He looks gangly, moves with the grace of a teenage boy after a massive growth spurt and is almost as risk averse as his little brother. Vitali Klitschko will not go down in history as a majestic technician of pugilism who wowed crowds with thrills and chills. But he must be given his due for his effectiveness. On Saturday night in Poland, Vitali handled native son Tomasz Adamek with ease, using his reach, superior ring generalship and power edge to achieve a KO win, in round ten, in front of 45,000 boxing fans at Municipal Stadium in Wroclaw.
The referee Massimo Barrovecchio, showing a brain and admirable heart, stepped in with 41 seconds to go, and saved Adamek some brain cells.
Klitschko scored a knockdown in the sixth, and should have been credit for another in the second, when the ropes held up the Pole. But there was no need for a protest, because the ending of this one was never, ever in doubt after the first round.
Vitali went 230-608 and Adamek 89-301 in the punchstat department.
The WBC champion Klitschko (age 40; 42-2 with 39 KOs entering; born in the Ukraine, living in Hamburg, Germany ; 6-7) was 243 pounds, the lightest he's been since 1998, while Adamek (age 34; ex light heavyweight and cruiserweight titlist; 44-1 with 28 KOs entering; living in New Jersey; 6-2 1/2) was 216 pounds at the Friday weigh in.
With the win, the Klitschkos retain all the heavyweight belts, if you keep track of such things.
Jim Lampley, called the action for HBO, along with Max Kellerman and Emanuel Steward. He did so from Atlantic City, where he will work the Yuriorkis Gamboa-Daniel Ponce De Leon scrap. Before the action kicked off, Steward said Adamek could beat Vitali, but he thought it would be quite hard. Steward said he'd try to move and win by decision.
In the first, at 5:11 ET, after Vitali strolled to the ring to the accompaniment of AC/DC's "Hell's Bells," he established his desired distance, and his jab. There looked to be two weight classes separating the men. A minute in, Lampley said it had been "another Vitali whitewash." A right hand made Adamek stumble with 40 seconds to go. It landed high on the head, and messed with his balance. A left hook from Adamek, one of only 22 punches he threw, before the bell touched him a tiny bit, and gave the Poles hope for round two.
In the second, Adamek was busier. He looked to get closer, slip a shot, and counter. A long right sent Adamek to the ropes with 45 seconds to go. A right with five seconds left sent Adamek into the ropes, and the ropes held him up. Vitali stayed back, and waved Adamek towards him. Two rounds, two shots which buzzed the Pole.
In the third, Vitali showed his ace reflexes, as he scooted backward whenever he saw Adamek start to launch. Adamek couldn't get close enough to even graze big brother, by and large.
In the fourth, Vitali's short jab kept Adamek at bay. A right by the Pole gave the crowd a charge at 1:35. Adamek's face started puffing some. The Pole did land some jabs high on the body but a watcher couldn't see that bothering Vitali that much.
In the fifth, we saw Vitali's hugely underrated movement bothering Adamek. He moves to retreat to safety faster than a man that large should be able to. May I nominate him for "Dancing With the Stars?" He glued his right hand to his ear whenever he saw a hook enroute from Adamek, round in round out. Cutman Danny Milano tried to stop the blood flowing from Adamek's nose after the round.
In the sixth, Vitali started with more combos. He does this when he senses he has softened up a foe. He scored a knockdown a minute in off a jab-right followup, because the ropes kept him up. Adamek looked a beaten man at the end of the round.
In the seventh, Adamek landed a few jabs to the left pectoral, and did well to stay alive another round.
In the eighth, we heard Steward say Wlad has one punch power more than Vitali does, but doesn't have the aggressiveness to take advantage. Vitali went down at the end of the round, but it was ruled a slip, correctly so.
In the ninth, Vitali didn't choose to close the show. But he did what he'd done before. Harold Lederman begged for the Tim Witherspoon overhand right from Adamek after the round.
In the tenth, the ref took a hard look as Adamek ate clean shots.
SPEEDBAG The stadium is a brand new building which seats 45,000. This fight was the first heavyweight title fight to be held in Poland.
---This was Adamek's seventh fight at heavyweight. He was 6-0 with 2 KOs coming in.