but the 25 year old Szpilka is still young and fresh and game as hell as his last fight against Bryant Jennings proved earlier this year. I would nominate that fight as a strong Fight of the Year contender. We also know this bout is for the defacto King of Poland title by two aggressively offensive type fighters. The soon to be 38 year old Adamek is grizzled and slowly slipping into the inevitable decline of advanced years, but he still managed to give a closing round tussle in his recent loss to undefeated contender Vyacheslav Glazkov in a fight more competitive than he got credit for.

This is likely the best ever all Polish matchup in history, a high stakes all action highly competitive fight between two heavyweight contenders with the winner perhaps being in line for a title shot next year. The vacant IBF International heavyweight title will be up for grabs, so good show gentlemen for this classic, the old lion willing to test the mettle of an up and coming young lion.

 

Heavy Ides of March: Adamek vs Glazkov & Wilder vs Scott

My, my, The Fates have left the two best American based foreign national heavyweights fighting each other in America this Ides of March while the two best American heavyweight prospects have been sent packing to Puerto Rico for a showdown. That would be Saturday, March 15th when grizzled veteran Tomasz Adamek of Poland takes on his natural prime aged rival Vyacheslav Glazkov of Ukraine at the Sands Resort and Casino in Bethlehem, PA, a prototypical Eastern European fight held on American soil these days.

The 37 year old two division champion “Goral” has a stiff task in the 29 year old 2008 superheavyweight Olympic Bronze Medalist “Czar.” Adamek’s 49-2-1, 29 KO record makes the Glazkov 16-0-1, 11 KO record look a bit puny, but things should be spiced up since this is the IBF #2 Eliminator and both fighters are fairly offensively oriented and hungry for a crack at the Wlad sweepstakes all everything that counts title.

The Fates may have gotten their shipping orders mixed up when they sent the last American boxing Olympic medalist, heavyweight Bronze winner Deontay Wilder and his opponent Malik Scott to Bayamon, Puerto Rico in support of the undercard of the Danny Garcia/Mauricio Herrera mismatch. The saving grace might be some nice Caribbean sun and surf relaxation for them after their gig as winter storms continue to torture much of the western world.

Incredibly the 28 year old Wilder is in his 7th year as a pro with 30 wins by 30 knockouts, yet he has never fought another title contender yet in spite of being aligned with the powerful Al Hayman/Golden Boy Promotional combine. Here he goes against what passes as a modern day American gym legend, the 33 year old Malik Scott best known for nursing along his undefeated record for years against the usual spate of blue collar journeymen, currently at 36-1-1, 13 KO.

Once Malik stepped up his competition, first there was the stinker of a draw against Glazgov and then an unseemly knockout loss in Britain to Dereck Chisora. Scott couldn’t be bothered to step up his end of the action in those two breakout fights for him, but now he gets another chance, a mighty big one, but will he take it? Wilder currently holds a scruffy WBC Continental Americas bauble, but rumors say this match might end up being a WBC eliminator with the winner fighting the winner of the Bermane Stiverne/Chris Arreola battle for the vacated WBC title. Team Wilder’s long developmental path has thus far targeted the easiest path path possible to a belt, so enter the bewildered Scott.

I tend to think the Adamek/Glazonov bout will be action packed and favor Adamek in a hard fought decision where Glazkov earns new respect by the end of the fight. Scott’s negative defensive boxing is likely to make Wilder look like stink early on, but I have to think if Wilder doesn’t gas out, a possibility given his lack of professional rounds, only 53 rounds recorded thus far compared to Scott’s 223 rounds, that eventually Wilder catches up to whack out Scott.

It’s now up to the fighters. I await their verdicts.

Tomasz Adamek vs Vyacheslav Glazkov

Saturday,  November 16 at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino, Verona, New York, heavyweight contenders Tomasz Adamek and Vyacheslav Glazkov fight for future title challenges to the Klitschko brothers. The NBC “regular” network is the broadcaster, a big boost for any American fight fans even if both are Eastern Europeans. They fight in America or wherever they can make a good fight and this promises to see plenty of action with both being offensive minded boxer types.

*** This fight has just been officially canceled. Garrett Wilson substitutes for a flu ridden Adamek. Details here:

http://www.fightnews.com/Boxing/glazkov-to-face-garrett-wilson-on-nbc-231042

Young Lion vs Old Lion

Young Lion vs Old Lion

The soon to be 37 years old Adamek at 49-2, 29 KOs, would love to round off that figure at 50-2, 30 KO with a big knockout of the 29 year old Glazkov at 16-0, 11 KO, easier said than done since the young lion usually wins these types of age matchups. 

Adamek is still has most of his powers even with the long mileage. His problem is staying motivated as he stays busy waiting for his chance at title redemption. Glazkov has his hands full with the cagey experience Adamek brings, a huge step up, but the kid is game and the time is now for all concerned. A 12 rounder on NBC, easy to catch most anywhere.

Tyson Fury–Madison Square Garden–Steve USS Cunningham–Look Out!

Look out United States of America, Tyson Fury, Britain’s most beloved and hated man-child and most congenital twitterer comes to New York City’s storied Madison Square Garden venue to take on Steve USS Cunningham in a 12 round IBF eliminator donnybrook. The good news is that he will have to pass through Homeland Security screening.

