Tomasz Adamek wasn't spectacular, but he put on another good fight in the heavyweight division, decisioning Michael Grant over 12 rounds in Newark. Adamek won on scores of 117-111, 118-110 and 118-111. Bad Left Hook scored it 117-111 for Adamek.
Adamek (42-1, 27 KO) build up a big early lead over a slow, tentative Grant (46-4, 34 KO), but Grant shook Adamek up a couple of times in the fight, and won a few rounds. The 12th round was especially exciting, as Grant gave about all he had left seeking the upset knockout. Adamek was able to survive and move another step closer to a truly major money fight at heavyweight.
From an analytical standpoint, I found the fight very interesting. As chinny as Grant has been in his career, Adamek never really hurt him, and he landed some good, hard shots. On the other hand, I thought Adamek showed a real aversion to being hit by Grant, often looking like he wanted absolutely nothing to do with mixing it up with the big man.
This has come up in Adamek's other bouts at heavyweight, too. He tired against Jason Estrada and had some trouble late in that fight. He seemed to bounce and even leap back when hit by Cristobal Arreola, feeling that power. And Grant wobbled him a few times and made him very aware of who had the thunder in the ring. Throw in the fact that Adamek doesn't have game-changing power himself, and you have a recipe for a fighter who will almost always put on better-than-average heavyweight fights, but one who I think would have to be considered a fairly heavy underdog against any of the division's top names. David Haye is fast and powerful, Wladimir Klitschko has concussive power, and Vitali Klitschko throwing arm punches has some thudding strength left.
Can Adamek deal with all of that? Outside of Estrada, the guys he's fought at heavyweight are not hard to outbox. Haye, for all his mouthiness, is no scrub. He's a legitimate talent and a well-rounded fighter. The Klitschkos are both very good boxers, and they have massive size advantages against Adamek.
I would say after watching this fight that Adamek can't be expected to ever rise above being the fourth-best heavyweight in the world. That is not to say I don't appreciate his quest. Adamek is a double-tough guy with more pure talent than just about anyone in the division. He's a better boxer than most. But he's also a bit awkward in there at heavyweight, particularly against Arreola and Grant, because he has to be careful to not get hit flush. That's true of everyone, of course, but Adamek is one of those guys who feels like he's always one big punch away from his improbable run being stopped cold -- even against a fairly shot guy like Michael Grant.
But because of his talent and vulnerability, he's also one of the few heavyweights in the world worth watching. So that's a big point in his favor. I'd watch Adamek fight anyone at this point, and though I think he won't be successful against the Klitschkos or Haye, I'd love to see him take a crack at it. At least I know he's coming to win in his heart, which is a lot more than you can say for some of the guys who have recently fought the Brothers K.
Hats off to both guys tonight. They put on a better PPV main event fight than Pacquiao or Mayweather have this year, that's for sure. Hell, this fight was better than any of the eight fights from Pacquiao-Clottey or Mayweather-Mosley, to be honest. More drama, better crowd, more tense moments. It was a wide score, but it was a bit of a pins and needles fight a lot of the time.
As for Michael Grant, I kind of hope he's ready to retire from a selfish standpoint. He would go out lasting all 12 rounds in a solid fight with a top five guy, years after he'd been totally written off. No, he didn't win this fight, and at the end of the day he never came all that close. But he did himself very proud in the ring tonight, I thought. His failings tonight can largely be chalked up to Father Time. He's carried himself through a disappointing career with great dignity, as article after article bemoaning his shortcomings has come down the wire over the years.
On the undercard:
- Joel Julio UD-10 Jamaal Davis. Davis (12-7, 6 KO) was better than his record for sure, but it's also that Julio (36-4, 31 KO) just isn't a top guy at 154. He is a good fighter, but at 25 is dangerously close to becoming a journeyman with a decent punch. Davis took everything Julio had and was never real close to being out. As for Davis, I think he earned himself some "opponent" work tonight. He knows how to fight, isn't a puncher, and can give guys good, hard-earned rounds. Julio won on scores of 97-93, 98-92 and 99-93. Bad Left Hook had it 99-91 for Julio. It was a perfectly entertaining fight, pretty much all action, if never truly exciting.
- Sadam Ali KO-5 Lenin Arroyo. The 21-year-old Ali (9-0, 5 KO) pretty thoroughly dominated Arroyo (20-13-1, 4 KO), but that was to be expected. Arroyo can't punch at all, but he stayed in there and did his very best. Most impressive was Ali's ability to slip punches and fire back hard. Least impressive was his youthful tendency to get overly flashy for no purpose. But he's 21, and that'll either work itself out or bite him in the ass someday down the line. We'll find out. He's very much a prospect to watch, though. He's got a ton of raw talent.
- Jeremy Bryan RTD-1 Daniel Mitchell. Less said, the better. Mitchell couldn't figure out which of his eyes hurt, but he said he couldn't see, and was F-bombing this and F-bombing that, and had the fight stopped after one round. Bryan (14-1, 7 KO) was clearly the superior fighter anyway.