Advertisement
Advertisement

Cunningham Talks Heavyweight Run, Adamek Rematch

by Keith Idec

Steve Cunningham will fight in the same ring as Tomasz Adamek on Sept. 8 in Newark, N.J.

The former cruiserweight champion hopes his heavyweight debut that afternoon at Prudential Center leads to them sharing that ring again. Cunningham (24-4, 12 KOs) signed with Main Events, Adamek’s co-promoter, last week with an Adamek rematch in mind.

It is a fight the Philadelphia native has wanted since he lost their all-action brawl by split decision in December 2008. Their entertaining slugfest marked the beginning of Adamek becoming a large draw in New Jersey’s biggest city, a short drive from the popular Polish contender’s home in Kearny.

Adamek has fought eight times at Prudential Center over the past 3½ years, but Cunningham’s heavyweight debut against a soon-to-be-announced opponent will be his first at the home of the NHL’s Devils since he and Adamek went at it.

“Being a heavyweight makes [an Adamek rematch] even more of a possibility,” Cunningham said. “Adamek’s a great guy. He’s a family man, like myself, but this is a business. If they pay for it, we’ll totally do it. I would like to do it because I felt like that fight was really close. I felt it was a great fight. I totally would like to do it. But if it didn’t happen, I wouldn’t be mad. I know boxing.”

Cunningham hoped the Adamek rematch would materialize immediately after their first fight. Adamek (46-2, 28 KOs), who’ll encounter Houston’s Travis Walker (39-7-1, 31 KOs) in the main event of an independent pay-per-view show Sept. 8, instead fought just twice more at cruiserweight before embarking on his own heavyweight journey against fellow Pole Andrew Golota (41-8-1, 33 KOs, 1 NC) in October 2009.

“I’ve never wanted to go to heavyweight just to chase Adamek for a rematch,” Cunningham said. “That’s why I stayed at cruiserweight, because I wanted to be a two-time champion. Actually, I wanted to be a three-time champ, but financially and time-wise, I don’t have that kind of time. Being a heavyweight is everyone’s dream, especially a guy my size, 6-3 and 200 pounds. So I’m just going to go ahead and take a stab at it.”

After one more fight with Don King, Cunningham signed with German promoter Wilfried Sauerland in the Adamek aftermath. He stopped Canada’s Troy Ross (25-2, 16 KOs) in the fifth round on cuts and out-pointed Serbia’s Enad Licina (21-4, 11 KOs) over 12 rounds in his first two fights with Sauerland Events.

Cuban southpaw Yoan Pablo Hernandez (26-1, 13 KOs) defeated Cunningham in Cunningham’s last two fights, the first of which ended in a controversial technical decision due to a Hernandez cut. Following the Hernandez defeats, Cunningham couldn’t secure a lucrative rematch with German cruiserweight champion Marco Huck (34-2-1, 25 KOs), had trouble luring Antonio Tarver (29-6-1, 20 KOs) into a fight and was insulted by the high-risk, low-reward proposition of fighting Russian cruiserweight contender Denis Lebedev (24-1, 18 KOs) in Moscow.

That’s when Cunningham decided it was time to move up to heavyweight.

“It’s kind of like I’m getting elbowed out of the cruiserweight division, so I have to go heavyweight,” Cunningham said. “I can’t go light heavyweight. That wasn’t going to happen. I’ve got to go to heavyweight.”

The 36-year-old Cunningham isn’t considered a big puncher and will be a small heavyweight in terms of weight, but he isn’t intimidated.

“Me and Eddie Chambers worked together in the gym,” Cunningham said, referring to another small heavyweight from Philadelphia that Adamek defeated by unanimous decision June 16 at Prudential Center. “We’re like brothers. And I see the success he’s had. I’m real close with Chris Byrd, and I’ve seen the success he’s had. A lot of the guys I’ve sparred with are heavyweights, so I’m like, ‘Why shouldn’t I go see what I can do?’ And I feel I can be pretty successful.”

Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Donkingzz on 07-31-2012

I'm sure he will take a better punch at heavyweight.. The guy wont have to make weight and he will be much stronger!

Comment by JED46 on 07-31-2012

How is fighting Lebedev "high risk/ low reward?" Not enough money? He's ranked very highly in his division, and his only loss is highly controversial. A win over Lebedev would be very significant for any Cruiserweight.

Comment by Freedom. on 07-31-2012

I'm looking forward to seeing Cunningham fight at heavyweight.

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (3)
Top Headlines Roach: Mayweather Told Me He Hasn't Trained Since Retiring Mikey Garcia: I Look Forward To Winning Another World Title! Ed Brown Beats Gilbert Venegas Again, Remains Unbeaten Leo Santa Cruz: I'll Win a Rematch - in Los Angeles or Belfast! Carl Frampton: I Wanted a Fight The People Would Remember Antonio Orozco Wins Hard-Fought Decision Over Abner Lopez Joseph Diaz Jr. Makes Quick Work, Crushes Victor Proa in Two Carl Frampton Beats Leo Santa Cruz, Wins WBA Belt in a War Luis Nery Breaks Down David Sanchez For Stoppage Win Leo Santa Cruz vs. Carl Frampton - LIVE BoxingScene Scorecard Mikey Garcia Drops Elio Rojas Four Times For TKO in Five Tony Harrison Stops Sergey Rabchenko in IBF Eliminator LIVE HBO Latino Results From Indio, California Photo: Golovkin Heads To London To Face Off With Kell Brook Leo Santa Cruz: I Saw Defects in Quigg Win, I'll Catch Frampton! Paulie Malignaggi Beats Gabe Bracero in Battle of Brooklyn Tevin Farmer Dominates Ivan Redkach For Decision Win Josh Warrington Stops Patrick Hyland, in Line For Gary Russell Frampton: Santa Cruz is Definitely a Bigger Fight Than Quigg Robert Garcia: Mikey is Only 28, His Prime is Still Ahead McGuigan: No Size Advantage for Santa Cruz vs. Frampton Dillian Whyte Dominates David Allen, Wins WBC Regional Belt Leo Santa Cruz-Carl Frampton: Pre-Fight Report Card Michel Soro, Hassan N'Dam Batter Opponents in France Luke Campbell Survives Knockdown, Beats Mendez For WBC Silver Santa Cruz vs. Frampton LIVE Results From Barclays Tyrone Nurse Outpoints Tommy Coyle in Cracker To Retain Mikey Garcia's Coach: We'd Love Terence Crawford in The Future! Leo Santa Cruz: The Pressure Is On Me In Carl Frampton Fight Ryan Burnett, Yafai, Gavin, Eggington, Feigenbutz Win in Leeds SHO’s Espinoza: Santa Cruz-Frampton Part of Unofficial Tourney Paulie Malignaggi: I’d Love To End My Career in Brooklyn Michel Soro Returns To Action in Le Cannet, France McGuigan: Santa Cruz Facing Frampton Because of Gonzalez Fight Frampton’s Promoter Eyes Russell, Selby Next - No Quigg, or Rigo Photos: Adonis Stevenson Blasts Williams Hard - MEGA Gallery Santa Cruz Expects Carl Frampton To Out-Weigh Him In Ring Mikey Garcia: If No Layoff, I Definitely Would Be a Big Star Berto Wouldn’t Be A Gimme For Danny Garcia, Says Showtime VP Adonis Stevenson-Thomas Williams: Post-Fight Report Card
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement