Tomasz Adamek Has to Get Past Chris Arreola to Get to History By Gabriel Montoya, MaxBoxing (April 23, 2010) Special to Doghouse Boxing
It’s been three years since Tomasz Adamek, 40-1 (27), lost the light heavyweight title to Chad Dawson in a 12-round slugfest in February 2007. After two exciting wars with Paul Briggs and the Dawson loss, many in the sport of boxing felt that the then-30-year-old Polish slugger might be at the end of the road. But Adamek had other plans. In June of that year, he moved up to cruiserweight and began a successful campaign that ended with Adamek taking an portion of that division’s crown via a split decision over Steve Cunningham in December 2008.
Suddenly, Adamek went from ex-champion to ruler of the smaller big men. But after the division’s biggest cash cow David Haye vacated his cruiserweight title to fight at heavyweight, Adamek decided the time was right to move on up as well.
“There was not really a point to fighting at cruiserweight because there was not anyone there,” Adamek told Maxboxing.com this past Tuesday. “I beat everybody. What is the point of repeating what I did already? At heavyweight, it’s a new challenge and something I want to do.”
With two litmus test fights against faded fellow Polish contender Andrew Golota in late 2009, and then Jason Estrada in early 2010, Adamek now stands on the precipice of his biggest challenge yet when he faces Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola, 28-1 (25), this Saturday night on HBO’s “Boxing After Dark” live from the Citizen’s Bank Arena in Ontario, CA. In Estrada and Golota, Adamek didn’t face top-level fighters in that Golota was pretty past it and Estrada is a skilled fighter, but not a big power puncher. In Arreola, Adamek is now facing a legit heavyweight contender who appears focused, ready and dangerous. But Adamek believes in himself like few others. He understands that this third division campaign is most likely his most dangerous, but also his chance at boxing immortality.
“I’m on a mission to do something no boxer has ever done,” Adamek said. “I want to be the first light heavyweight, cruiserweight and heavyweight world champion. So I’m fighting for myself and history.
Arreola has claimed that Adamek is not a true heavyweight and that he will feel the difference in punching power early and often. But, to Adamek, fighting at heavyweight as a smaller man is an advantage.
“Actually, fighting at the heavier weights has been better for me because the guys are slower,” he explained. “I can see the punches better and they take longer to get there.”
Beyond Arreola lies heavyweight glory and gold. Adamek, has long been a draw in both his native country of Poland as well as Chicago, which has a large Polish population. Adamek has also become a draw in New Jersey, where he has frequently sold out the Prudential Center. But now he is facing Arreola in Ontario, just a stone’s throw from his hometown of Riverside, CA. To Adamek, it makes no difference. His experience and skills are what he feels matter most in this fight.
“I know what Arreola is about but I jumped at the offer to fight him,” he explained. “There was no hesitation. It makes no difference that this fight is in his backyard. The most important thing for me is to win and I am very confident.”
The question comes down to how he can win. Adamek is a classic intelligent brawler. He loves to close the long range gap and shoot inside to the body and then work his way up to the head. At light heavy, he could get you out with one shot due to his heavy hands. But as he has moved up, he has become more of a “war of attrition”-type fighter, mixing up his attack, moving when he has to, and then closing the show strong. Adamek attributes this change to what he considers his greatest strength as a fighter.
“One of my main strengths is my ability to adapt, so I have a lot of options. I am prepared for everything Arreola brings to the fight. You can say whatever beforehand, but it’s how you deal with what’s happening in the ring when it happens that counts, and I will know what to do when it’s time to do it. This is one of my biggest strengths: unpredictability. I can change from round to round. I can change inside the round. So he cannot tell how I will fight. Maybe I will fight one round one way and another one in a different way. So he cannot know because I don’t even know. I will react to whatever he doesn’t like me to do. This is what I will do. This is something you are born with. I realized I could go from defense to offense very seamlessly when I was very young. So for me, it was not like a specific thing I was doing. Whether I was running well or defending well or I am attacking. It doesn’t work like that. I can be like a chameleon. You don’t know what I will do because I can surprise you anytime I want.”
When pressed a little further to see if Adamek was going to run as Arreola has predicted or if he will mix up his attack. He smiled and simply said, “You have to wait until Saturday.”
A fighter rarely changes his stripes. Once a boxer or brawler, generally, always a boxer or brawler. But experience against top opposition over a long period of time- such as Adamek has had- gives you, at the very least, more tools in your bag. Adamek is counting on that heading into Saturday. It is a day that is 100% focused on. What lies beyond or before is of little consequence to him.
“I am not really looking forward beyond the 24th,” said Adamek. “First, we finish the chapter of Chris Arreola and then we will see and think about what happens next. Everything is possible. I expect a tough fight, of course, and nothing else. All fights at this level are tough and one punch can change everything. I will fight smart and box. I am not going to just stand there in front of him, but I won’t run either. I should prove I am a very good boxer. Whether I will win by points or knocking him out makes no difference. I just have to prove that I can win and show good boxing.”