by Cliff Rold
In a tense, entertaining Heavyweight affair, Polish 35-year old former Light Heavyweight and Cruiserweight Champion Tomasz Adamek (46-2, 28 KO) of Jersey City, New Jersey, kept alive title hopes in boxing’s flagship class with a hard earned twelve-round unanimous decision over 30-year old Eddie Chambers (36-3, 18 KO) of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Saturday night at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. While a fair verdict, it was marred by a single atrocious scorecard from judge Allan Rubenstein casting a pall on the conclusion.
The referee was Benjy Esteves Jr.
Adamek, who entered the bout rated #8 by the World Boxing Council and #7 by the International Boxing Federation, came into the bout at a career high 225 lbs. Chambers, inactive since February 2011 due to health matters, came into the bout unrated and weighed in at a career low 202 lbs.
Both fighters entered the bout hoping to garner position for another run at Heavyweight title glory. Chambers fell short against World Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko in his lone attempt in March 2010, stopped in the final round. Adamek was stopped in ten by WBC titlist Vitali Klitschko in September 2011. Each had won their lone bout since by decision.
As always, Adamek turned out a boisterous crowd at what has become his U.S. home base.
Chambers started with a nice Walcott walk away before popping his first jab of the night. Adamek jabbed back, looking for the right upstairs, Chambers firing back at the body. A booming right landed for Chambers at a minute in and he added another before the next minute passed. Adamek scored a glancing right near the ropes but couldn’t follow up. Adamek found a stiff right to the body but seemed befuddled both times Chambers went to the ropes in the last minute.
Switching back and forth from orthodox to southpaw, Chambers kept Adamek off balance early in the second. At a minute in, an Adamek right downstairs landed as Chambers slipped on the ring floor but Chambers quickly caught his feet. A counter right landed for Chambers in the middle of the round, and he made Adamek miss with right hands for much of the round afterwards. Another Chambers right landed in the final minute and an Adamek response moments later was caught on the gloves. Adamek closed with a hard combination but again found nothing but blocking leather.
Adamek began the third missing wide before an exchange of single long body shots. A Chambers right landed to the temple and he landed again before eating a body combination. Adamek landed two downstairs again and just missed on a combination upstairs. Adamek missed a right to the head, went to the body, and then finally found some hard head shots. Chambers came back with a right to the body and then an overhand to the head. Against the ropes, Chambers took a right to the body, jabbed Adamek off, and landed a right. Chambers ended the third with two slapping, landing right hands.
Claiming to have hurt his left arm between rounds, Chambers showed little wear as he kept his guard up and blocked well while still landing rights. Clearly frustrated, Adamek kept winging hoping to find something hurtful. More often, he found air or blocking defense. A stiff Adamek right was met by a pesky reply, Chambers chasing him back with flicking blows. Adamek landed another right. Chambers responded with a better one. The round ended with Adamek chasing Chambers and mostly missing with a four-punch salvo.
A Chamber right was the first connection of the fifth. Over and over, Adamek was swinging and missing, but Chambers wasn’t firing as often. At the midway point of the round, an Adamek right to the side did land and Chambers nodded before covering up against a strong combination. Chambers landed some popping rights but without much leverage on them. Fighting overwhelmingly from a southpaw stance, Chambers used the right to back Adamek to the ropes but Adamek closed on the offense.
Playing steady, Adamek’s right started to find the target with some frequency early in the sixth. The left was coming behind it with authority even if it wasn’t breaking through yet. Chambers tired a meaningful left for the first time in rounds late in the round but Adamek blocked it. The right landed after a round where Chambers had stayed in his shell for most of the first two minutes. Chambers finished up with a series of rights, some landing and others slipped.
With the fight appearing even, they entered the second half. Chambers struck with a blasting right thirty seconds in but nothing came behind it and Adamek came back with a combination. Again it was Adamek staying busier, Chambers more accurate when he let the right go. Adamek stepped on Chambers foot and landed a body shot but Chambers stayed up off the stumble. A Chambers right landed, and then again, in the last minute while making Adamek miss in bunches.
Blood was drawn from the nose of Adamek off an early eighth round right. Chambers drew a warning for backhanding after a three-punch attack and Chambers grinned, moments later landing a clean right over the top. Chambers blocked a combination and switched to orthodox. Adamek landed a nice combo in the last thirty seconds, a right breaking through as Chambers hit the ropes.
Chambers landed two slashing orthodox rights immediately into the ninth and Adamek answered with a left uppercut through the gloves shortly after. Chambers landed a right through the guard at the minute mark and blocked the countering left. Taking to the back foot, Adamek starting scoring in the role of counter puncher, Chambers freezing in his defense and taking more shots than he had all night.
A clinic of Chambers right hands dominated the first minute of the tenth. After a hard body combination from Adamek, the clinic resumed. Adamek landed a jab late, Chambers mocking him. Chambers took a right in the closing seconds and came back with another clean shot over the top. It was one of his best rounds of the fight, still fighting exclusively with one hand.
