By Keith Idec
Eddie Chambers doesn’t have anything against any of the three judges who’ve been assigned to score his fight against Tomasz Adamek later tonight.
But Philadelphia’s Chambers can’t help but be concerned about what might occur if, as expected, their 12-round heavyweight fight goes to the scorecards at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. The Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley debacle has dominated headlines this week, but to Chambers it was just the continuation of a disturbing judging trend in a sport already beset by more problems than it can correct.
“I’m concerned about the judging, not just for me and winning this fight, but for the sport of boxing,” Chambers said. “I’ve been a part of this world of boxing for the past 16 years now as an amateur and pro. And I love the sport. I love my sport.
“But it seems like this last fight with Pacquiao and Bradley, and some of the other bad decisions that have happened, and all of this steroids talk, it’s starting to really, really, really hurt the sport and make people wonder, ‘Well, what are we watching this for?’ Of course you see a great fight, but it’s like getting stiffed on the bill when you see the wrong person win.”
New Jersey State Athletic Control Board commissioner Aaron Davis has assigned three credible judges — Joe Pasquale, Alan Rubinstein and Steve Weisfeld — to score the Adamek-Chambers bout. But the fight will take place in the popular Adamek’s adopted backyard, in an arena where the Polish-born resident of nearby Kearny, N.J., has drawn large crowds for seven fights since December 2008.
Judges obviously do their best to avoid crowds influencing scoring, but Chambers understandably wonders how a loud, Adamek-adoring crowd could affect the outcome of a fight he desperately needs to win if he is to get back in position for another title shot. Like Chambers (36-2, 18 KOs), Adamek (45-2, 28 KOs) hopes a victory over a top opponent leads to his own second shot at a heavyweight championship.
“Of course I’m worried if I end up losing a fight based on a bad decision,” Chambers, 30, said. “But when I’m in there fighting I can’t worry about that. I’ve got to do what I can at the right time, and all of those things in order to win, rather than worry about whether these judges are going to get it right.
“You’ve got to trust that the judges are going to get it right. You just have to fight. If you win, you win, and if you lose, you lose. But you would hate to have a decision taken from you because of financial reasons or the sport would be more interesting [if you lost]. If you win a fight, you should get the decision. Sometimes that doesn’t happen in this sport, and I really think that’s what hurts it overall.”
NBC Sports Network will televise Adamek-Chambers as part of a doubleheader that’ll begin at 9 p.m. EDT with a 10-round heavyweight fight that’ll pit Philadelphia’s Bryant Jennings (13-0, 6 KOs) against Houston’s Steve Collins (25-1-1, 18 KOs). For tickets to the eight-bout card ($54-$254), visit ticketmaster.com or call 800-745-3000.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.