And the bad news? The bad news is that in spite of informing the public that he is coming after USS Cunningham with the intent to knock him out, Fury will pass seamlessly through screening and find a taxi to take him to Madison Square Garden, so what then you ask?

Fury With Friends

Perhaps a reflection of the reverse story backdrop that played out weeks ago in sunny London would be instructive. Grizzled southpaw contender Tony Thompson sicced his Tiger on British heavyweight hopeful David Price to take him down for the abrupt stoppage that left British pints full of tears that mournful Saturday night. Steve Cunningham is not as large, grizzled, and scary as Thompson, but he’s quick, moves well, and jabs well and still hungry for respect in his new heavyweight division.

But can Cunningham really take down the heavyweight hopes and dreams of the young mountainous man-child  Fury?

Fury has big ambitions planned when he intends to introduce his “little” 18 year old cousin Hughie Fury to the world by way of his pro boxing debut at the Madison Square Garden venue. Both Furys are trained by Peter Fury, keeping this Irish Traveler family tight in the spilled blood bonds of the often treacherous sport of boxing. This card will be their first step towards consolidating the heavyweight championship belts between them as The Furious Two, the new dynamic duo tapped to replace the Klitschko brothers when they retire.

Here is an entertaining Youtube video of Fury reprising his best devil may care, sly tongued, young, lean and hungry Cassius persona. Twinkles fall like stars out of his eyes as he showers the camera with his gift of self promotional gab. It’s a good time to be Britain’s biggest, brightest, undefeated heavyweight star with a bountiful future all laid out in front of him as you can see:

http://news.boxrec.com/news/2013/video-decent-quality-smack-talk-tyson-fury

Mr. USS Nice Guy Helping Others

Mr. USS Nice Guy in Assistance

Steve Cunningham is coming off a disputed split decision loss to his old nemesis, Tomasz Adamek in an IBF eliminator. The 6-9 Fury will be substantially larger with greater reach than any previous opponent of Cunningham. He has a busy offense, quick hands, can box outside and especially loves mixing it up inside, and moves very well for a big man. More unsettling, Fury has become a switch hitter, boxing orthodox or southpaw as the mood strikes, a completely southpaw fight against Martin Rogan as I recall.

That’s a really tall order for Cunningham to be sure, but USS has been a staple in Germany for a number of years and had good sparring against many of the tall heavyweights who dominate modern divisional ratings. You can bet a championship fighter of his caliber has a plan mapped out to surprise Fury, but it best be better than the tepid game plan he showed against Adamek. Feather jabs alone just won’t cut the mustard at this level, so we shall just have to see what the fighters bring.

Tyson Fury fights tend to be interesting because of his palpable charisma and busy, animated style. I daresay he will attract a raucous crowd who have heard the noise and want to check out the reality. That’s Saturday, April 20th, Madison Square Garden, that’s where the action will be. 

Standing Tall–Tomasz Adamek vs Steve Cunningham

Christmas is coming early for area boxing fans in the little town of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania this year. The Sands Casino-Resort is hosting grudge rematch between former cruiserweight champs Tomasz Adamek (47-2, 29 KO) and Steve Cunningham (25-4, 12 KO) Saturday, December 22nd, a chance to see a good action contrast of styles by two top level pros.

Standing Tall

Standing Tall

Adamek is the more credentialed as a champion in both lightheavy and cruiserweight divisions and he is more acclimated as a top ranked heavyweight contender,  the division where this battle will be waged. Both are 36 years of age and turned pro within a year of each other, so how is it that Adamek sports almost twice as many wins as the former IBF cruiser champ USS Cunningham?

That is a more sordid revelation of the role promoters and managers play in the career of fighters, so skipping back to Cunningham the fighter, he won his belt the hard way in enemy territory of the hometown favorite Polish legend, Krzysztof Wlodarczyk, and Europe is where he’s spent most of his last 5 years, winning a few and losing a few more title matches.

These two are more oriented to old school gentlemen out of the ring, fighters in the ring type of mentality than the current trash talk, thuggish walk type of modern behaviors that promoters sell to the public like cotton candy. As such, there is no actual grudge that I can see other than that Cunningham feels like he was shorted by the judges when they first met that saw Cunningham hit the deck thrice between outboxing Adamek for periods in a thrilling seesaw battle, so here we are with the rematch.

On paper by careers, Adamek is the big favorite to win. No matter the howls of the litters of critics that hound every fighter from the start to finish of their careers, Adamek showed excellent nuance to control the range and pace of Eddie Chambers who reverted back to his losing spoiling tactics against Wlad Klitschko. It was an awkward, ungainly match when Chambers ditched his offense to go on a run after a supposed arm injury.

The last full fight of Cunningham I saw was the Troy Ross fiasco. Ross looked to have taken over that bout before suffering a nasty torn eyelid that was not for squeamish viewing. Cunningham was accused of the thumbing after Ross had knocked him hard to the canvas. Cunningham continued to reprise his canvas pratfalls in consecutive losses to Cuban defector Yoan Pablo Hernandez, a relatively light hitting fighter.

