Yes, it’s an overused phrase; but when you need to win one semi-tune up fight to secure the last huge payday of your career, and you get knocked the screaming fuck out in 2 minutes by a 36 year old ex-retiree, that’s fairly epic.
Looks like Bernard’s Excellent Heavyweight Adventure is go-go-go after all. I still want to see him against Adamek.
For the love of God, watch the replay if there is one; and if you can’t, steal it off bittorrent, watch it on youtube, buy a DVD from a shady internet dealer, do whatever you have to do. This was the fight of the year in my book, as Tomasz Adamek overcame Steve Cunningham’s superior size, speed, and technical acumen by the time-honored method of punching him in the face and knocking him over. Adamek scored knockdowns in the 2nd, 4th and 8th, the second of those coming in a round in which he’d been beaten mercilessly for a full two minutes of the contest. I watched this one with Sean, and with about 30 seconds left said “all we need now is for Adamek to land a miracle one-punch knockdown and this is round of the year.” Speak of the devil. This year Vasquez-Marquez and Marquez-Pacquiao were both fought at a similar level in the sport as legitimate world title bouts, and while those were amazing fights with great sustained action and in some respects a greater technical merit, none had the swings back and forth, the stunning knockdowns, the clash of styles that this one had; throw in a hot crowd and the great degree of sportsmanship shown by both competitors, and I can honestly say I haven’t seen anything better this year. There must be a rematch- there’s money in it for both guys, and Cunningham deserves his return bout.
From a technical standpoint, it was a fairly simple fight. Cunningham was clearly faster and had a fine weapon in a stiff jab, but seemed to lack Adamek’s strength despite appearing the larger man. He’d hit the jab, and step back- rarely did he use it to set up other punches, and there were times he’d lapse out of using it consistently and begin to trade with Adamek in the center or else pull straight back unguarded, allowing Adamek to rip to the body. After the fight he claimed he could win a rematch if he boxed more and I certainly would give him a chance, but at the same time he seemed a bit past his best; he’d hit Adamek with these punches that seemed hard enough to split the atom, and then step back at times, either discouraged by their lack of effect or else not really able to get off combinations. He’d languish on the ropes despite not really seeming to be gassed, almost as if he couldn’t quite get his body to respond as he wanted it to and wanted Adamek to come to him instead. He got dropped three times trading, and I suspect he got into those exchanges largely because he was too mechanical to land combinations from outside consistently. Adamek meanwhile did a classic job of timing Cunningham and varying his shots to head and body, using the one to set up the other and following each hook with a cross and vice versa. Two of the three knockdowns occurred when Cunningham slipped one punch only to run directly into the one behind it, the first a big right and the second a left hook. After the 4th round it became clear that Cunningham couldn’t really hurt Adamek enough to back him up, so the Polish fighter was free to simply grind down Cunningham, waiting for him to begin trading and then out-slugging him on the inside. Adamek gassed out late to keep it close (I saw it 113-112), but this was his night in the end.
A wonderful performance by both men, who should be commended.