If Vitali wanted to, he could follow Woods on Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/Woodsy1069
There was a beehive worth of buzz leading up to the Wladimir Klitschko-David Haye fight in some circles, though in the US, there was an absence of expected electricity. That was largely stemming from the fact that the fight took place in Hamburg, and wasn't truly promoted in the States like it could've been. But some of us strongly considered the possibility that the actual contest wouldn't match the pre-fight hype, the two plus years of heated back and forth between crap-stirrer David “All Hat, No Cattle” Haye and Wladimir. And sad to say, the clash was a bigger dud than most anyone predicted, as Haye went all Gandhi that night, and Wlad didn't let his blood reach a boil, didn't let Haye's verbal campaign distract him from his strategy.
There won't be as much buzz as we look ahead to the next meaningful heavyweight clash, which pits big brother Vitali Klitschko (42-2 with 39 KOs) against Polish contender Tomasz Adamek (44-1 with 28 KOs; sole loss to Chad Dawson, as a light heavyweight, in 2007), but we will bet the kids' college fund that fight, which will take place in Poland on Sept. 10, will be a more fan friendly encounter than the Wlad-Haye hoedown.
Vitali Klitscko and Adamek promised as much on Tuesday afternoon, at a press luncheon at HBO headquarters in Manhattan. Now, one might not have gotten that impression if one saw Adamek wish Klitschko a happy birthday–he turned 40 on Tuesday–and seen the men hug each other, or heard Vitali joke, “You will fight against an old man.” But if you're at all familiar with Adamek's resume, and V's KO-percentage, which is 89%, the highest of any heavyweight titlist in history, then you know that any fears we will see another dreary waltz are overstated.
A slight cloud hung over the room, as all fightwriters in attendance were well aware that HBO boxing boss Ross Greenburg had officially announced his impending resignation from the company a day before. But it was business as usual for the crew working the event, which included senior VP Kery Davis, and media relations' Ray Stallone and Kevin Flaherty. “Business as usually,” they stated when asked if Greenburg was still making decisions. Fair enough, considering that HBO will show a high profile tussle, the Amir Khan-Zab Judah fight, on Saturday night. TSS came away with the belief that truly, the folks underneath Greenburg are simply hacking away, doing their jobs, and waiting for some clarity on the future of boxing at the company.
“I know how good Adamek is, I know this will be a real battle, this will not be an easy fight,” said the birthday boy, who was relaxed, and thoughtful during the 1 1/2 hour session. “I do not want to underestimate him.”
Vitali addressed the lingering stink from the Wlad-Haye event, directly and indirectly, a few times. “A couple weeks ago, my brother fought Haye. Many journalists asked me, who is the stronger fighter. David Haye no question is the much stronger than Adamek…by talking. He's unbeatable by talking…It will be much more interesting than Haye fight. David Haye doesn't want to fight, he wants to run away. I know for Adamek it's a good challenge, good motivation to be world champion.”
Vitali reiterated his desire to fight Haye, and said he wants to knock Haye to the canvas, to punish him for his trashtalking. He stated that he didn't want to look past Adamek, and cited Mike Tyson looking past Buster Douglas, and his brother looking past Corrie Sanders as examples of what can happen if one looks past a foe.
“I am more than sure the fight September tenth will be much more dramatic, more action, than the my brother against Haye, because Haye runs away, he doesn't want to to fight, Tomasz is a fighter.”
Adamek took a slap at Haye as well. “I watched the fight, Haye doesn't want to win,” the Pole said.
Vitali was of good spirits, but he did work some psychology on the Pole. “I'm sorry, you were born light,” V said to Adamek, playing up his size advantage. “Speed is power,” the Pole said.
“A wise man once said, it's not the size of the man, it's the size of his heart,” Adamek's promoter Kathy Duva interjected. “And I might add, the size of his (cajones) to that.”
“Woman know better than anybody, that's not important,” Vitali countered, drawing gales of laughter.
Adamek is the anti David Haye, in many ways. He will never be tasked with hyping a fight, as he is a soft spoken man who is disarmingly down to earth, almost shy, in public settings.
But that doesn't mean he lacks confidence. I asked him if he will beat Vitali Klitschko when they tangle on Sept. 10.
Yes, an obvious question…but it's one I like to ask, because you'd be surprised how many fighters will not go out on a limb, and say that they will win. Not so Adamek; he didn't hesitate a second before saying.
“Yeah,” he said, stating that a firm belief in oneself is necessary.
But.. later, he talked of “giving a good show.” Also, he said, “If Vitali doesn't hold me, we will make good fight.” I do realize this is the realm of pop psychology, but Vitali picked up on it, and asked him if he wasn't laying the groundwork for an excuse, as David Haye did. So I'm not quite sure how much, deep in his heart, Adamek truly believes he parlay some perceived edges, or a single perceived edge, speed, into a win.
Adamek's chances will be helped immensely if Vitali turning 40 marked a deterioration in the fighter. I haven't seen it, and asked him if he had. Vitali said he has not, and said his trainer Fritz Sdunek is tasked with telling him if he's lost anything. The fighter said Sdunek was up front with him when he tore a knee ligament before a 2005 fight with Hasim Rahman, and told him not to fight, when others said to fight on, and wear a brace.
But of late, his body has held up quite well. Vitali said “not long” when asked how much longer he'd stay in the sport. He then alluded to a “dream” he held on to, which keeps him in the sport. I took it to mean a David Haye fight. I asked Vitali about fighting Haye. He said he wanted to fight Haye, but Wlad convinced V to let him fight the Brit. The elder bro said he wanted to punish Haye for his trash talking, and that “I want very much to send him to the floor, and I know I can do that.”
A few times, he had to bring himself back to the present task, Adamek, but it seems clear Haye is on his mind. Manager Bernd Bonte spoke up, and said that Team Klitschko wasn't pursuing a another Haye fight. He likened Haye to Sultan Ibragimov, and portrayed the Brit as unworthy of being considered for another Klitschko tussle, because of his poor showing.
I asked Vitali if the way he won was important to him.
“The biggest entertainment for boxing fans is when you send your opponent to the floor,” he answered. “I know Tomasz has good chin, good speed, but it's good challenge, can I send him to the floor. I can.”
Adamek, who won titles at 175, and cruiserweight, said he will come in around 218-220 on fight night. Vitali has been around 250 pounds for the last ten years, and is 6-7 1/2, versus 6-1 1/2 for the 34-year-old Adamek.
I don't see Adamek being able to have that much more luck than most everyone Vitali has beaten since he won the vacant WBC belt against Sanders in 2004. I like underdogs, and I admit a fondness for Duva, whose candor and determination I admire, so I hope he performs well. She deserves mucho credit for her long term planning to get Adamek to this place, where he figures to make over $3 million. But a diet of Kevin McBride, Vinnie Maddalone, Michael Grant etc won't do Adamek any favors in his quest. Then again, as Duva pointed out, apart from Wlad, it's not like there are others out there who could've provided a similar level of test for the Pole.
TSS Universe, please weigh in. Could Adamek break Vitali's ten fight winning streak? Or will he have to be happy with being rewarded for patience and resilience with a career-high payday, his IRA fight?