By Keith Idec
NEWARK, N.J. — Pulling out of back-to-back fights severely damaged Eddie Chambers’ reputation over the past six months.
The heavyweight contender from Philadelphia had never suffered a significant injury before he pulled out of an Oct. 28 elimination match against Tony Thompson due to a back injury and then a Jan. 21 fight against Sergei Liakhovich due to injured ribs. The subsequent criticism directed his way has bothered him, but Chambers claims he is ready silence all his doubters.
“It’s been frustrating,” Chambers said before a press conference to officially announce his June 16 bout with Tomasz Adamek at Prudential Center. “I’ve been wanting to get in. I’ve had two fights canceled because of injuries. And the thing is, previously I’ve never been injured. So when it happens twice in a row, people really start to talk, start to think negatively. It’s a good thing I have thick skin because some of what was said might’ve made me cry.”
The 30-year-old Chambers (34-2, 18 KOs) views the Adamek fight as a perfect opportunity to prove he remains a top 10 heavyweight, no matter what skeptics think about the Pittsburgh native now that he is 14 months removed from his last fight, a 12-round unanimous decision victory over Derric Rossy (26-5, 14 KOs) in February 2011.
“Honestly, I just want to get in there, perform well, close out a lot of the naysayers that first of all keep calling me fat,” Chambers said. “I just want to be in the best possible shape, focused, determined. I’ve got a great team around me and I think this is the fourth quarter of my career, and I’m going to close out the fourth quarter of my career a winner.”
The affable Chambers joked that he hopes at least “three or four” fans come to support him at Prudential Center, where Adamek (45-2, 28 KOs), a resident of nearby Kearny, N.J., has become a big draw in recent years among Polish-Americans in the New York metropolitan area. Chambers became more serious when discussing how thankful he is to have some loyal supporters who’ve helped him endure the most difficult stretch of his 11-year pro career.
“It’s been frustrating,” Chambers said, “but at the same time it’s been a little liberating because I’ve had time to think and had time to see what people actually think of me, who really is for me and really supportive. And it’s been kind of refreshing to know that there are some out there that no matter how bad I look or how bad I perform or how bad my injuries are and how long I’m out, they’re still going to be supporting me. And that’s a great thing.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for the Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.