KISSIMMEE, Fla. — To the best of our knowledge, and to the best of Chad Dawson’s knowledge as well, no extant footage exists of Tomasz Adamek fighting against an opponent of the sinister persuasion.
“But I’ve heard,” said Dawson, “he has trouble with southpaws.”
“He hasn’t fought any lefthanders since I’ve been with him,” said Adamek’s trainer Buddy McGirt. “I know he fought a few earlier in his career, and I guess he did all right.”
McGirt had the WBC light-heavyweight champion working with a trio of lefthanders – including his own son, undefeated super-middle James McGirt Jr. – in preparation for Saturday night’s defense against Dawson, the 24-year-old challenger from New Haven, but his history would seem to suggest that (a) Dawson is the first decent lefty Adamek has ever faced and that (b) he didn’t exactly dominate the left-handed bums he fought in Europe.
Adamak’s 31-0 record includes the names of just four verifiable southpaws, and three of them took him the distance. Early in his career he stopped a Bulgarian named Milko Stoikov, who finished his career 5-17.
The only lefty with a winning record on Adamek’s resume was Rudi Lupo, a Belgian who was 14-1 when Tomasz outpointed him over ten six years ago in Warsaw.
A Romanian named Mihal Iftode was 2-18 when he knocked Adamek down in the first round of their 2002 fight in Poland. Iftode must not have done much else, because he lost an 8-round decision.
Hungarian light-heavy Zoltan Beres, the most recent southpaw to test Adamek, was 13-16-1 when he lost a six-round decision in Spain in April of 2003.
Does all of this mean Dawson can win? Not necessarily, but it’s one more factor to consider in this battle of unbeatens.
We’ve watched Dawson (now 22-0) punch his way up since he was a 19-year-old middleweight cutting his teeth on the New England club-fight circuit, and have yet to be persuaded that he’s more effective as a light-heavyweight than as a super-middle, which is probably where he belongs.
He will, in any case, be the incrementally larger fighter when he climbs into the rodeo ring at the Silver Spurs Arena with Adamek tonight. Dawson scaled in at exactly the 174-pound limit Friday, while the champion was a pound lighter.
Florida referee Jorge Alonso, who most recently worked the Samuel Peter-James Toney eliminator last month, gets the assignment for his second Showtime main event in the space of four weeks with the Adamek-Dawson assignment.
Anek Hontongham of Thailand, Alejandro Rachin of Mexio, and Floridan Peter Trematerra will be the judges for the WBC title fight.
Frank Santore, who was the referee for the Travis Simms-Jose Rivera fight at the Seminole Hard Rock in January, also returns to Showtime as the third man in the ring for Jesus Chavez’s IBF lightweight title defense against ‘interim’ champion Julio Diaz.
The 35-year-old Chavez (42-3) will be fighting in anger for the first time since fatally injuring the late Leavander Johnson in their 2005 title fight. Diaz, like Chavez a transplanted Mexican now living in the US, is 33-3.
The panel of judges for Chavez-Diaz includes Pat Russell of California, Tremattara, and another Florida official, Alex Levin.
Chavez clocked in at 134¾, Diaz 135 at the Friday weigh-in.
The third world title bout on Don King’s “Super Saturday” card isn’t even scheduled for the Showtime telecast. Cory Spinks (35-3) of St. Louis makes a mandatory defense of his IBF junior middleweight title against top-rated Californian Rodney Jones (37-3-1). Tommy Kimmons will be the referee for Spinks-Jones, with Russell, Nevadan Adalaide Byrd, and Floridian Billy Ray serving as the judges.
Both Spinks (153¾) and Jones (153) were comfortably inside the 154-pound divisional limit.
The card, originally scheduled to take place in Miami on the eve of Super Bowl LXI, was shifted to the rodeo arena on a few weeks’ notice, a move which didn’t exactly take it out of harm’s way. In the early hours of Friday morning a rash of tornadoes swept across south-central Florida, some touching down half an hour’s drive from the boxing venue. At least 19 people were killed.
“Our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones,” said promoter King. “But we’re going to have a really dynamite show here.”