By Mike Coppinger
Main Events is reeling on the heels of Zab Judah’s disappointing loss to Amir Khan on Saturday.
TheTotowa, N.J.-based promotional company, headed by Kathy Duva, saw one of its two stars play perhaps his last act on the big stage.
The other – heavyweight Tomasz Adamek – has the biggest fight of his life on Sept. 10 in his native Poland, going up against the heavily-favored Vitali Klitschko. With a loss, Main Events will struggle to compete with the other notable promotional companies in the U.S.
The promotion jumped into full-swing last week with both Adamek and Vitali going head-to-head at HBO Headquarters for a media luncheon, where the elder Klitschko tried to intimidate Adamek. Duva, for her part, doesn’t think her charge was shaken at all.
“Adamek doesn’t seem the least bit fazed by anything Vitali’s saying or doing and this was also happening at the press conferences that we did in Poland and Germany in May,” said Duva. “What I find intriguing, is that if you look at the list of people that [Vitali] Klitschko fought, there are very few people on there who weren’t afraid of him.
“In fact, there are very few people that weren’t defeated before they got in the ring. One might argue that the only two people he fought who weren’t afraid of him were the two people that beat him [Lennox Lewis and Chris Byrd]. Even though Chris Byrd beat him because he was injured [Klitschko didn’t answer the bell for the 11th round in a fight he was winning, citing a torn rotator cuff] I don’t believe Chris was afraid of him. And that’s part of hanging in there to take advantage of the problem that’s created. Certainly Lennox wasn’t afraid of him. “
In fact, Duva think’s Vitali’s intimidation tactics are backfiring.
“I find it intriguing because it seems to be shaking Vitali up a little to me, that Tomasz isn’t afraid of him at all,” stated Duva. “Vitali is still much bigger, he’s still much stronger, sure, he punches harder. He’s 40-years-old, that’s going to be a factor at some point in his career. Maybe it’s going to be a factor on Sept. 10, I don’t know, we’re gonna find out.
“In a stadium with 42,000 partisan fans screaming for you, that is an intangible that could work in his favor. [Adamek] is far more mobile than anyone that Vitali has fought since Chris Byrd. He is not defeated before he gets in the ring, as was David Haye with his brother.”
Regardless of the outcome, Duva sees an entertaining heavyweight scrap, something the boxing public hasn’t seen in years.
“It’s going to be a great fight,” said Duva. “He’s not running and he’s not backing down.”
Mike Coppinger is a regular boxing freelancer for USA TODAY and Ring Magazine. He’s a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America, the Ring Ratings Advisory Panel and the Yahoo! Sports Boxing Panel. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger.