Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Shobox Preview: Adamek vs Banks

Michael Nelson takes a look at the upcoming Shobox card.

***Check out The Boxing Bulletin's recap of the Shobox card, plus action from FNF as well: Shobox/FNF recap***

ShoBox comes back Friday night with a card that should produce some thrills. The main event features IBF and IBO Cruiserweight champion Tomasz Adamek (36-1) taking on the undefeated Johnathon Banks (20-0). In the co-feature, Colombian knockout artist Dionisio Miranda (19-3) battles Giovanni Lorenzo (26-1) in an IBF Middleweight title eliminator.

With pedigree largely developed in the legendary Kronk gym in Detroit, Michigan, under the tutelage of Emmanuel Steward, the heavy-handed Johnathon Banks has knocked out fourteen of his opponents, all within five rounds.

Boxing fans may remember him for his scintillating 2006 bout with Eliseo Castillo on Wednesday Night Fights, in which Banks found himself on the canvas twice in the first round. Banks showed tremendous heart by coming back to put Castillo down for the count three rounds later. Castillo hasn’t stepped inside the ring since.

In his last fight, he traveled to Germany to face Vincenzo Rossito on the undercard of Wladimir Klitschko’s bout with Tony Thompson. It was his biggest test since Castillo, a measuring stick to see how he compares with the likes of former Cruiserweight star David Haye and former contender Alexander Gurov, both of whom knocked out Rossito in two rounds.

Banks won a majority decision, but failed to impress. Not only was he out of gas by the 6th round, but it looked as if he didn’t know how to handle the fatigue, often turning his back to his opponent with body language that loudly expressed his desire for the fight to end. To his credit, he badly staggered Rossito with a right hand in the final round, which ultimately won him the fight.

Hopefully, it was a learning experience for Banks, because Tomasz Adamek’s short right is a punishing tutor. Adamek made the boxing world take notice with his two spectacular wars against Paul Briggs, earning a majority decision victory in both. After a lopsided loss to rising phenom Chad Dawson in early 2007, Adamek stepped up to the Cruiserweight division and regained his stature as one of the more dangerous fighters in boxing by beating O’Neil Bell into submission in 2008.

Then, last December in a fight of the year candidate, he dropped the favored Steve Cunningham three times to win a split decision.

To those keeping count at home, he has been in three fight of the year candidates: in 2005 (Paul Briggs), 2006 (Paul Briggs), and 2008 (Steve Cunningham). It’s difficult for this man not to be in a good fight.

Johnathon Banks may be able to hang his hat on the fact that Steve Cunningham rocked Adamek in the third round of their classic. But with a distinct disadvantage in speed, technique, and stamina, he has little more than a puncher’s chance. I expect Adamek to take Banks out in the middle rounds as Banks begins to tire.

On the undercard, Giovanni Lorenzo looks to bounce back from his loss to Raul Marquez eight months ago against hard-hitting Dionisio Miranda. Lorenzo’s speed of foot and hand may carry the day, but if he didn’t like the pressure that Raul Marquez brought to him, I imagine he won’t enjoy the duress Miranda will bring. Both men can pop and neither man has a great chin, so look for a knockout here as well.

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JRH said...

This is going to be a great weekend of boxing, beginning with Glen Johnson-Daniel Judah on FNF.

Adamek is nearly incapable of making a bad fight. I saw his loss to Chad Dawson live, and even then he was exciting (scoring a knockdown, too). I'm a huge Steve Cunningham fan and hope for a rematch, but Adamek might not receive the credit he deserves.

Giovanni Lorenzo fails to impress with his lazy approach to the sport. Even if he rebounds, fans will always be skeptical of whether he's coming to fight or just get a paycheck. I'm almost rooting for Miranda to knock him out, just to be rid of him.

Great work, as usual.