I’ve been lucky enough to witness hundreds of excellent boxing matches throughout the years, and several of the have been classics. One that sticks out in my mind was back in 2005 in Chicago, when Tomasz Adamek of Poland went at it against Australian Paul Briggs for 12 rounds for the vacant WBC light heavyweight title.
It was a brutal, back and forth fight with toe-to-toe action for 12 rounds. Both of them were bruised and bleeding, and I thought it was a shame somebody had to lose, because they’d given so much. Adamek left the United Center with the belt that night after winning a majority decision and I thought he’d become a star in the sport.
He and Briggs went at it again in another classic a year later and Adamek was dropped in the first round and lost a point for a low blow in the ninth, but he walked away with another majority decision. Just four months later Adamek was in the ring against American Chad Dawson and lost his belt by a wide unanimous decision. Many fans figured the two wars against Briggs had taken so much out of Adamek that his career as an elite fighter was basically over.
But Adamek’s still here and, at the age of 34, his boxing skills have actually gotten better over the years. His chin’s about as solid as they come. Other than Dawson, he’s never been beaten and has a stellar record of 42-1, with 27 KOs. But unless you’re a serious boxing fan or Polish, chances are you’ve never heard of Adamek.
And that’s a shame because he’s still one of the most exciting and underrated fighters on the scene and could become just the fourth light heavyweight champ in history to win the heavyweight title -- after Mike Spinks, Michael Moorer and Roy Jones Jr.
This is because Adamek’s risen through the ranks via the cruiserweight division and has been fighting as a heavyweight since October of 2009. On the way he’s picked up the IBO Cruiserweight Title, the IBF Cruiserweight Title, the IBF International Heavyweight Title, and the WBO NABO Heavyweight Championship.
His first fight at heavyweight was against Polish boxing enigma and legend Andrew Golota, who outweighed Adamek by 42 lbs. It was the biggest fight in Polish boxing history and the smaller man won by TKO in the fifth round, stunning experts. Adamek then won three straight decisions against some decent heavyweights by beating Jason Estrada, Chris Arreola, and Michael Grant. He gave away 17 lbs. to Estrada, 33 lbs. to Arreola, and 61 to Grant. The fight against Arreola, who was considered to be one of the best prospects in the world, was a majority decision.
But while Adamek’s relatively small for a heavyweight these days at just over 6 foot 2 and about 217 lbs., he’s shown he can handle the big boys of the division and his ultimate goal is to win a heavyweight title, preferably from one of the Klitschkos. He’s taking it slowly but steadily and will be entering the ring for the fifth time in 14 months on Dec. 9 at the Prudential Center in New Jersey when he takes on the rough and tumble Vinny Maddalone (33-6, 24 Kos).
This might be seen as a break for Adamek since Maddalone’s about the same height (and two years older), but it’s a fight he definitely can’t afford to lose if he has any hopes of a title fight in the near future. Adamek’s ranked number four in the world at heavyweight by the WBC, 10th by the WBA, third by the IBF, and number one by the WBO.
Adamek’s had an excellent career and a heavyweight title would top it off nicely, but it’s too bad people are tuning in at the end of his career instead of the start.