by Geoffrey Ciani – The difference in speed and athleticism was apparent in the opening seconds. “Fast” Eddie Chambers was as quick and elusive as his moniker suggests. Adamek looked confused and bamboozled, as Chambers tagged him with quick right hands that seemed to appear from nowhere. His catlike reflexes and awkward head and upper body movement left Tomasz baffled, off-balance, and frequently missing the mark. “Fast” Eddie was even showboating and gesturing in the very first round! It appeared as though it would be a long night for the Polish boxer. Adamek, however, has always exhibited several key attributes that have enabled him to overcome obstacles in the past: (1) great warrior heart, (2) a tremendous chin, and the most overlooked (3) a high ring IQ with a proven ability to adapt.
As we now know Chambers suffered an arm injury in the first round, which effectively reduced him to become a one-armed fighter for the remainder of the contest. Did this have an impact on the fight? Almost certainly! Would Chambers have been able to defeat Adamek with two working arms? It would appear like a strong possibility. We will most likely never know, though, especially if Team Adamek is smart and rumors from the Polish Press about a title shot against Alexander Povetkin prove true. Even with one arm, however, Chambers was still a formidable foe who proved a most difficult challenge for Adamek. Ultimately it was Adamek’s ring smarts, though, that enabled him to find a way to win the match, despite the inaccurate and biased picture that was being painted by television commentators.
Adamek’s victory was essentially highlighted by three key adjustments. The first came in round three when Adamek began doubling up behind the jab. This enabled him to work his way in, and shoot off combinations from better punching range. Chambers still proved to be a slippery target making Adamek miss a lot, but Tomasz was putting himself in better position to have a chance to land punches and inflict damage. Now there were spots in the fight where Adamek was not doubling the jab up, and whenever this happened Chambers almost always capitalized. Reduced to a one-handed fighter, he was throwing looping, sometimes wild looking right hands that were landing bang on the button. Adamek was getting hit almost seemingly at will. When he was working behind a double jab he was reducing the frequency with which he would get caught by this shot, but Eddie was landing it when he was throwing it with great success.
This started to change with a subtle adjustment by Adamek during the sixth. At this point he was beginning to predict and time Chambers better, and he also began shifting his position more strategically when he finished his combinations and anticipated incoming fire, because Eddie was quick to pounce whenever Adamek would stop swinging. When Adamek began making Chambers miss more, he started finding the mark a little more flush and missing a little less himself. When he combined this with working behind the double jab, Adamek was having his optimal level of success. Chambers, however, was crafty and he too soon made counter adjustments. Throughout the fight he would confuse Tomasz by switching from orthodox to southpaw, and since he only had one working arm, he would sometimes slip punches in a southpaw stance, and then walk Adamek down with a series of quick flicking right jabs. He would mix this up and land haymakers, but as the fight progressed, Chambers was finding the mark less frequently and getting hit more than he was earlier.
The final key adjustment Adamek came on display at various points during the final third of the fight. Tomasz started moving backwards and making Chambers become the aggressor. In these instances he was able to stay out of range from many of Chambers’ incoming right hands while landing quick two, three, and four punch combinations of his own. It was almost reminiscent of what Miguel Cotto often does late in fights when conserving energy. He was limiting Chambers’ opportunities while doing some effective work of his own.
These late round adjustments enabled Adamek to beat Chambers, because even with one arm Chambers was a fierce competitor with a tricky style for the Polish pugilist to solve. I myself scored the fight 115-113 in favor of Adamek, who took four of the last six rounds on my card to break the stalemate from the halfway point. Officially the judges had it 116-112, 116-112, and 119-109 all for Adamek. The 119-109 score reeks as a standout, because there was no way any objective observer could possibly view the fight that widely in favor of either combatant. The right man was given the decision in a close fight, but that off-flavor scorecard just gives the whole thing a piss-poor aftertaste.
If the Polish press is right, and it is true Adamek may be in line for a title shot against belt holder Alexander Povetkin sometime later this year, then this should prove to be a far more favorable matchup for Adamek than Chambers was. While I have been one of Adamek’s biggest critics since he first made the move to heavyweight and beyond, insisting he is best suited for the cruiserweight limit, right now Tomasz is probably closer to his dream of winning a heavyweight title than ever before. We shall just have to wait and see if the rumors come true, but if they do Povetkin is his best chance at a heavyweight title belt. I like Adamek’s chances against Povetkin, especially after what Marco Huck was able to do against him. But I do not like Adamek’s chances against a two-handed Chambers, who simply presents a less favorable clash of styles for the Pole.
In the end, while Adamek may have caught a break that Chambers injured his arm, in boxing these things happen and it is part of the game. Chambers has always kind of come across as a bit injury-prone in recent years as it was, but Adamek still exhibited great ring smarts to take advantage of the situation. The commentating in this bout was extremely biased and off the mark, as Adamek was not getting credit for most of the work he was doing, but he succeeded in defeating Chambers regardless of the skewed and inaccurate account being delivered to the television audience.
This article was also published at East Side Boxing