Could be that Cunningham’s punch resistance is on the wane, as good as reason as any for team Adamek to risk a rematch, but Cunningham has some speed and can box and move better than most, so he could cause some troubles if he stays upright. Adamek did look slower than normal against Chambers, perhaps enough for Cunningham to squeeze in more shots.

The stakes are the IBF North American Heavyweight Title and the #2 spot in IBF rankings

Adamek is much closer to the top of his form than is Cunningham, that’s the bottomline skinny going into their fight. Eventually opening tactics will play out and I see them reverting to previous stylistic form with Adamek prevailing, possibly by knockout this time, but, regardless, I see a good fight even if they can’t quite reach the heights of their first memorable encounter.

Fast Eddie Meets Goral–Adamek vs Chambers

Tomasz Adamek may be Polish born, but he lives and fights mostly in America and looks to be the favorite and hometown hero at the Prudential Center on Saturday, June 16th in Newark, New Jersey against Philidelphia’s Fast Eddie Chambers.

Chambers is the lifelong heavyweight and should be the fresher fighter at 30 years of age and only 245 rounds in the bank, but looks are deceptive. He hasn’t fought in over a year after cancelling two quality heavyweight fights because of ongoing back problems. Adamek is 5 years older with 300 harder fought rounds in the bank as the former WBC lightheavy champ and IBF cruiser champ, but he seems to be about the same fighter as he was before, in excellent shape with the ability to make ring adjustments to win fights. As you can see, he’s also the naturally bigger fighter in spite of coming up from the lightheavy ranks thru cruiserweight as champion before moving to heavyweight to pursue bigger money and more titles.

Chambers & Adamek Faceoff

Chambers & Adamek Faceoff

Both fighters lost recent challenges to the Klitschko brothers‘ supremacy, both by knockout, but the Chambers’ knockout was a scary one punch boomer by Wlad, the kind of life altering experience we wouldn’t wish on our worst enemies. 

Chambers is 1-0 in his comeback after beating Derric Rossy in a rematch. Adamek beat Nagy Aguilera, also by decision.

Both are skilled come forward action fighters with modest power, but Adamek holds all the credentials and been in against better overall competition even if he lacks Chambers’ heavyweight resume, so he should be the favorite. That said, if Chambers is healthy again, in shape, and can shake off the ring rust, this could be a great donnybrook and boost to heavyweight boxing in the US. Chambers was at one time the best American heavyweight by far before his medical woes beset him.

Thank goodness we finally have a decent heavyweight scrap on American shores. It’s been ages of shameless dogging by America’s big boys, so maybe they can tune in to this fight and learn how genuine boxing class operates in the ring.

The Perfect Furious Storm–Tyson Fury vs Neven Pajkic

November 12 will mark Fury’s 1st professional homecoming in his birthplace of Manchester. The Brits are making much of his 3rd straight undefeated opponent angle, but facts are the Derek Chisora fight was the big one.

Fury vs Pajkic

Fury vs Pajkic

Canadian Champion Neven Pajkic is more than an opponent for Fury, the fight is being billed as a grudge match of bad blood between the two, something sure to rile the crowd up. Maybe, but it’s also a step down, stay busy, learn your craft type of fight that Fury needs to progress and yes, Fury is steadily accumulating very respectable resume.

The grudge factor would seemingly translate into an aggressive ring affair, but Fury is already an aggressive fighter, so I doubt there is enough animosity for either to raise(or lower) their game to another level. Pajkic gives away much height and reach and hasn’t had a knockout in his last 6 fights against inferior opposition to Fury. He does look like the prototypical Canadian tough guy who can have his moments though, perfect to provide the needed rounds for Fury to progress. 

The 23 yr old Fury is exactly where he needs to be as the #1 British heavyweight and #9 heavyweight in the boxrec ratings. He’s also the defending British Commonwealth belt holder for this bout, so he’s been a busy lad in his brief career thus far.

I have no doubt he could beat the new WBA “champ” Alexander Povetkin, but that fight is not likely to happen anytime soon. Povetkin won’t be anywhere near a top ten contender as long as his promotional team milk his career for as long as they are able like they did with Mr. David Haye.

Ultimately Fury is going to have to challenge a Klitschko brother for his title shot, something he needs at least another year or two in development. I’m thinking that a fight against one of the few remaining American fringe contenders in Las Vegas would be the perfect promotional and developmental fight for him sometime next year.

Welcome to check out the top 25 boxrec heavyweights here for your own recomendations:

http://boxrec.com/ratings.php?country=&sex=m&division=Heavyweight&status=A&SUBMIT=Go

Tony Thompson and Eddie Chambers are the only Americans in the top 10 and were scheduled to meet before Chambers came down with injury. Tomasz Adamek used #24 Michel Grant to prepare for his challenge to Vitali Klitschko, so that would seem to be ideal for Fury.

Then there is the spector of the Klitschko managed giant Russian, Alexander Ustinov, who recently acquired the European(EBU) title. That would be a well respected title challenge and a battle of giants and perhaps also an elimination bout for the right to challenge a Klitschko.

Tyson Fury has managed to remake the world into his own oyster thus far, so I look for him to make a statement with his homecoming and move on to bigger and better things, something sorely needed in the Klitschko depleted ranks of worthy contenders.

