Adamek Squeaks by Cunningham in Boxing's Return to NBC
By Rob Tierney at ringside, Doghouse Boxing and Brick City Boxing (Dec 24, 2012) Doghouse Boxing
afternoon, boxing again returned to a place where most fight fans feel
it always should be. For the second week in a row, Boxing was back on
network TV. Last week the sport was featured on CBS and this week it saw
airtime on NBC. Equally significant however, was the network’s decision
to showcase the Heavyweight division, a trend that boxing pundits hope
attraction of the evening featured Tomasz “Goral” Adamek (47-2) in a
highly anticipated rematch against former Cruiserweight rival Steve
“USS” Cunningham (22-4). The fight was fought at the Sands Casino Resort
in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
knockdowns propelled Adamek to a victory over Cunningham in their first
encounter back in 2008. On this occasion however, Adamek needed to
prevail in what proved to be a fight to the finish in order to squeak
out a decision over Cunningham on two of the three judges’ scorecards.
was close. In fact, the fight was so close that neither Adamek’s die
hard coalition of Polish supporters nor Cunningham’s entourage of
Philadelphia fans could have reasonably filed a legitimate complaint.
Regardless of which fighter fans may have cheered, the fight was fought
within the margin of human judging error.
the fight, Cunningham snapped a crisp, clean jab at range as Adamek
attempted to steal close rounds with flurries in the final seconds of
each round. Both men had their moments which seemed to come to fruition,
more often than not, in the final seconds before the bells tolled.
Still, heading into the Championship rounds, Cunningham seemed to have
the edge. Unfortunately for Cunningham however, the final rounds may
have ultimately been where Steve lost the fight.
In the final
rounds, Adamek was pressing the action. It proved to be the determining
factor in pushing him over the necessary edge which was needed to seal
the deal. While Cunningham did not coast in the final rounds, he did
appear to be holding back ever so slightly compared to the earlier
rounds. Upon review during future days, Cunningham’s closing
cautiousness may come to haunt him.
Just as a
previous panel did in 2008, two of three judges seated at ringside today
awarded a competitive fight to Tomasz Adamek after all was complete.
Although it was initially ruled a draw on ringside judge Debra Barnes
scorecard, the result was quickly recalculated concluding in a split
decision victory for Adamek after it was determined that Barnes’ card
was added incorrectly. While some at ringside suspected foul play, it
must be noted that 115 to 115 simply did not add up, and clearly did not
make sense, in a twelve round fight that saw each fighter win close
rounds while staying off the canvass. The mistake was most likely the
result of Main Event’s last minute push to rush the verdict to Michael
Buffer before NBC was scheduled to switch over to a previously scheduled
recording. Regardless, most ringside observers would not have been
surprised if the decision went the other way.
first fight, Cunningham claimed that he would “box more” if granted a
rematch. He did. However, in a fight of such competitive nature, a
knockdown is often needed in order to strip away a belt strap from a
defending Champion. Cunningham could not provide one.
first encounter, Adamek scored three knockdowns which catapulted him
past a then IBF Cruiserweight Champion Steve “USS” Cunningham. This
year, Cunningham was the challenger and he did not provide the packing,
power filled Heavyweight punch necessary to knock down Adamek and move
past a now IBF North American Heavyweight Champion Tomasz Adamek on the
scorecards. Yet, both fighters did their part for the sport by bringing
their A game in a bout that saw steady action and displayed more than
enough drama and skill to keep even the casual, network television
observer from changing the channel. Hopefully, it did more than that and
convinced NBC, and other networks, to showcase the sport, specifically
the Heavyweight division, on more Saturday afternoons in the future.
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