|PHILLY BOXING HISTORY June 14, 2012||
"I HAVE A LOT TO PROVE IN THIS FIGHT"
On Saturday night a terrific match up of top shelf heavyweights is on tap when Eddie Chambers and Tomasz Adamek square off at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. The fight is the 12-round main event on the latest edition of NBC Sports Network's "Fight Night" live boxing series. Each fighter has faced one of the Klitschko boys for a share of the heavyweight crown, and each came up short. Now they must to go through each other to get back to the big show.
"Honestly, I just want a title," Chambers said. "Of course I'd like to go back in with Wladimir. But make no mistake, this (Adamek bout) is a title fight in itself. This is as important or more important than any of those fights. The reason being is this is an opportunity to get to that point. So there is no way in hell that I can overlook a guy like Adamek, because that puts me behind the eight ball already, and I'm trying to get beyond that."
It's been a frustrating two years since Chambers' KO loss to Wladimir Klitschko. Oh, he took the high-profile career setback in stride, and even jumped back into the heavyweight fray with an IBF Title Eliminator afterwards - which he won. But he hasn't been in the ring since that decision victory over Derric Rossy 16 months ago, thanks to injuries and other delays.
"It's been so long - a year and a half," Chambers lamented. "I've always been fairly active as a fighter. To be off that long is a blow. On top of that, you lose your ranking, and all of those things. So it's going to be great to get back in there. I'm looking forward to it."
To prepare for the ever-tough Adamek, Eddie shipped off to the legendary Kronk Gym in Detroit for training camp. His trainer, Newark native James Bashir is a disciple and cousin of Hall of Famer Emmanuel Stewart. So the Kronk seemed like the perfect place to get some work done.
"It was hot as hell in there," Chambers said of the Kronk Gym. "But camp went great. The preparation was perfect. I got a lot of good sparring work. Everything worked out really well."
Chambers prides himself on always being in the gym - even during a lengthy layoff like the one he's had. But he felt the need to focus and work even harder for the Adamek fight, given his time away.
"Preparation not a problem," Chambers said about coming back from a long layoff. "I'm always in the gym and watching tapes. But one of the things that can be an issue is that it (the layoff) can affect your timing, and you can be kind of hesitant to do some things that normally come right out, because you're not as comfortable as you may have been. But the fact that I've had so many fights and had so much experience as a fighter over the years - I've had 38 fights, this is my 39th here - that starts to dissipate a little bit over time. So layoffs aren't as big a deal. You can't be 100% sure of anything; boxing is so unpredictable. Getting in there can be a roll of the dice. It's just how you feel. I've had fights were I've felt terrible and looked great, and I've had fights were I've felt great and looked terrible. It happens."
His opponent is a real challenge. A former light heavyweight and cruiserweight world champion, Tomasz Adamek is a quick-fisted action fighter. He has excellent boxing skills, dependable stamina, and good pop to his punches. He's a true obstacle for anyone one on the same path. Adamek's 45-2, 28 KO record tells his story pretty well. He's only lost to Chad Dawson (at light heavyweight) and Vitali Klitschko (at heavyweight), both in title fights, four years apart. The rest of his history is all upside. He's won six world title bouts, claimed a handful of regional titles, and recently adapted quite well to the heavyweight ranks.
Adamek defeated Nagy Aguilera his last time out, and before that, posted wins over Chris Arreola, Andrew Golota, Michael Grant, Vinny Maddalone, Kevin McBride, and Jason Estrada, all in the heavyweight division.
"Watching those fights you can actually see the little mistakes that he's made," Chambers said about Adamek. "Little things like how these guys have out-boxed him in certain areas, but then you can also see the good that he does in overwhelming some of them with combination punches, and just stepping in and imposing his will."
So how will Chambers deals with Adamek, probably the second best fighter he's every faced?
"I think my boxing ability will carry the day, and keep me ahead," Chambers said. "BUT at any time, if I'm not on my Ps and Qs, and not really focused and determined, he can try to overwhelm me with combinations and punches. I can't be lazy or relax for too long, because that can affect the outcome of the fight, and I don't want that to happen."
Besides being a good match between two of the top heavyweights out there, the fight is particularly interesting because these two guys are about the same size. There is no giant fighting in this one. This should allow both men to fight much differently than they would if they were facing one of the division's behemoths.
"As a heavyweight Adamek can't stand right in front of these (big) guys and slug it out," Chambers said about the heavyweight version of his opponent. "He's been forced to box more as a heavyweight. But this time, it's a switch. He's going to have to go back to what it was like at the lighter weights because of the kinds of things that I bring to the table as a fighter."
The light heavyweight Adamek was a force to be reckoned with, and the cruiserweight Adamek was even tougher. So Eddie may have his hands full on Saturday. In addition to this, Chambers must fight before that raucous Newark crowd that loves Adamek so much.
"Well the fans aren't able to fight for him," Chambers said. "It's just us in the ring."
Still Chambers realizes the crowd is often a factor.
"It's always nice to have that support. I mean I'd love to have that support. But while they are supporting him, they are still coming to see me too. It's a lovely thing that boxing fans come out. And even though they are Polish and they are not looking for me to win - I mean, they don't care about me at all - but at the same time, they are still coming out to support the fight, and that's all I can ask for."
So Chambers will do his best to win over that crowd. He sees the fight as a must win, likely to bring out the best in him.
"It's very important," Chambers said. "At this point in time, neither one of us can afford a setback. We very much need to win. I'm saying "we" because both of us are in a very similar position. Winning is vital for me, maybe more so than him, because I've been off for so long. So I have a lot to prove in this fight. A win for me is extremely important, and the only way it can go."
Chambers brings excellent boxing ability into the fight. He is a pure boxer that has the potential to give Adamek fits in the ring. But this one could go either way.
An impressive victory over Adamek will help to restore Chambers' position as one of the best, or perhaps even the best American heavyweight hope. And that just may get him back where he wants to be.
"To use my promoter's phrase, I think this kind of fight is the "express train" back to the top," Chambers said. "The fact that I haven't been active and haven't been in the ring to show that I haven't fallen off, makes this an opportunity to prove that I belong right back in the conversation as one of the best heavyweights in the world."
Chambers and Adamek
are both in the conversation, but only one can get a ticket
on the express train. On Saturday we'll find out which of
them gets to take that ride.
The remainder of the card includes two more important Philly-centric matches, plus a good slate of 4, 6 & 8 round preliminary bouts.
In the co-feature, Philly's Bryant Jennings fights Steve Collins in a 10-rounder for the USBA heavyweight title. Along with Chambers-Adamek, Jennings-Collins will also be nationally televised by NBC Sports Network beginning at 9PM.
On the non-televised portion of the card, Philly's Jamaal Davis fights tough nut Doel Carrasquillo in an 8-round junior middleweight bout. This could be a grueling affair that goes right down to the wire.
The remaining bouts are: Curtis Stevens vs. Marcus Upshaw, Jose Peralta vs. Dontre King, John Thompson vs. John Mackey, Taureano Johnson vs. Roberto Yong, and Patrick Farrell vs. David Williams.