Neven Pajkic currently has first crack at the immediate future of Tyson Fury, so we’ll just have to see what he has to say.

The Polish Heavyweight Challenge–Tomasz Adamek vs Vitali Klitschko

There are reports out of boxrec of another rumor putting off the heavyweight challenge by Tomasz Adamek to Vitali Klitschko‘s WBC title.

http://news.boxrec.com/news/2011/snips-and-snipes-10-august-2011

The fight was originally mooted for March 8 in Madison Square Garden in tribute to the 40th anniversary of Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier I, but yes, Virginia, there is a Grinch who stole Christmas. WBC El Presidente for Life Jose Suliman queered that celebratory tribute, instead forcing the Cuban dancing bear, Odlanier Solis to fight Vitali as the enforced mandatory in a farce of a fight.

Adamek and Vitali both operate on a much higher plane than any boxing org and certainly deserve better treatment, so lets hope the Ukrainian political situation stabilizes so the fight can come off as scheduled Saturday, September 10th.

Lots of firsts, a historic Polish heavyweight challenge for the WBC belt held by the great Ukrainian champion at Stadion Miejski, Wroclaw, Poland.

Goral

Goral

While Vitali will be the big favorite, “Goral” has proven to be a P4P quality boxer through an outstanding career that has seen him as a ranked fighter since 2005. That’s six years of excellence in the top 3 divisions in boxing.

But Adamek is more than a top boxer, he’s a top fighter who adjusts to any situation as well as the best fighters in history, and his 44-1, 28 KO record ain’t too shabby neither. Only the single decision loss to Ring P4Per Chad Dawson sullies the perfect record, and he closed that fight strong with a hard knock down, so Adamek has some serious fighter to him.

He’s primarily a offensive fighter, but like Manny Pacquiao he picked up a lot of technique and nuance as he aged and is now at the top of grand career. This is the chance he’s prepared his whole professional life for and he won’t be as easily dismissed as Vitali’s previous foes were.

The Fight

The Fight

Vitali the Elder now has a better sense of his own history than when he first turned pro and has targeted Adamek as the best he can fight, a perfect end to a stellar career perhaps. Adamek has to take the fight to Vitali to keep from being overwhelmed on volume and aggression, so his footwork and combinations will go directly against Vitali’s great offensive onslaught in a fight that could produce the dramatic ebbs and flows that great fights have.

Let’s hope it comes off without a hitch, otherwise some great heavyweight history will be lost, so update to follow.

August 24th update:

Good news is Vitali has released a sparring tape and talked about his upcoming bout with Adamek, so the fight looks like a go.

http://www.fightnews.com/Boxing/klitschko-predicts-ko-93480#more-93480

FIGHT DAY UPDATE:

Incredibly Vitali is the big favorite over Adamek who is by far the best fighter in the division not named Klitschko.

Odds aren’t fully reflective of the fighter’s abilities since large betting swings can make odds disappear or spike as the fight nears when the betting base backs one fighter more heavily as the fight day approaches. Doubtless that’s why the Wlad/Haye bout had near even odds. Here’s the Fightwriter’s odds which are reflective of the oddsmakers at large.

Over 9.5 +140; under 9.5 -180
Klitschko -650; Adamek +400
Over 10.5 +110; under 10.5 -125
 
They weighed in with Vitali being unusually light at 243 lbs to Adamek who is 216 lbs. Looks like Vitali trained down for speed and stamina and Adamek is perfect for him. Look for these guys to mark up come mid rounds.
 
If Adamek was ever knocked down in a fight, I don’t recall it, and technically Vitali has never been down though it’s arguable that Corrie Sanders knocked him down early in their fight years back that was ruled a slip. I look for a high action bout conducted like a chess match as both look for their spots to make the points while exploring for weakness which could be cuts.
 
Well done to the organizers and fighters that made this big challenge happen.
Dr. Ironfist vs Goral

Dr. Ironfist vs Goral

 
   

Who BeatsThe Klitschko Brothers in the Great Pantheon of Boxing?

It is well and truly astounding how much the Klitscko brothers have shaken up the world of the heavyweight division since they turned pro. They have been alternately lauded and derided in the most outrageous fashions imaginable for well over a decade now, leaving no sharp stone unturned nor any unruly fan unruffled. 

Their records are such that many in the mainstream boxing press have begun talking them up for the IBHOF, so the time is ripe to examine the best heavyweights in history to ascertain who might be able to beat the Klitschko brothers in their current form.

This 2005 IBRO list is probably the most comprehensive consensus of any of the dozens of heavyweight lists that can be easily conjured up. One may dicker over the individual rankings, but most would agree that these would be top 20 heavyweights overall at the time of the poll .

http://www.ibroresearch.com/?p=52

The IBRO heavies I have selected go against the Klitschkos naturally represent the top echelon of the Great Pantheon of boxing with varied styles to challenge them. I only chose those with a career that shows they could put up a championship quality fight against the brothers. These are best to best match ups, not worst to best as so many unartful types are want to make.

I grouped them into 4 main style categories so that broadly similar fighters can be compared and contrasted for differences in how the fights might go. This exercise is as much about application of styles as it is about the eras and the individual talents, so, lets look at the greats the Klitschos will be facing. 

