Tomasz Adamek rematches Steve Cunningham today on NBC at 4 pm EST. Will the Polish star win again, or will Philly's Cunningham put himself into contention at heavyweight?
Steve Cunningham and Nazim Richardson have devised a strategy that will use Tomasz Adamek's significant weight advantage against him. As long as Adamek won't be able to find Cunningham, he won't be able to knock him down. And if he can't knock Cunningham down, he damn sure can't win the fight. He wasn't able to out box Cunningham and win more rounds the first time around back when Steve fought with his hands down and was more than willing to trade with Tomasz. Now the speed gap will be wider, Cunningham will have better defense, and he'll be less inclined to exchange. Should Steve be able to stick to his game plan Tomasz is up shit's creek without a paddle. But ultimately I figure Adamek will be able to rush and rough up Cunningham in enough spots during the fight to steal a few rounds and potentially score 1 knockdown. Be that as it may, Cunningham should still be able to walk away with a split decision victory. Cunningham by split decision.
It's about as much a 50-50 fight as it was four years ago, but obviously both guys are older and probably not quite as good as they were then. They're also both cruiserweights fighting at heavyweight because that's where they are not just in their careers, but in life.
It's a terrific matchup overall, and should have fireworks again. Frankly, I think Cunningham is the more talented boxer and athlete, but Adamek the better fighter. That's what we saw in 2008, and I think it's about what we'll see here. It does, however, feel to me as though Adamek is living on borrowed time as a heavyweight; he's had scares against Travis Walker, Michael Grant, and Jason Estrada, a fortunate win over a one-armed Eddie Chambers, and a totally one-sided loss to Vitali Klitschko. Is he really much better than the Dereck Chisoras of the world? No, but he's a lot more likeable. I still think he wins this fight, but I'm not seeing it go the distance. That should make for a great fight, since both of these guys are very resilient. This is a fight where I really, really don't care who wins. They're both ambassadors for the sport and worth rooting for -- may the best man win. Adamek via TKO-10.
I think this, ultimately, boils down to which man has more left in the tank, and I think that's Adamek. Wrongly or otherwise, I get the impression that a heavyweight campaign for Cunningham is his final fling, not yet desperate but not far off one last hurrah, with a nemesis having emerged at cruiser just a few pounds below. Though born within seven months of each other, Cunningham feels like the markedly older man and I question whether he'll ever truly establish himself in this new choice of division in the same way Adamek has.
If he does, it may be that he has to recover from this, an early setback following his first real test in the category. Cunningham's trim weigh-in physique may be a strategic choice, but near-twenty pounds is a considerable amount to give up against a guy who dropped him multiple times the last time they fought. Cunningham won't be the static target that several of Adamek's heavyweight opponents have been, but it's difficult to see him getting the better of the heavier exchanges. Adamek UD.
Both Cunningham and Adamek have slipped since their first meeting but their styles should still mesh nicely and another crowd pleasing fight is expected. Adamek is the bigger puncher, whereas Cunningham is the more skilful and quicker fighter.
The fight could come down to who takes the others punches better. Adamek showed in the first fight that he could hurt Cunningham, and one feels his extra weight will cause a greater threat this time. That said, Adamek's punch resistance hasn't looked the best recently, an indication that the hard fights he's had in his career are starting to take there toll. It'll be another close and entertaining fight, I think Adamek will edge it though, overcoming some early difficulties to win on points. Adamek by decision.
Final Tally: Tomasz Adamek 3, Steve Cunningham 1.