For going 4-0 in 2012, Tomasz Adamek had kind of a rough year. After patches of difficulty against Nagy Aguilera, a highly debatable win over Eddie Chambers, and a scare against Travis Walker, Adamek won a split decision today in Bethlehem, Penn., over Steve "USS" Cunningham, but almost nobody agreed with the two judges who gave it to the popular Pole.
Even the announcement of the scores was a debacle, as Michael Buffer initially read it as a split draw, with scores of 115-115, 116-112 Adamek, and 115-113 Cunningham. But the 115-115 card was corrected as 115-112 Adamek, which itself is hard to figure in a 12-round fight with no knockdowns and no 10-8 type rounds, giving Adamek the win. Bad Left Hook scored it 116-112 for Cunningham from the TV broadcast, and our own Ryan Bivins had it 118-111 for Cunningham on press row. Sports Illustrated writer and NBC Sports interviewer Chris Mannix said on Twitter that "no one" on press row had it for Adamek.
Adamek (48-2, 29 KO) was a bit sluggish throughout the fight, and the 36-year-old once again looked like he's inching past his better days. He's still a very good fighter, and has the heart of a lion (I hate cliches, but Adamek deserves them), and he's as fun to watch as anybody in the sport over the middleweight division.
Adamek's a great guy, but he didn't win this fight. Cunningham (25-5, 12 KO) controlled the majority of the fight with his jab and his movement, and landed plenty of eye-catching power shots, to boot.
The only way I can personally figure Adamek winning on two judges' scorecards was his habit of rallying late in rounds and trying to steal them in the last 10-30 seconds. Otherwise, it's just too hard for me to figure out how the fight could have been scored for Adamek, who gave a fine effort and deserves all the respect in the world for that, but simple and plain, did not win this fight.
It's a shame that once again, this is the discussion, because it was a good fight. But it's hard to accentuate the positives when the negatives are so clearly a major, constant issue in this sport.