Boxer/movers: Muhammad Ali, Larry Holmes, and Gene Tunney.

Swarmer/bob and weavers: Joe Frazier, Mike Tyson, and Jack Dempsey.

Strongman/Clubber: George Foreman

Boxer/puncher: Lennox Lewis, Joe Louis, and comeback version of George Foreman.

The Klitschko Credentials

Wladimir

Wladimir

Wlad has compiled a 14-0, 10 KO record against the best in the division since his last bizarre loss 7 yrs ago. Vitali is 10-0, 8 KO from his last loss some 8 years ago, including his 4 years of inactive retirement. Nobody has come close to beating either brother during this period as they have steadfastly eliminated almost 2 generations of Ring contenders or ABC beltholder types between them.

Now that Wladimir Klitschko easily if ungracefully snuffed the threat of the Ring ranked #3 British poser, Mr. David Haye, the 35 year old Wlad could comfortably retire with a HOF quality record of 56-3, 49 KO. after having dominated the division in a fashion never seen before.

Vitali the Elder

Vitali the Elder

The same could be said of his 40 yr old brother, Vitali who sports a 42-2, 39 KO record. Vitali even has his own superfight scheduled in a couple of months against the great Polish champ, Tomasz Adamek, now Ring ranked #2 behind Wlad the Ring champ and Vitali the WBC champ and #1 Ring challenger.

Both Klitschkos are prodigious boxers, winning some 90% of all rounds contested between them, as well as knockout artists, both approaching the 90% mark for their careers, unprecedented for all the fighters that predated them. They are also both highly accurate punchers, Wlad due to his incredible jab that is 90% of his offense, and Vitali due to his own jab and straight rights, 90% of his offense, so it’s near impossible to get past their offense into range for a clean shot at them.

The KO in KlitschKO

The KO in KlitschKO

Wlad not only holds the Ring, IBF, WBO, IBO, and WBA belts, but he is also 5th in the Ring P4P ratings and #2 in Boxrec P4P ratings behind Manny Pacquiao. Vitali is #3 in Boxrec P4P ratings with a record 4 yr layoff between consecutive title wins, so their P4P accomplishments transcend the heavyweight division.

Wlad is 17-2, 14 KO in career title fights and Vitali is 12-2, 10 KO for those interested in arcane title comparisons, but titles are a poor substitute for the incredible gauntlets they have passed through on the way to ruling over their dominion.

Klitschko critics still abound though, the complaints ranging from “boring fighters” to “fighting bums in a weak division” to “any great heavyweight from the past would beat them” or my favorite, “too robotic,” among the more popular. Typically the complainants point to past losses as an excuse to ignore their unprecedented successes, a rather primitive denial of the real records.

Since Rocky Marciano was the only undefeated great heavyweight, one would presume that he would automatically be touted as the greatest heavyweight ever, but he isn’t, proving the hypocrisy of that mode of rationalization.

Fantasy fights often roust a primordial instincts in some to rally to their “tribe” or their “favorite” no matter the reasoned analysis discussed, so this article is doubtless not their cup of tea, but given the nature of the Klitscho dominance and their unique style of boxing, the fantasy fights available to them have never been hotter for true boxing fans still tuned in to the current scene.

Philosophically, fantasy fight fans generally fall into two main camps:

1. Golden oldies rule the roost with more heart, discipline, and native fighting ability than moderns.

2. Modern fighters are more scientifically trained and bigger, stronger, and in better shape than ancient greats.

There are elements of truth to both camps, but life and boxing are considerably more complex than two subjective, unproven points of view. It’s important to remember every fighter was modern in his era before falling into the “retired” category which the brothers will be doing soon enough.

Credible analysis should compare career timelines as well as styles since every fighter starts from scratch and then falls into peaks and valleys representative of their eras and their ablities. No fighter is perfect and all have assorted good and bad days at the office no matter the result. Analysis should have proper context or we could end up having the poorest versions of a fighter against the best versions of other fighters, not valid superfights in the Great Boxing Pantheon for sure.

Since the brothers will be going up against a range of great fighters, let’s start with their strengths and weaknesses so as to not repeat them for every match.

Wlad Strengths: Utilizes his great height, reach, strength and footwork to become one of the best defensive fighters ever, rarely getting hit clean, as well as becoming one of the best ever offensive fighters. He has dominated fights with just his left jab, but he also has a solid right hand and one of the devastating and versatile left hooks in boxing that he seldom uses for some reason. See the last round of the first Peter fight and the KOs of Chambers and Austin as examples of that left hook as well as early and late round knockout power.

Wlad Weaknesses: Has some shaky balance after throwing his right hand which has limited it’s use. He has been hurt and down in the past from big punches, primarily against Corrie Sanders, and has a preference for a hard clinch to a slug out, counter, or brawl, probably because because his timing and mental makeup is all wrong for these inside styles of boxing. Periodically he marks ups  some, but it hasn’t really been a problem because his formidable defense and offense control most of any fight. Had a strange stamina issue earlier in his career that seems to be corrected with some mental discipline.

