At this week's final pre-fight press conference, former cruiserweight, now heavyweight contender Tomasz Adamek 44-1 (28) said, “I have the utmost respect for Vitali, who came back at age 37 and became world champion. But every great story has an end, and his great story as a champion will end on Saturday. I will do everything to keep the WBC belt in Poland.”
Yes, that's no doubt fighter talk, but coming from Adamek, it sounds more believable than it did coming out of David Haye's mouth last summer before he fought Vitali's younger brother Wladimir Klitschko for three of the four currently recognized heavyweight belts in existence. Adamek, 34, isn't known for his gift of gab or predictions. He's just done everything in his power to best ready himself for the monumental task at hand, that is trying to become the first fighter to dethrone Klitschko, 40, as the reigning WBC heavyweight champ. He's slowly, but persistently moved up the heavyweight ranks and sought to fight the best available opponents with varying styles. And that shows he hasn't just rushed himself into the fight. Commend him for going about and preparing for a title bout the right way.
“When I go into the ring, I go to win. My heart is strong, my spirit too. I am not going to the ring to lose. I want to win. This is my dream.”
And as much as some would love to see Adamek's dream come true because of Klitschko fatigue, the question, and it's the only question that really matters is – “does Tomasz posses the needed tools to pull off what would be considered a major upset in the eyes of many boxing observers?
The quick answer is no.
In order for Adamek to be effective, he must try and get inside. Obviously since he's at least six inches shorter and is at a huge reach disadvantage, his best chance to score has to be inside where he can neutralize everything Klitschko likes to do except throw uppercuts. Once inside, if he can get there, his quicker hands should be a plus. It's just that for him to do that, he'll have to address Vitali's long and heavy jab that he not only throws straight, but also up and down with variation. In addition to that, it's not unrealistic to picture Vitali using his legs to draw Adamek to him while setting him up for his finishing right hand to pot shot him with in the midst of breaking him down.
The problem for Adamek is, Klitschko 42-2 (39) can adjust to anything he tries to do physically or strategically. And everyone knows that the opposite certainly doesn't apply for Adamek. Actually, Tomasz will practically be at Vitali's mercy. It's one thing to have all the will and skill in the world, but if your opponent is too much for you physically and also possesses enough skill to offset yours, what do you do? And in this fight – “will” won't be enough to as former champ “Smokin Joe Frazier used to say, “get the job done.” I don't question Adamek's will, but I do have unanswered questions about his size, skill and power, especially if Vitali Klitschko is in the other corner.
Adamek has said repeatedly in the run up to this fight that “speed is power.” However, I don't believe that'll be the case this time. After all, does it really matters if Vitali has to eat a couple of Adamek's rushed jabs and right hands in order to open him up for his own, which will no doubt return a big dividend? This is another fight involving Vitali Klitschko in which there isn't a need for a sophisticated analysis and breakdown.
Unfortunately, Adamek doesn't really have much of an identity other than being a hardworking and likable grinder. Is he a great boxer with anywhere close to outstanding speed? No. Is he a genuine life-taker when it comes to power? No. Does he posses the physicality needed to make Klitschko adjust or do something he doesn't want to? No. And this is why it's so hard to make a case for him to win.
Sure, Klitschko-Adamek has been hyped up because there's not much to get excited about in today's heavyweight division. But I can't get excited about a fight that lacks drama. If Adamek had at least one weapon that Klitschko would have to address before he implements fighting his fight, then perhaps I'd have my hopes up for a compelling fight. If Adamek can't out-punch, out-box or out-fight Vitali Klitschko, how does he win?
I'm afraid when the fight concludes, Adamek will be thought of as basically an undersized heavyweight without a distinct style who lacked power and enough of a sturdy chin to hold up under Klitschko's assault and really test him, let alone beat him.
It's hard to envision Klitschko's great story, in Adamek's words, ending this coming Saturday.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com