By Lee Payton
Photo © Marty Rosengarten / Ringsidephotos.com
As expected, Tomasz Adamek took care of business with a 5th round stoppage of faded former heavyweight contender, Andrew Golota. This one was really all about money, as it's been many years since Golota has shown he can fight at a world class level. The show took place in Lodz, Poland to maximize profits, and in the end everything worked out nicely for Adamek in his first foray into the heavyweight division.
Golota came out unusually fast during the first 3 rounds, probably knowing that he has too many miles - not to mention pounds, as he came in at a career high 256 - to fight the scheduled 12 rounds. To his credit, he did try his best to come forward and land the big one, but it was not to be. He found himself on the canvas in the first, evidence that his legs just aren't what they were.
Adamek thrived under the bigger man's pressure and used it to showcase some of his seldom seen boxing skills. This was not the stone-faced terminator who is only looking to line up a short right hand. On this night, "Goral" used educated feet to sidestep his opponent's rushes, and swift combination punching to do the damage.
By round 4 Golota was still trying, but had slowed down considerably. He was breathing heavily and his enthusiasm seemed to be sagging. A familiar sight. The end was near.
Adamek landed his money punch at the start of round 5, and it sent the old guy to the canvas. He got up, but was swamped by a world class fighter in his prime. A few more solid shots later and Golota was on skates, prompting referee Bill Clancy to call a halt to the exhibition.
With the win, Adamek picks up a ranking in the IBF's top 15 at heavyweight. No one is sure whether he will continue to fight the big guys or if he'll go back down to cruiser to defend his world title.
Usually smaller fighters move up because the heavyweights make more money, and no doubt that would be the appeal for Adamek, as potential fights with either of the Klitschko brothers would generate mega-bucks.
Is it worth it though? Does Adamek have a realistic chance of even being competitive with the giant Ukrainians, or even one of the smaller top heavies like Alexander Povetkin, David Haye or Eddie Chambers?
Given his frame once allowed him to compete at 175, and taking into account that Steve Cunningham had him wobbling badly in the 4th round of their cruiserweight fight, you have to seriously question whether Adamek has the capacity to absorb the kind of fire-power he'll be facing against the big men.
To put it bluntly, going in that direction seems like a cash-out, and with the potential to reign for a few more years at cruiserweight, is that a wise idea at this stage? Especially when you consider that Adamek should be able to make some decent money at 200 pounds. He can obviously draw well in his native Poland, but he's also proven himself a big draw at the Prudential Center in New Jersey where his last 3 bouts have done very well.
Besides, there are fights below heavyweight that fight fans want to see.
A rematch of that incredible fight with Steve Cunningham would be a great place to start. It's an irresistible clash of styles that has already proven to be TV-friendly. Cunningham has been lobbying for a return bout, but in the meantime is settling for a chance to reclaim his belt - vacated by Adamek - against Matt Godfrey.
Ola Afolabi is another top guy who could make for an exciting night. Earlier in the year he knocked out Enzo Maccarinelli and will now be taking on undefeated Marco Huck for a title belt.
I'm not sure what's going on with the enigmatic Guillermo Jones these days, but that's another potentially violent scrap.
Whatever does happen next - it must be worthwhile. After Jonathan Banks, Bobby Gunn and now Andrew Golota, fans are anxiously waiting to see Adamek take on someone they think has a serious chance.
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Sunday, October 25, 2009
By Lee Payton