Vitali strengths: Also utilizes his great height, reach, strength and footwork to become one of the best defensive fighters ever, rarely getting hit clean, as well as becoming one of the best ever offensive fighters. His ability to take a clean punch to the head or body is without question. His ring activity, balance and stamina are excellent and he’s not shy about engaging a slugout or nifty counter as needed. He controls fights with superior command of timing and range such that there is never a need for a crude brawl. He has a heavy handed type of power that few can outlast.

Vitali weaknesses: Though his boxing abilities are still at a zenith in his 40th year, he is 40 now with all the ravages that implies that could cause him to become unstuck in a hard fight as he likely has coming up against Adamek. He has lost 2 fights by “fluke” injury, a torn shoulder and the most shredded face ever seen in modern boxing, so it’s difficult to really count those oddities as a weakness, but like his brother, he has also been marking up slightly in a few fights as expected at his age.

It is telling that both the brothers are pure headhunters like Ali, almost never throwing a body shot, and like Ali, they are arm punchers rather than leveraged punchers as pure sluggers are. Defensively, they also lean away and pull straight back from attacks just like Ali in spite of gross overall differences in style from Ali, so just like Ali, they get away with breaking the rules of boxing convention because it suits their talents and styles.

And like Ali, they absolutely do infuriate their critics to an unhealthy degree, even if they are polar opposites in personalities compared to the flamboyant over the top Ali.

Let’s kickoff the first round with the modern boxer/punchers who were still active in during the start Klitschko era, Lennox Lewis and George Foreman. As such, all fights will be contested under current 12 round, 10 ounce gloves championship rules, a rule that I concede favors the brothers, yet is the most inclusive comparison for all the fighters.

Lewis did pull out a win by the skin of his teeth against the still developing Vitali before hustling off to premature retirement without passing GO to collect the riches of a lifetime. In short, he didn’t fancy the lucrative rematches HBO and fans were begging him for. Critics moan about Lewis’ age, weight, and condition, but the boxing consensus was that he was at the top of his game coming in. I’d favor the improved brothers overall, but perhaps others might chose a younger version of Lewis, say sometime between Golota in 1997 and Tua in 2000, so fair enough, but remember, the brothers are a grade above Golota and Grant, the big men Lewis did defeat handily and wouldn’t be suckered in by Lewis’ brawling tactics in those fights at this stage.

The comeback George seemed to avoid all the big boxer types, but the truth is the 41 yr old version who had Holyfield hanging on for dear life in the closing rounds was good enough to compete with the improved brothers or any heavy in history. His best shot would be against Wlad who has the weaker whiskers, but I’d favor the brothers overall. Still, who can forget a prime Shannon Briggs going on the run after tasting Big George’s power in his last fight nearing 50 yrs of age?

The prime clubber/strongman George, now that’s an all time force of nature right there. Thing is, that Foreman was a wide swinging distance slugger who could struggle against boxers, not a winning recipe for the best distance boxers in history, and he never beat a supersized heavy in his prime. Still, we cannot blithely ignore the chances of one of the strongest, most awkward sluggers in heavyweight history who could cut off the ring quicker than credited, but it’s a different fight going up against the size and style of the brothers. Sam Peter was a poor man’s Foreman as one example. It’s too easy to pick the greater legacy in fantasy matchups as the usual suspects are want to do, but I favor Foreman slightly against Wlad and Vitali against Foreman.

Primo in Numbers

Primo in Numbers

Joe Louis credentials are without question, a near perfect boxer/puncher with perhaps his only real weakness being a leaky defense and shaky chin that sees him on the deck in a number of fights, but then again he was in a BUNCH of title fights! He has the best historical record against supersized heavies such as Primo Carnera, Buddy Baer, and Abe Simon, knocking them out handily by utilizing his underrated footwork, timing and combinations. However, the Klitschkos in their current form are vastly superior to Joe’s big fellas, and both use a new style that leverages their size and strength, also with underrated footwork. Louis was somewhat easy to hit, and as superior boxers at range, the brothers are among the most accurate punchers in boxing history, 99.98% pure head hunters with body shots a rare oddity.

Could Joe ever make it inside for his short counters he was so feared for?

Maybe, but I find it hard to make this more than an even fight in that I feel the 12 rd distance under modern conditions greatly favors the brothers since Joe was something of a slow starter. It’s only the incredible ring achievements of Louis that has me rate him in an otherwise poor style matchup for him. The fight would surely have a lot of tension to it because of the quality of the threats and the boxing nuance.

Let’s move on to the boxer/mover types, Muhammed Ali, Larry Holmes, and Gene Tunney.

Of the three, Gene Tunney is unquestionably the most completely skilled fighter in heavyweight history, he had all the smarts, talents and attributes save size and strength, but does he give up a lotta size, a half foot and some 60 lbs easily. There is little doubt he could move about the ring and avoid most of the punches for 12 rds, but it’s doubtful he’d get credit for a defensive fight only. His offensive forte was at range, another bad style match up against the brothers that gives him little chance.

Holmes vs Cooney

Holmes vs Cooney

Holmes a bigger fighter at 6-3, 210-215 or so, the perfect size for his era which has since fallen by the wayside of today’s heavies. The only titlest he ever beat was Ken Norton in a highly disputed decision with no rematch. The ugly truth was that the Klitschko sized Cooney was outboxing him on the cards before tiring and losing form and points with lowblows. Both brothers are considerably more experienced and proven than Cooney who had feasted on name fighters well past their best to leverage his title shot. Maybe the Holmes rapier jab could open up their faces for a stoppage, his only chance since he cannot outbox them, a distant cutter’s chance for him.

