NEWARK, N.J. — Extended the distance for the first time since his December 2008 squeaker over Steve Cunningham, Tomasz Adamek rewarded a mostly-Polish crowd of more than ten thousand jammed into the Prudential Center with a unanimous decision over Jason Estrada. Even in a losing cause, the 2004 US Olympian may have exposed some serious flaws in the heavyweight edition of the former light-heavyweight and cruiserweight champion, and Adamek might want to think twice before jumping into the ring with Alexander Povetkin (who was at ringside in Newark) or Chris Arreola (who seems more likely to be next on Adamek's dance card.
When Adamek signed to meet Estrada following his October knockout of countryman Andrew Golota, he doubtless expected to be facing the Cellulite Kid, not the newer and quicker version who gave him all he could handle in Newark Saturday night. On this night, anyway, Big Six turned into Small Six, and the 237 pounds Estrada carried into the ring represented his lightest fighting weight since the 2004 Olympic trials, and with the resultant quickness he put on display against Adamek he looked like a semblance of the guy most Americans were hoping was going to show up in Athens six years ago. Coming into the fight Estrada had been telling people he was in the best shape of his career. Most boxers say that, but he apparently meant it.
Even in his sometimes disappointing professional career, Estrada has always been a superior defensive fighter, and between the ones he blocked and the ones he made Adamek miss, he was a frustrating target in this one. For much of the evening Estrada was the aggressor as well, and repeatedly beat Adamek to the punch with his jab.
All for naught, apparently. While not even Estrada was claiming to have won the fight afterward, with Larry Layton sitting in one of the judges' chairs he'd have needed a machine gun to beat Adamek in Newark. The same New Jersey official who came to national prominence with his 117-113 card for Shannon Briggs against George Foreman more than a dozen years ago returned an equally preposterous 118-110 tally at the Pru on Saturday.
Layton, by the way, was one of the judges the IBF dispatched to Poland last fall to work Adamek's fight against Andrew Golota. If that didn't make him an honorary Pole, his work in the Estrada fight probably did.
Considering that Adamek's left eye was nearly swollen shut, he had the makings of a nasty purple welt on his right cheek, and his nose seemed to be turning the color of the Polish flag, it would be reasonable to assume that the guy who did all the damage won more than two of the 12 rounds, but that's exactly what Layton gave him.
Steve Weisfeld's 115-113 tally seemed more appropriate, but even Joseph Pasquale's 116-112 card seemed reasonable compared to Layton's. (TSS had it a 114-114 draw, and along press row scoring was similarly close.)
Adamek claimed afterward that “what you see in my eye is the result of a head-butt,” although if there was in fact a but we missed it and referee Lindsey Page did too. From the third or fourth round Adamek was breathing heavily and with his mouth wide open, and between several of the late rounds his corner appeared to be working on the Pole's legs as well.
Adamek claimed he had expected all along to go the full twelve rounds, but once Estrada demonstrated that he could beat him to the punch and had begun to use his head for a speed bag, Adamek was forced to turn his attention to attacking Estrada's still-ample midsection.
“I have no doubt Jason Estrada fought the fight of his life,” said Adamek, who claims not to have been surprised by Estrada's quickness. “And I knew he did not have the power for a one-punch knockout,” added Adamek, who claims to have been pacing himself accordingly.
Although most ringsiders had the fight closer than the judges, it would still have been incumbent on Estrada to decisively win the last round, and while he was able to block most everything Adamek threw his way over those last three minutes, Estrada didn't throw nearly as much leather as a might have been expected of a man in his position.
Adamek, in any case, advanced his 40-1 with the decision, and, more importantly, may have put himself in position to fight on HBO rather than GoFightLive next time out. Estrada dropped to 16-3 with the loss.
Fighting for the first time in more than a year, unbeaten Brooklyn super-middle Peter (Kid Chocolate) Quillin sleep-walked his way to a unanimous decision in his 10-rounder against Ecuadorean veteran Fernando Zuniga. There were no knockdowns, and an early cut sustained by Zuniga (a head-butt, ruled referee David Fields) was a non-factor. Judges Shafeeq Rashada and Hilton Whitaker both scored it 100-90, while Eugenia Williams had it 98-92. Qullin is now 21-0, Zuniga 28-10.
Polish super-middle Przemyslaw Majeski stretched his unbeaten pro mark to an even dozen as he thoroughly dominated his Youngstown (Ohio) opponent Anthony Pietrantonion (6-4) in their six-round prelim. Rashada, Whitaker, and Williams were in aggreement, returning 60-54 scorecards.
Fighting as a super-middle, Morganville's Dennis (Mama's Boy) Douglin improved to 7-0 by winning a unanimous decision over Seattle opponent Hunter (3-2-1). Williams and Whitaker had it 60-54, Rashada 59-55.
Popular Jersey City cruiserweight Patrick Farrell dropped his Bronx foe Jon (The FIghting Marine) Schneider in the first and third rounds on the way to a unanimous decision in their four-rounder. It wasn't quite the rout the scorecards (Rashada 40-33; Williams and Whitaker (40-34) would indicate, since when he wasn't bouncing off the canvas the Fighting Marine meted out some punishment of his own. Farrell is now 5-0, Schneider 7-5-1.
Earlier, Ukrainian cruiser Ismayl Sillakh won his tenth fight in as many tries with a fourth-round stoppage of Larry Pryor (6-6) of Houston. In a portent of things to come, Pryor hit the canvas twice in the third, going down first from a hard right and again, near the end of the round, when a left hook from Sillakh deposited him, conveniently, on one knee, with his back resting against a ring-pad in a neutral corner. When Pryor went down early in the fourth from a left hook that he appeared to have blocked, Steve Smoger had seen enough and waved it off at 0:47 of the round.
In the walkout bout, 2008 US Olympian Sadam Ali (5-0) outpointed fellow Brooklyn welter Jason Thompson ( 5-5-1).
Main Events/Ziggy Promotions
February 6, 2010
HEAVYWEIGHTS: Tomasz Adamek, 220 1/2, Gilowice, Poland dec. Jason Estrada, 237, Providence, RI (12) (Retains IBF International Title)
CRUISERWEIGHTS: Patrick Farrell, 202, Jersey City, N.J. dec. Jon Schneider, 192, Bronx, N.Y. (4)
Ismayl Sillakh, 185 1/2, Zaorozhye, Ukraine TKO'd Larry Pryor, 188 1/2, Houston, Tex. (4)
SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHTS: Peter Quillin, 163 1/2, Brooklyn, NY dec. Fernando Zuniga, 164, Esmeraldas, Ecuador (10)
Premyslaw Majewskij, 165, Random, Poland dec. Anthony Pietrantano, 164, Youngstown, Ohio (6)
Dennis Douglin, 162, Morganville, N.J. dec. Eddie Hunter, 167, Seattle, Washington (6)
WELTERWEIGHTS: Sadam Ali, 145, Brooklyn, NY dec. Jason Thompson, 146, Brooklyn, NY (4)