By Keith Idec
Vitali Klitschko is typically listed as about a 6-1 favorite over Tomasz Adamek approaching their heavyweight title fight Saturday in Wroclaw, Poland.
While he doesn’t talk trash like the last former cruiserweight champion to challenge one of the Klitschkos, Adamek dismissed the long odds. He is confident he can overcome a five-inch, 30-pound size disadvantage and accomplish what fellow Pole Andrew Golota couldn’t do in any of his four heavyweight title shots.
“I’m not the favorite,” Adamek said, “but I’m going to make a surprise for everybody and win this fight. It is my dream.”
Adamek’s handlers think that playing the underdog role actually could help Adamek (44-1, 28 KOs) when he fights for Klitschko’s WBC title in front an Adamek-adoring capacity crowd of about 42,000 at Municipal Stadium.
“It’s wonderful to be the underdog,” said Kathy Duva, whose Totowa, N.J.-based company, Main Events, co-promotes Adamek. “You don’t have the kind of pressure on you that the champion has. Tomasz has been the guy with the pressure on him now for a long time, being the favorite in all the fights he’s been going into for the last few years.
“But he’s back to where he was, I guess, with [Steve] Cunningham, where he wasn’t expected to win. And that’s OK. When you have a good fighter who’s mentally prepared and not afraid of anything, you want to be the underdog. That’s a nice thing to be.”
Adamek also was an underdog against Cristobal Arreola 16 months after defeating Cunningham for the IBF cruiserweight crown, but he defeated Arreola (33-2, 28 KOs) by majority decision in a 12-round fight in April 2010 that proved Adamek is a top heavyweight contender. Vitali Klitschko (42-2, 39 KOs) had a much easier time against Arreola in their September 2009 fight in Los Angeles, but Roger Bloodworth, Adamek’s trainer, reminded Adamek’s doubters that much heavier favorites than the 40-year-old Klitschko have lost heavyweight title fights.
“I don’t think there’s any fighter that’s unbeatable,” Bloodworth said. “Even the Klitschkos have losses.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, NJ., and BoxingScene.com.