After tasting a pair of rights in the eleventh, Adamek dug deep for more aggression. He was scoring to the body and landed a right to the face along the ropes. At the minute mark, he caught Chambers with a glancing left hook in a similar position. While landing little of hurting affect, Adamek probably came up with enough offense to counter the elusiveness of Chambers in a tense penultimate frame.
With the fight possibly up for grabs, it was Adamek on offense first, a right coming through the gloves to find flesh. He stayed more offense most of the round, demanding the scoring advantage even as Chambers continued to block expertly and sneak in occasional rights. The fight closed with Adamek throwing, mostly missing, but Chambers only answering with a single right. In what appeared a very close fight, Adamek seemed to close stronger.
It was enough for the local favorite at scores of 116-112 twice and an absolutely criminal 119-109. BoxingScene scored the bout 115-113 for Adamek.
While judges Jospeh Pasqualle and Steve Weisfeld were well within range of the reality of the fight, judge Allan Rubenstein’s score put to shame any of the controversy of Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley one week ago. At eleven rounds to one, it was one of the worst scorecards seen in boxing since judge Pierre Benoist favored Paul Williams by the same margin over Sergio Martinez in their classic first fight in 2009.
Adamek acknowledged a hard night’s work in the televised post-fight interview. “It was difficult. Eddie is quick. That was a very, very tough fight.” Asked if he felt he did enough to win. “The fight was close I felt. I didn’t know if it would be for me or for Eddie. But I win.”
Chambers was understandably disappointed after a game effort and by his early, evident injury. “I think I tore a f*&^ing bicep or something. It’s very frustrating. I worked so hard for this fight and I thought I did ok. I wasn’t sure at the end. If you’re not sure at the end, it leaves it in the hands of the judges and what can you do.”
The answer for Chambers will be to regroup and find out how bad he might be hurt. Adamek marches forward.
Heavyweight action opened the show.
27-year old Bryant Jennings (14-0, 6 KO), 225, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, followed up on a stoppage of former Heavyweight titlist Sergiy Liakhovich in his last bout with a unanimous ten-round decision over 28-year old Steve Collins (25-2-1, 18 KO), 244, of Houston, Texas. Jennings scored a knockdown in round four.
Collins came out probing with the jab while Jennings circled to his left and surveyed the landscape. A Bryant lead uppercut scored, as did a sharp left uppercut as the round wore on, Collins responding to the body. Jennings blocked a right hand and both men kept a measure pace into the bell to end round one.
Both men were assertive with the jab early in the second, Jennings missing a right and Collins banging to the body. Head shots well guarded on both sides, each man took turns looking the flanks.
A Jennings right cross landed clean in the first minute of the third. Again they took turns digging to the body. Inside the final minute, they exchanged hard right hands, the Collins blow drawing a nod of approval from Jennings. Another big right landed for Collins in the closing seconds and Jennings let out a Ric Flair-like “Wooo” to show he wasn’t fazed.
Collin again caught Jennings with a clean right in the first minute of the fourth, Jennings coming right back with two to the belly. Working Jennings into the corner, Collins connected with some touching shots downstairs, Jennings tying him up to break the action. Back at mid-ring, a whaling right uppercut landed for Jennings along with a glancing right cross and Collins was rocked into the ropes. Ruled that only the ropes had kept him up, Collins was given a standing eight and made it to the bell.
Jennings came with strong offense in the early fifth, painting upstairs to open the body and then coming back for a firm right to the face moments later. Collins’s punches showed some lost mustard as Jennings played the stalker.
Action slowed in the sixth and Collins did his best to get back into a flow. In the final minute, a Jennings right and left rocked Collins backwards but he stayed afoot and dug back. The fight kept a steady beat in Jennings favor through the seventh even if the punishing blows of earlier rounds weren’t finding home. In the eighth, Jennings found some decent rights but Collins kept sticking his nose in there, willing competitiveness through fatigue.
In the ninth, Jennings went to the body early and kept ahead with activity, Collins not going anywhere. Jennings kept winging in the tenth to see if he could change that but his most telling blow would be a low blow in the last minute of the fight. Collins bent over and the referee called time while he looked him over. Action resumed with little to separate the action from the preceding rounds.
The final scores were academic for Jennings, a shutout at 100-89. “It was tough, but I got through it. Every win ain’t gonna’ be pretty,” Jennings said, assessing his performance in the post-right interview. “I’m still a work in progress. I’m happy with my work ethic today…I came out with the win. That’s all I wanted.”
It’s what he got, his record remaining unblemished.
Welterweights: Jamaal Davis (14-8-1, 6 KO) UD8 Doel Carrasquillo (16-20-1, 14 KO)
The card was broadcast in the U.S. by the NBC Sports Network as part of its “Fight Night” series, promoted by Main Events.
Cliff Rold is a Managing Editor at BoxingScene, and a member of the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]