Not long ago small heavyweights like “Fast” Eddie Chambers were the norm and giants like Wladimir Klitschko were an oddity.
“Yeah, some of those guys are pretty big,” said Chambers of the heavyweight division.
Chambers, 24, recently signed with Goossen Tutor Promotions and represents the new wave of heavyweights looking to throw more embers onto the heavyweight bonfire for 2007. It’s in need of more fuel.
Though rather small for a heavyweight at six-feet-one-inch in height, the Pittsburgh native Chambers represents the smaller more skillful prizefighter looking to upend the tall trees of the forest such as Klitschko, Shannon Briggs and Nicolai Valuev. All three exceed six-feet five inches in height with Valuev probably above seven-feet-two.
Chambers joins James “Lights Out” Toney who has shown height is not right, but rather can be chopped down if you’re using the right axe.
“They’re slow,” said Toney who fights Samuel Peter on Jan. 6 in a rematch. “The Klitschkos are like Frankenstein’s monster. I’ll chop them down.”
History has shown that size can be overcome but you have to have an ace or two up your sleeve. When Jack Dempsey demolished Jess Willard on July 4, 1919, thousands in Toledo, Ohio saw how a fighter could use speed and power to whittle down the much larger Willard. When Max Baer fractured Primo Carnera on June 14, 1934 in Long Island, New York it was pretty much the same story. Size couldn’t compete with speed and bone-breaking power. Then of course we had Mike Tyson display that most recently in his glory days.
For a six-foot-one-inch heavyweight like Chambers, the need for speed, power and guile are as important as breathing. And sometimes it comes just as natural as inhaling and exhaling air.
“When I was young I was getting picked on by other boys so my dad made me go to the local boxing gym,” said Chambers, whose father Eddie Chambers Sr. also fought professionally. “He had me enter a tournament right away and I stopped the first guy I fought.”
Fighting came naturally for the low-key Chambers whose gentle demeanor seems more suited for church than fisticuffs.
“That’s his problem. He’s too nice,” said Rob Murray, manager of Chambers. “We got to put some mean into him.”
Not too mean.
During a National Golden Gloves tournament father Chambers entered his son to let him know where he stood among other boxers.
“I didn’t think I’d win a fight,” said Chambers who was entered in the middleweight level. “The first fight I stopped the guy. The second fight I stopped the guy. I kept winning but it was a surprise to me.”
It took that kind of exposure to convince the young Chambers that he could indeed box. But could he do it against the aircraft carriers of the heavyweight division?
“We talked to a lot of people about Eddie Chambers and most of them told us not to waste our time,” said Dan Goossen. “He kept winning so we decided to take a look at him in Reno.”
Looking to find the right opponent to test young Chambers, Goossen matched him with the much taller and hard-hitting Domonic “No Joke” Jenkins.
“Domonic Jenkins beat our guy Malcolm Tann a year earlier,” Goossen said, adding that Jenkins was leading Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola before running into a barrage of right hands. “If he (Chambers) could beat Jenkins we knew we had something.”
That night Chambers looked overmatched entering the ring against Jenkins who was four inches taller and had beaten five undefeated opponents.
“When the fight began I could see this kid could fight,” Goossen said.
Chambers used his tight defense and quickness with advantageous results in the first two rounds. Then came the shocking power that wobbled the bigger Jenkins several times. The fight was stopped in the fifth round after Chambers unloaded a quick combination.
The crowd was stunned.
“Earlier before that fight I had been sparring with Wladimir Klitschko and Shannon Briggs. This guy was a lot easier than those guys,” said Chambers who now trains out of Philadelphia where more heavyweights are available.
Now Fast Eddie is ready to run the table.
So what did Goossen Tutor’s other pocket destroyer say about Chambers.
“James Toney told me ‘this kid can fight,’” said Goossen.
Chambers smiles embarrassingly when people talk about his ability. Almost every opponent he faces is bigger.
“I never thought I would be a boxer, especially a heavyweight,” he said. “But now I know what I can do.”