By: Ronald Cameron
As many parents and sports fans all around the world are relieved that their kids are back in school and that football season is right around the corner, we as boxing fans understand that boxing has no off-season which is part of what makes boxing such a great sport. This Saturday night, the WBC Heavyweight Champion Vitali Klitschko (42-2 with 39 knockouts) will defend his title against the former Light Heavyweight and Cruiserweight Champion Tomasz Adamek (44-1 with 28 knockouts).
Vitali has been dominant since returning to boxing after a four year retirement. He dismantled Sam Peter in his comeback fight winning the WBC title and he’s defended his title 6 times, rarely losing a round in the process. Since losing his Light-Heavyweight title to Chad Dawson 4 years ago, Adamek has been on a 13-fight winning streak, winning a Cruiserweight title and then later moving up into the Heavyweight division and he beat Andrew Golota, Chris Arreola and Michael Grant, three big heavyweights.
Now to be fair, I can understand why some boxing fans are skeptical about this fight. A few months ago, Vitali’s younger brother Wladimir Klitschko, the REAL Heavyweight Champion, fought in a unification Heavyweight title “fight” against the much smaller WBA Heavyweight Champion, David Haye. Haye ran and ducked for 12 rounds and when the fight was over, Haye blamed his poor performance on his broken toe. It was yet another fight where one of the Klitschko brothers dominated a much smaller opponent, yet at the same time they often don’t look impressive in doing so.
It would be fair to assume based on the size difference and how dominant Vitali has been over the years that this fight will be a mismatch just like so many Klitschko fights, but I will offer a few opinions as to why this fight could be very competitive.
Adamek will be fighting in his homeland of Poland
In this day and age, it’s rare to see a challenger fighting for a World title in his homeland but this weekend Adamek will have home-field advantage fighting in his homeland of Poland. One example of this was when challenger Ricky Hatton took on IBF Light-Welterweight Champion Kostya Tszyu in Hatton’s backyard in Manchester, Lancashire, UK. Hatton fought the fight of his life that night and he dethroned the future Hall of Fame champion when Tszyu could not continue after the end of the 11th round.
That was rare exception, yet Adamek has this advantage going into this fight and this should help the challenger. If the fight is close late in the fight, that extra boost of energy that the crowd can provide to fighters can help get them through some rough times, so this could help Adamek if the fight goes into the late rounds.
Adamek is not afraid to mix it up against bigger opponents, but he will have to choose his battles very carefully.
Unlike David Haye against Wladimir, you can count on Adamek giving his best effort against Vitali and at some point he will stand toe to toe and trade shots with the much bigger champion. The real question is when will he take the chance? It will be important for Adamek to box smart and take advantage of his superior hand and foot speed.
As Adamek has shown in his career, he has good boxing skills and he likes to throw fast combinations to the head and body. It will be important for Adamek to choose his battles carefully and try to wear down Vitali because the champion has tremendous power in his right hand and he out-weighs the challenger by about 35 pounds. If Adamek tries to please his fans and tries to go for an early knockout, this could be a colossal mistake.
As we know, Father Time waits for no one. Will Vitali start to show his age in this fight?
As we have seen so many times in boxing and in other sports, there comes a time when athletes reach their peak and eventually they start to slow down. Will this happen to Vitali this weekend? Now to be fair, Vitali has shown no signs of slowing down even at the age of 40. He has only taken a real beating once in his career and in that fight (against Lennox Lewis) Vitali gave as much as he took in that battle.
But good old Father Time shows up without a warning, without an invitation, so there is no way of knowing if he will be making an appearance this weekend, but I will say that it will not surprise me if he had a ringside seat and was wearing a huge clock around his neck. Will that be enough to slow down Vitali enough for Adamek to take advantage of? It all depends on if Adamek sticks to his game-plan and if he can avoid Vitali’s bombs.
The biggest question for me is this: Can Adamek take Vitali’s best shots?
Adamek has fought some big Heavyweights, but no one who has the sheer size and power that Vitali possesses. Can Adamek withstand Vitali’s power shots? To be honest, I’m not so sure that he can, so it will be important for Adamek to go to the body early and often against Vitali which could take some of the power off of his punches, especially late in the fight. Vitali has a good jab, so it will not be easy getting inside against him, but if he stays outside against Vitali, he will get picked apart.
Can Adamek hurt Vitali? I sincerely doubt it because Vitali has a very good chin and Adamek does not possess one-punch knockout power. Adamek is more of a volume puncher, who wears his opponents down with an accumulation of punches during the course of a fight.
Prediction: This will be a better fight than most people expect it to be.
I provided many reasons as to how Adamek could shock the boxing world and upset Vital, but who’s going to win the fight this weekend? I won’t give a prediction as to who will win this fight, but I will predict that this fight will be a MUCH better fight than many boxing fans believe it will be. This will NOT be a replay of Wladimir’s one-sided win over the smaller David Haye, this will be a very competitive fight that will go down to the wire. Could Father Time make an appearance and alter the outcome? Tune in and find out. I know I will.