Not the big Ali fan like so many are, but his chances are compellingly intriguing. First off, I can’t see any form of the comeback version of Ali being competitive in spite of 1972 being his best overall year of boxing against quality contenders and 74 being his best win ever against Foreman not to mention the legendary Thrilla in Manila. None of those fights is remotely akin to a Klitschko fight save gloves and trunks.

Ali vs Terrell

Ali vs Terrell

No sir, we’re talking about a prime, peak ali here, 1966-1967 that is an overrated portion of his career, but one that sees him outclass a near Klitschko quality boxer in Ernie Terrell. Ali was at the height of his mercurial quicksilver reflexes that operated in unpredictable free form, sometimes disappearing for portions of a fight, but then striking without warning to change the fight.

There is no doubt his flighty feet were faster and more unpredictably frustrating than Tunney or Holmes, and he had blinding combination capability when he wanted to let loose, but then again, both the brothers are very patient defensive minded boxers with excellent footwork not prone to wild goose chases and hayemakers. I like Ali’s chances enough to make this an even type of unpredictable fight. Could be a stinker or classic, all dependent on what form of Ali showed up in the ring. Terrell held his own in the early going before damaging his eye on the ropes, even roughing up Ali inside with some rights, but the brothers are pure outside boxers, so that fight has little relevance overall other than Terrell being tallish with a good jab and experience that were useless with his damaged eye.

Finally, the last grouping I give the best chances too, the swarmer/bob and weavers, Joe Frazier, Mike Tyson, and Jack Dempsey.

Actually, I don’t give Smokin Joe much of a chance because he’s down on power compared to Dempsey and Tyson and slower to boot, but he could create some difficulty for as long as he lasted due to the brothers reluctance to throw hooks and uppercuts, perfect offensive weapons against low slung bobbing noggins. Frazier did beat the massive Buster Mathis, a technical boxer who never leveraged his size and strength like the brothers, but Big George destroyed him at distance with crude clubbings, not encouraging against the best controlled distance fighters in history.

Jack the Giant Killer

Jack the Giant Killer

Dempsey destroyed some good sized heavies including a similar fighter to the brothers in Jess Willard, but his was the era of 6 ounce gloves, not the 10 ouncers of modern heavyweight championship boxing, so it’s hard to envision Dempsey doing the same damage as he did against Willard, probably the worst beating in boxing history, broken this and knocked loose that. Still, Dempsey used a cautious style to open before exploding, and that element of surprise and his cat quick reflexes coupled with some of the best combination punching in heavy history makes a prime Dempsey a gamer in any fight.

Last, but certainly not least, the young Mike Tyson when he had a professional Hall of Fame team training and managing him was a near perfect fighter to match the Klitschkos, winning almost every contested round and knocking out most every fighter, usually within a few rounds that always seemed to end up as a highlight. Tyson has a record against Big Men to match Joe Louis, his best win coming over the Klitschko sized Tony Tucker who had similar talents even if he fought in a different style to the brothers. Tucker was in his natural prime for the bout with plenty of experience and undefeated, a very underrated fighter given that he was never beaten again until many years later well past his best against a prime Lennox Lewis.

Bruno vs Tyson

Bruno vs Tyson

Tyson, like Dempsey, had very good handspeed and footwork with combination punching that was devastating once they slipped the gaps inside, but Tyson had some extra 25 lbs of power added to his mix and fought under near identical modern rules.

I favor Tyson who was as naturally gifted as any fighter in history and for a brief time maximized his talents with the best professional team ever assembled in boxing. Nobody is gonna beat the brothers at their range, so it’s gonna have to be an inside style fighter although Tyson was best as a midrange combination puncher rather than a classic inside brawler like Dempsey could be.

So, if I were to rate their chances on a numerical scale, here’s the list.

1. Mike Tyson

2. Muhammad Ali

3. Jack Dempsey

4. Joe Louis

5. George Foreman

6. Lennox Lewis.

7. Joe Frazier

8. Larry Holmes

9. Gene Tunney

There’s a large gap between #1, my only favorite and the rest. The #2, 3, & 4 are all competitive fights that swing either way depending on who was on and who was off on the day of the fight, so it’s the first four greats listed who realistically have a decent shot at dethroning the Klitschkos.

Subjective Fantasy Fight outcomes really don’t mean much to the Great Pantheon of Boxing when we know even big favorites can be upset. Let’s delve deeper into the established criticisms of this era.

Some moan about the Klitschko’s not beating anyone and their era being a weak one, but they said the same thing about Joe Louis. The history is such that the heavyweights have never fully satisfied boxing insiders and boxing fans in any era, all being derided for their weak heavyweights, so the weak argument is just that, a terribly weak argument that has never held water.

Same deal with them not beating anyone. Facts are that when they turned pro, they were obligated by contracts to fight on a German promotional banner that was also starting out, so there were problems breaking into the elite US market at the time. Vitali did fly over for a few Mike Tyson fights in the late 90s to drum up interest, but American boxing isn’t much interested today much less back when. Eventually they broke the Don King stranglehold on the division and have had no problems securing top fights since then, nor any problems disposing of the best competition of their boxing careers.

