By Ryan Songalia
There was little drama heading into heavyweight contender Tomasz Adamek's tuneup match with Irish big man Kevin McBride Saturday night at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.
With a potential heavyweight championship fight against Vitali Klitschko on the table, that's exactly what the former light-heavyweight and cruiserweight champion wanted as he cruised his way to an uneventful unanimous decision by the scores of 119-108 twice and 120-107.
The Kearny, NJ resident by way of Gilowice, Poland Adamek, who was outweighed by 70 pounds at 215 to the former Mike Tyson-conqueror McBride's 285, was in sparring session mode from round one against an opponent who had didn't seem to have much self-belief left.
Adamek raised his record to 44-1 (28 KO) with the victory, while McBride loses for the fifth time in six fights.
Adamek, who was galvanized by the strong Polish fan support in attendance, circled and boxed McBride, now 35-9-1 (29 KO), from the opening bell, getting in with right hands and body shots that seemed to affect McBride every time they landed.
McBride, who now resides in Marvin Hagler's hometown of Brockton, Massachussetts after immigrating from Clones, Ireland, had his only limited success in the second round as he landed a solid right hand on Adamek's head, which he followed with a shove to the canvas at the bell.
McBride was able to rough Adamek up in clinches, but as a cut on his scalp from an accidental butt appeared in the fifth, McBride looked more and more discouraged.
McBride continued to be the aggressor in the seventh as Adamek boxed and potshotted with flashy left uppercuts and hooks on the increasingly weary McBride. A right cross from Adamek later in the round produced blood from McBride's left eye and stunned him, which opened him up for Adamek's best sustained offense of the fight. McBride was deducted a point for holding from referee Randy Neumann just before the end of the round.
Adamek finished the fight strong, opening up combinations in a final attempt to entertain the crowd before the conclusion.
"We made a good show for 12 rounds," said Adamek, who improved to 6-0 (2 KO) as a heavyweight. "My fight was hard, he's a tough man. It was a good twelve rounds of practice before a title fight. I'm sure I will come back with the title to the United States."
"If I lost 20 pounds I probably could have caught him," jested McBride at the post-fight press conference. McBride also announced his retirement from the sport at age 37 and 19 years as a professional boxer.
McBride felt that Adamek had decent power, just not the crunching type that had stopped him in six previous KO losses.
"Speed kills and he has a lot of speed and there is a bit of power. I didn't feel any leprechauns playing drums in my head like Tyson had me, but I respect the man and my hat is off to him. He's a warrior, I'm a warrior. I hope he goes out there and wins the heavyweight title."
According to Main Events' PR rep Ellen Haley, there is an agreement with Klitschko to meet later this year in Poland, in either the Polish capital of Warsaw or Wroclaw. Some are wondering after this performance whether at 215 pounds he can gain the respect of the iron-chinned Klitschko, who is 39-years-old with a record of 42-2 (39 KO).
"My natural weight is 215, 218," Adamek said. "I can't gain more because I'll lose my speed."
Not all were left enthusiastic about Adamek's heavyweight title chances, however.
"He showed a lot of heart and that he can hang in there with the big guys, but Vitali Klitschko is going to be a different fighter," said Sam Colonna, the Chicago-based former trainer of Adamek and Andrew Golota.
"He's gonna have to bring more to the game than what he showed tonight to me. He showed speed, but he didn't show a lot of power. He outpointed him, but he never took charge and got him hurt. It seemed like when the guy touched him he went flying. And this is from a guy who was 285 pounds and lost four of his last five fights."
But while everyone else was thinking about what comes next, Adamek and team were content to focus on tonight.
"This was Kevin McBride," said Adamek's current trainer Roger Bloodworth. "The plan we had for McBride, he executed perfectly, just as well in the ring as he did in the gym. Tonight he put on a perfect show."
Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and contributes to GMANews.TV and the Filipino Reporter newspaper. From January through April, he will cover the Daily News Golden Gloves tournament for the New York Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected] . An archive of his work can be found at www.ryansongalia.com . Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ryansongalia .