I did not see THE FUTURE of the heavyweight division, but I did see a portion of the future of the heavyweight division displaying some solid attributes at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, Washington on Friday evening, as Eddie Chambers, the top young American heavyweight, took a split decision from Calvin Brock in a ShoBox main event.
Chambers gave away some early rounds to Brock, but pulled away from the veteran down the stretch, as he used his far quicker hands to pile up points, in the program's 100th episode.
The 25-year-old Chambers, owner of the quickest jab in the division, entered with a 29-0 (16 KOs) mark. Brock, the 32-year-old, was 31-1 (23 KOs). That lone loss came to Wladimir Klitschko in 2006.
Brock came to the ring wearing a t-shirt advertising CalvinBrockTravel.com. That covered up his beefier frame, until he stripped it off and showed that his 241 pounds wasn't exactly composed of more muscle that had transformed from fat, as he'd boasted. Chambers was only 213, and a viewer figured that Brock would have to catch and stop Chambers early to maximize his chances of winning.
Both men got to work in the first. Chambers, with his guard up high, set the table with his jab. Brock didn't waste much time sizing up his foe, as he looked to find a home for his money power shot, the right.
In the second, Brock came out with combos, placing some solid body shots that had Chambers asking him to aim higher. Chambers several times smiled after Brock scored, leading some to wonder if he was as focused as he could be, or maybe he was too relaxed? For a small heavyweight, by the way, Chambers does not move the feet, and dance, as much as you might think. Maybe that'll come later, against a true bomber, like Klitschko.
In the third, Brock got right to work, putting together well-thought out combos. Chambers made it easy by standing flat footed in front of his foe, especially in light of Brock's soaring poundage. It looked to me like Chambers was waiting to get cookin' later, when Calvin started huffing and puffing.
In the fourth round, Brock was backing up, and it looked like Chambers might start to press more. His jabs were landing obviously, even to a half-blind judge.
Chambers popped the jab from second one in the fifth. Even at this stage, Chambers is one of the coolest customers in the class...his ample gym experience in the Philly area has paid dividends in that area. Chambers stepped it up a half, not whole, notch.
Brock picked it up to kick off the sixth. But Chambers snapped him back into line, with crisp jabs, quick left hooks and the odd straight right. Brock's right eye looked puffy by now, and he looked like I used to look the morning after, after a night of slurping beverages. Chambers had Brock on the ropes at the round's close. Pernell Whitaker, working Brock's corner, asked him if he was alright. Things were slipping away.
Brock's punches to start the seventh looked like love taps while Chambers had full velocity on his throws. Brock's hands were low, dangerously low, at this time.
On to the eighth: Chambers invited Brock in to throw, to tucker his man out. Chambers could have stepped on the pedal, and sped up the process, but he is a deliberate sort, content to dissect, rather than overwhelm.
In the ninth, Chambers, coasted too much, but punctuated his effort with a solid right to steal the round, perhaps. He probably should have pressed Brock more, and made the older man work harder.
The tenth round saw Brock busy early. He took the first two-thirds of the frame, and it was an even last third. Chambers should've been on him, and this lack of urgency, which manifested as coolness before, must be addressed, if Chambers is to reach his potential. Eddie Sr., in the corner, gave him the what for.
Brock wasn't shot in the 11th, as you might figure he would be at this weight. Brock had his best flurry, as he caught Chambers with some solid rights. Chambers answered later with a scoring right, but did he steal the round? The action was fairly plentiful for this late stage.
"I need this round," Whitaker yelled at Brock after the round.
In the 12th, Brock didn't come out gunning for a KO. In fact, he moved, looking to avoid conflict. The crowd booed as Brock shuffled to and fro. Chambers landed the only telling punch of the round, a right, with 12 seconds to go. The bell rang, and the judges would speak. It took awhile, as computations were checked, and re-checked. Clueless ring announcer George Chung called out the verdict: Glen Hamada had it 115-113, Chambers; Tom McDonough saw it 115-113, Brock; and Steve Weisfeld called it 115-113, Chambers.
I say "clueless" George Chung, because he betrayed the verdict by announcing McDonough's card as "113-115, Brock." The crowd and the viewer knew then who got the short end of the stick.
Chambers' stock went up a tick in my book as he came down hard on himself after the bout.
"You gotta really step it up, throw more punches, do more to win a fight like this," he told Steve Farhood. "You can't get in there, BSing like I did, and I should step it up next time, and I apologize to all my fans out there who wanted to see a blowout, next time I will get it for you."
Brock blamed his corner, especially his dad, for telling him he merely needed to coast to a win in the last two rounds. Senior told Farhood that his son controlled the action, and thought he won. Brock said he moved twelve rounds, and thought he beat Chambers. His future, Brock said, is still bright.
Chambers meets Alex Povetkin next, and the winner of that one gets Wladimir Klitschko, in what may well be a "be careful what you wish for, you just might get it" bout. No venue has been chosen yet.
We'll truly see what Chambers is made of when he takes on Povetkin, and we'll see if he takes his self-critical take to heart, and works harder to impress 1-12.
Who will win the Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward fight?