NEWARK, N.J. -- When the stretch limo ferrying Tomasz Adamek over to the Prudential Center for Saturday night's title fight pulled away from the Robert Treat Hotel in downtown Newark, it had to drive right past a somewhat more modest vehicle parked in the hotel lot -- a black van, bearing the neatly-lettered inscription:
Saturday night's fight marked Adamek's third straight appearance at the Pru. The crowds are getting bigger and the fights are getting shorter. Adamek was extended the 12-round distance in winning the title on a split decision from Steve Cunningham last December, and his first defense, against Johnathan Banks back in Februrary, got into the eighth. The battle between the IBF cruiserweight champion and the sign painter lasted all of four, but at least the champion's loyal fans got to see something they'd never seen before: Adamek's face without so much as a scratch on it despite 12 minutes of boxing.
Bobby Gunn, who more or less fell into the opponent's role because he was willing to fight for the sort of purse Main Events was reduced to offering after television interests turned thumbs-down on Adamek vs. some more talented foes, was willing but utterly out of his element. A 35 year-old veteran who'd returned to the sport after a hiatus of nearly a dozen years, Gunn had been in one title fight before: Two years ago he lasted less than a round against Enzo Maccarinelli in a WBO fight in Wales, and while he improved on that performance by lasting as long as he did, this one by any standard wasn't even a fair fight. Adamek isn't particularly quick or particularly punishing, but he had a big edge on Gunn in both departments, and until they stopped it, it looked as if Tomasz was beating up a life-sized Bobby Gunn bobblehead.
It's probably just as well this one wasn't commercially televised, since it spared the promoters the embarrassment of having any punching statistics crawl across the screen. In an honest tally, Gunn might have been credited with one or two, but he certainly never hit Adamek with anything that might have even made him blink. Adamek, on the other hand, found the house painter pretty hard to miss, but Gunn's fans continued to chant "Bobby!" right up until the end.
The fourth had ended with Gunn still on his feet, though a succession of Adamek punches had driven him lower and lower on his haunches just before the bell rang, and as it turned out there was not to be a fifth. One of the ringside physicians, Dr. Marc Shaber, was already up in the Gunn corner, and the commission chairman, Aaron Davis, had moved from his seat across the ring and stood directly beneath it. Shaber voiced his opinion to referee Earl Brown that Gunn had had enough. Brown had no problem with the advice and waved the bout to a halt.
"I might have let it go on for another minute or so, but not much longer," said the referee.
The predominantly Polish crowd erupted in celebration. Only the lunatic element among the Gunn supporters protested, and not even they seemed very convincing.
The win was Adamek's 38th, with only his 2007 loss to Chad Dawson (at light-heavyweight) marring the ledger. Gunn slipped to 18-4-1.
The festive atmosphere in the arena had been interrupted just before the title bout, when Main Events dimmed the Pru house lights for a video tribute and ceremonial 10-count in honor fallen warrior Arturo Gatti, who met an untimely and apparently violent end in Brazil this weekend.
With at least 4,000 of Adamek's countrymen in the audience of 5,590, the undercard also featured a pair of undefeated Polish fighters -- and at least one of them stayed that way.
Cruiserweight Mateusz Masternak improved to 14-0, pounding Brooklyn-based Egyptian Nasr Mohamed Aly (4-4) into submission at 2:36 of the fifth. Aly had been down earlier in the round and didn't appear to be defending himself when Randy Neumann intervened to stop it.
Brownsville super middleweight Curtis Stevens did take one Polish scalp, stopping previously unbeaten Piotr Wilczewski at 1:46 of the third in their scheduled 8-rounder. "Showtime" jumped right on his foe from the outset, driving him to the canvas after hurting him with a big right hand, and was teeing off on Wilczewski at will when the bell ended the first. Stevens flattened him again in the third, this time with a counter-left, and was using his head for a speed bag by the time Earl Morton stepped in to end it. Although the partisan crowd voiced its disapproval of the stoppage, Morton was, if anything, late, and when the Polish fans continued to boo and whistle, Stevens climbed the ropes and booed them. It was the fourth straight win for Stevens, now 21-2, while Wilczewski is now 22-1.
Paterson (NJ) welter Henry Crawford handily outpointed Philadelphia Kaseem Wilson in their 8-round prelim. Crawford (22-0-1) scored an 80-72 shutout on the cards of Alan Rubenstein and Kason Cheeks, while Pierre Benoist had it 79-73. Wilson is now 12-2-1.
Israeli cruiserweight Ran Nakash was awarded a TKO over Virginia journeyman William Bailey (10-17-2) when Morton rescued the latter, who had sunk to his knees from apparent exhaustion, at 1:49 of the fourth. That Nakash is unbeaten at 13-0 doesn't say much for the state of the other Israeli cruiserweights.
In earlier bouts, New Jersey middleweight Denis Douglin survived a first-round knockdown to remain unbeaten against St. Louis' Lamar Harris (6-2-1). Douglin (5-0) won each of the last three rounds to win 38-37 on all three scorecards. In his pro debut, Brooklyn junior middle Delen Parsley was awarded a TKO when Morton stopped his bout against Tyrone Miles (1-1) at 1:47 of the third.
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July 11, 2009
CRUISERWEIGHTS: Tomasz Adamek, 199, Gilowice, Poland TKO'd Bobby Gunn, 194, Hackensack, N.J. (4) (Adamek retains IBF title)
Mateusz Masternak, 194 1/2, Wroclaw, Poland TKO'd Nasr Mohamed Aly, 197, Port Said, Egypt (5)
Ran Nakash, 200, Haifa, Israel TKO'd William Bailey, 192 1/2, Chesapeake, Va. (4)
SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHTS: Curtis Stevens, 164, Brooklyn, NY TKO'd Piotr Wilczewski, 168, Roztocznik, Poland (3)
MIDDLEWEIGHTS: Denis Douglin, 161 1/2, Morganville, NJ dec. Lamar Harris, 160, St. Louis, Mo. (4)
JUNIOR MIDDLES: Delen Parsley, 152, Brooklyn, NY TKO'd Tyrone Miles, 151 1/2, Camden, N.J. (3)
WELTERWEIGHTS: Henry Crawford, 146 1/2, Paterson, NJ dec, Kaseem Wilson, 146, Philadelphia (8)
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV