Sunday, July 5, 2009

Slimmed-down Eddie Chambers Dominates In Germany

Michael Nelson gives his thoughts on Eddie Chambers' performance yesterday in his impressive victory over Alexander Dimitrenko.

"Fast" Eddie Chambers proved the naysayers wrong Saturday, thrashing the favored Alexander Dimitrenko. One of those naysayers being me.

He said he'd snatch the WBO title eliminator by winning so convincingly he couldn't be denied victory, even in Dimitrenko's backyard. Judge Paul Thomas tried his best to deny him anyway with an incomprehensible 113-113 card (more on him later), but his two colleagues made certain that justice prevailed with scorecards of 116-111 and 117-109. I was a non-believer, having heard Eddie say the same before, just to look hesitant and lackluster against Calvin Brock, Alexander Povetkin, and Sam Peter.

An indication that he wasn't selling wolf tickets this time was when he weighed in at 208 and 1/4th pounds Friday, the second lowest of his nearly nine year career. He didn't exactly have a six-pack, but he was clearly more defined in his chest, back, and shoulders. The man came to put some hurt on his much larger foe.

The first four rounds were competitive, though largely controlled by the Pennsylvania native. Dimitrenko found it difficult to hit his 6'1" inch target, as Chambers did a good job slipping jabs and ducking under right hands. And every time Dimitrenko left his left hand out as a measuring tool, Chambers didn't just slap it away, he nailed it with a left hook. Fast Eddie was showing wrinkles to his game that seemed to frustrate the 26 year old giant.

In round five, the beating began; Chambers would move Dimitrenko around with stiff jabs and counter right hands, and strafe him with him left hooks and uppercuts when he got him along the ropes. Compounding Dimitrenko's issues was the punishment he received whenever Chambers directed his attention towards the midsection. He turned his back to Chambers and doubled over in pain in the 7th while complaining about a kidney punch as Referee Genaro Rodriguez gave him a standing eight count. Alexander would react badly to a body shot at least two other times in the remainder of the fight.

Eddie punctuated the most impressive win of his career by knocking Dimitrenko down with a beautiful left hook in the 10th, and rocking him several times in the final stanza.

To be sure, while Chambers noticeably increased his punch output, he wasn't exactly '92 Holyfield in there. He had a hurt, gassed man in front of him throughout the second half of the bout and didn't apply enough pressure to stop him. He still lacks a certain blood lust. But he threw his hands enough to be dominant, and if he continues fighting at that pace against opponents more dangerous than Alexander Dimetrenko, he'll be a tough man to handle for anyone.

Indeed, something is in the air. 2009 has been a comeback year for talented fighters who have refused to let their hands go in the past. In the last four months, we've seen Brian Viloria, Rocky Juarez, and now Eddie Chambers give inspiring efforts against opponents who were sizable favorites over them. Each man has recently been through a rebuilding process with a new, highly acclaimed trainer. In Eddie's case, Rob Murray Sr., who trained Steve Little and Will Taylor, took over after the Povetkin fight to smooth some of Eddie's technical deficiencies.

It appears to have paid off. Now he's in line for a shot at Wladimir Klitschko. If he comes in similar shape, he may make it an interesting fight. He'd undoubtedly have to apply more even pressure, and learn how to work harder inside of the clinch against someone who would drape his arms over him as soon as he got close.

But for now the slimmed-down Chambers has introduced himself as a major player in the division. A David amongst Goliaths, he may be the best heavyweight America has.


Judge Paul Thomas managed to score Saturday's fight 113-113. Think about that. He found seven rounds to give to Dimitrenko.

I've seen incompetence, and this is stretching beyond incompetence. To score seven rounds for Dimitrenko would mean to give at least two of Chambers' dominant rounds to the German in addition to the competitive ones. There weren't seven rounds anywhere near close enough to even feign legitimacy for a 113-113 scorecard.

Thomas, a man from the United Kingdom, seems to have become favored by the German promotion company Universum. This year, he's judged bouts involving Firat Arslan, Denis Boytsov, Ruslan Chagaev, and Andriy Kotelnik.

Make your own conclusions.

e-mail Michael Nelson