Adamek continued his quest for a title in a third weight class, defeating Jason Estrada by unanimous decision. (Photo via www.tomaszadamek.com.pl)
In Newark, New Jersey, Tomasz Adamek won a unanimous decision in his second heavyweight fight, winning a wide unanimous decision over former U.S. Olympian Jason Estrada. While Adamek won convincingly, it wasn't all smooth sailing, as the light hitting Estrada was able to weat out Adamek and cause him to run out of energy and almost get knocked out late in the fight. The official scores were 115-113, 116-112 and 118-110, all in favor of Adamek. Bad Left Hook officially had it 116-112 in favor of Adamek.
Early in the fight, Adamek showed off what seemed to be a vast difference in skill between the two fighters and managed to entertain with his defensive prowess as much as his offensive prowess. During the first few rounds, Estrada was able to land some right hands and the rounds were fairly even, but as Adamek settled in, he dominated the middle rounds with strong body work and evasive actions. However, Estrada managed to turn things around in the late rounds. About halfway through round 9, Adamek gassed out, and Estrada took advantage for a few rounds, using his extra weight to impose himself on Adamek. In the 11th round, Adamek got his wind back, and the two warred it out. In the 12th round, Adamek mostly focused on not getting knocked out, while Estrada came forward and really tried to take it in what he thought was a close fight. In the end, it was too little too late for Estrada, who might have had a chance had he applied more pressure in the early rounds.
One good thing to report is that Adamek really LOOKED like a heavyweight. He weighed in at a solid 220 pounds, and it looked like almost all of that was muscle. He was pretty ripped through the back and in his legs, which means two things. First, there's no chance he'll ever be fighting at cruiserweight again. The money just isn't there, and it would really drain him badly to make it back there now. Second, it means he looks like a legitimate heavyweight. I was skeptical that he was big enough to really make it at cruiserweight, and even more skeptical that he could make it at heavy, but he's gotten there. I know this isn't a beauty contest, but he's now one of only four top heavies who looks like he takes training seriously.
Despite looking like a heavyweight, he still fought like a light heavyweight. Adamek feinted, moved in and out, fought off the back foot, kept his feet moving all fight and slipped lots of punches - things in short supply in the heavyweight division.
On the other hand, late in the fight, his roots at a smaller weight became apparrent. When Adamek was tired, "Big Six" was able to impose his weight on Adamek. This may be a concern as he faces stronger heavyweights, as Estrada is generally acknowledged to be a light hitter.
Hopefully this leads to bigger and better things for Adamek. Despite the fact that he's one of the most exciting fighters north of welterweight, he's had difficulty getting TV dates. Now that he's at heavyweight instead of in a cruiserweight division that no network seems to have interesting in touting, he may have an easier time getting on those networks. One rumored bout had been a matchup between Adamek and Cristobal Arreola. Hopefully Main Events, Goosen-Tutor and HBO can make that one happen, because on paper it's the best heavyweight bout that's happened since Lennox Lewis faced Vitali Klitschko.
On the undercard, Peter "Kid Chocolate" Quillin struggled to a wide unanimous decision against Fernando Zuniga. While Quillin was obviously the quicker and stronger fighter, Zuniga frequently had little trouble connecting with Quillin, who appears to have stalled out a level below many expected him to get to. On the other hand, he was shaking off some rust from a long layoff, and he started to look better late in the fight when Zuniga tired out. Even as such, it was far from the dominant performance that the scorecards would suggest, and Quillin showed a number of fundamental flaws in his game, and both fighters did next to nothing for the last two rounds. Here's to hoping he can stay more active and start to improve upon his game again.