Still, both brothers were Ring ranked by the end of the 90s with Wlad being #1 for most of the time since 2001. You are welcome to peruse my previous article on the Battle of the Weakest links that examines past great heavies’ weakest defenses compared to Vitali:

https://roberto00.wordpress.com/2010/05/28/the-battle-of-the-weakest-links/

And the article detailing the current top 25 heavyweights in boxing and the Klitschko brothers‘ records against them. Warning….it’s pretty impressive:

https://roberto00.wordpress.com/2010/10/06/the-heavyweight-dilemma-vitali-klitschko-vs-shannon-briggs/

While speculation is never written in stone, records is records and those are written in stone and provide much of the basis of my conclusions. If we had a massive tourney involving all these fighters, at the end of the day the best would take their lumps and losses with the worst of them with some odd results mixed in as happens so often in big matchmaking. Anything is possible

Fighters have always been matched up in theory, the perfect excuse to breaking a fight down stylistically enough to justify picking a winner, so there it all is laid out for whomever wants it:

The Klitschkos vs…….

Who you got?

The Remaking of Tomasz Adamek Into a P4P Fighter.

 For the record which can be confusing, Polish heavyweight Tomasz “Goral” Adamek is the champion being referenced as opposed to his namesake who lost his “z,” Tomas “Jumbo” Adamek who fights in Goral’s old lightheavy division.

Tomasz "Goral" Adamek

Tomasz "Goral" Adamek

Goral is becoming something of a modern day boxing legend as a former fight of the year type lightheavy and cruiserweight champion who is being groomed for a major heavyweight title challenge. As a relocated Polish national living and fighting in the US in a waning era of boxing, he may not tick all the ideal celebrity boxes to be marketed to the larger American general public yet, but he has become a celebrity to Poles across the globe and has serious respect from the boxing community.

Since moving up to heavyweight, he’s picked up a new trainer, Ronnie Shields, to complement Roger Bloodworth, both widely respected in the boxing community, and they are adding even more nuance to Goral’s underrated boxing skills as they transform his body into the ideal targeted heavyweight form they have selected, currently 217lbs.

With all the moaning about the heavyweight division that has gone on for well over century now, the handwringers now have a heavy to soothe their tortured souls if they can only dry their eyes as to watch. Adamek really shows up to fight and he is the most decorated prime fighter in the division not named Klitschko, which is good news for next year when it looks like he will want to challenge one or the other.

Goral vs Grant

Goral vs Grant

First he has to get through the intimidating size, strength and power of Michael Grant, a former highly ranked contender who’s career started to sputter after Lennox Lewis demolished him so many years ago. Standing 6-7, 261 lbs of solidly packed muscle, Grant cannot be so easily dismissed as his critics are want to do with careless language.

Even more impressive is the astounding 86” reach of Grant, somewhere approaching off the scale in heavyweight history. Michael Grant was chosen because of that size that is similar to the Klitschko brothers, with a chin dismissed as glass as is a common Wlad descriptor. The assumption is Grant will fight cautiously to protect that fragile chin, looking for his experience to pick a spot for his big shots which are his only chance in this fight.

Which is pretty much the way the Klitschko brothers fight at a higher level of precision and acclaim, thus the need of Adamek to promote his title challenge to them as a genuine threat with a stellar performance ending in a knockout.

Now, Adamek took a little stick when he announced this fight, and maybe a little more when the when even his own team has confessed to turning down title offers from the brothers, but they feel that they are on a fast enough track by being ready next year, so it’s up to them to take care of business to make it so.

As it is, both the brothers are having to defend against inferior opponents, having previously knocked out all the available highly ranked contenders, leaving them bereft of ranked contenders for the big fights they desire.

So everyone has to take care of business since between the three of them, Wlad, Vitali, and Tomaz. They will be facing big punchers weighing in the 240-270 lb range, and surely everyone knows the biggest danger in the BigBoy division is the Big Punch which has derailed many aspirations.

This is the opportunity for Grant to make one last splash in the heavy division and he has Eddie Mustfa Muhammad in his corner, the former lightheavy champ who trains Chad Dawson among other to counter Ronnie Shields. They have their own dreams and have girded their preparations accordingly.

Adamek won’t win many accolades by winning this fight because he is a wide favorite to do it. However, if he fights one of the brothers and does manage the near impossible, to derail their near impregnable defense and near unmatched offensive capabilities, I would imagine putting him near the top of any p4p list as a 3 division record setting champ knocking off one of the all time champs near his best and giving up considerable size to do it.

That is the definition of what an elite pound for pounder is supposed to stand for. Or Adamek could take an easier route to a mega Klitschko bout by picking up the weak WBA belt.

We shall see soon enough where the dreams and Big Money sweeps the fate of Tomasz Adamek to, but he’s already exceeded many expectations and given inspiration to many, not the least being that he has a pronounceable and easily spelled name, a rarity for a Pole, so there ain’t nothing not to like.

Adamek and Grant are two of the nicer gentlemen of boxing, so we wish them well with a good showing by both in their fight tonight.

Goral

Goral