Before we really get into the recap, I cannot let it get buried under analysis and "hey, what a guy this guy is" talk -- it has to be up front. After his 12-round majority decision victory, Tomasz Adamek was asked by HBO's Max Kellerman if he was ever hurt in the fight. Adamek said no, and remarked that he was "too quick" for Cristobal Arreola. Then he unleashed a great, great quote:
"I am Highlander! I have chin! Hard chin!"
After that, Max spoke with the defeated Arreola, who made sure to note that he felt the judges' scorecards (117-111 and 115-113 Adamek, plus a 114-114 draw) were correct, thanked Adamek's small but vocal Polish cheering section for coming, and called Adamek "a great motherf***er." He also remarked that, with the swelling on his face, he looked "like f***ing Shrek."
So, there you have it. Recap over.
OK, we'll go on. Adamek (41-1, 27 KO) boxed a disciplined, smart fight tonight against Arreola (28-2, 25 KO), occasionally getting himself in trouble but mostly dominating the action. Bad Left Hook scored it 117-111 for Adamek, but it was an entertaining fight that felt like a powder keg. Throughout the action until the end, when Arreola injured his hand and spent the last two-plus rounds bleeding and grimacing in pain, it felt like Arreola could land a shot that would blow Adamek away at any moment. But Adamek just proved himself a higher level and more complete fighter than Arreola.
I also decided during the fight, with Arreola fighting like a really brave, really valiant guy (including waving off referee Jack Reiss when Reiss considered stopping it due to the hand injury), that I don't care about his weight anymore. It is not going to change. Why focus on that when the fact of the matter is, Arreola is one of the only consistently entertaining heavyweights we have? He's not a great fighter. He's not a world-beater. A disciplined boxer will almost always beat him. He's never going to come in ripped. The man has boobs. They're gonna jiggle when he fights. But he's gonna fight. And at this point, I'm willing to simply accept that when I tune in to see Cristobal Arreola fight, he'll fight.
Adamek is now in an interesting spot. He's a good fighter, and I think he's a legit heavyweight. But he's a small heavyweight. He didn't have the stamina issues tonight that hurt him against Jason Estrada, but against a Klitschko he'd have just an awful time. He's said he'd be ready to fight Wladimir or Vitali by the end of 2010, and he might well do it (I don't think he lacks for guts). But he won't win. He can't beat either of them. He's just not big enough. If he were 6'4" and a solid 230-240, maybe he could. He's got the brains and the style and the brass. But he is just not a big enough man.
If he doesn't look to fight one of the Klitschkos next, I'd expect him to fight a fringe contender, maybe a tall guy. Maybe someone like Alexander Dimitrenko. That might give him the test he needs to see how he deals with that sort of height and reach, and Dimitrenko is a decent enough fighter that he'd get some real work. But we've seen Dimitrenko picked apart by Eddie Chambers, too. Adamek could use Dimitrenko as a good stepping stone.
Arreola? He'll fight someone. He'll be back. I wouldn't mind seeing him and Chambers mix it up next. They could both use the win, and it'd be a test for both of them. Chambers can fight smart, too, and he's quick. Can Arreola deal with Chambers? Can Chambers deal with Arreola's power and recklessness?
Tony Thompson is another possibility. Thompson and Arreola have traded words in the recent past, and frankly if Goossen Tutor was hoping that Arreola was still a bit of a golden goose, that's probably over with now. Arreola-Thompson is just a good fight to figure who their best heavyweight is.
In the co-feature, Alfredo Angulo knocked out a game and sharp Joel Julio with a counter right hand in the 11th round. I had Angulo ahead 96-94 at that point. Julio was following the script that Kermit Cintron laid out last year, but he's not quite as good as Cintron, and Angulo clearly learned some things from that fight. This was the best Joel Julio has looked since before his first defeat against Carlos Quintana a few years back. Julio seemed re-energized, re-focused, and like he had a good idea of what he wanted to do. Unfortunately, he wound up on the short end again. After the fight, Julio seemed a bit crushed by the loss, and it's hard to blame him. He fought to the best of his ability against a good opponent and again came up short.
But Julio did show some real improvement with his new corner tonight, and there just might be a new window opened for him. Angulo (18-1, 15 KO) and Julio (35-4, 31 KO) both showed granite chins and a lot of resolve. It was a heck of a good fight, and part of a weekend of some phenomenal boxing. With these two fights, Froch-Kessler, Munroe-Terrazas and Hammond-Concepcion, it's hard to ask for more.
We'll have more on tonight's big fights tomorrow, and we also kick off Big Fight Week coverage this week for the May 1 fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Shane Mosley. Stick with us this week, because we're going to have a lot of good stuff for you. Thanks for joining us tonight!