Tomasz Adamek tuned up for his September 10 date with WBC champ Vitaly Klitschko by going twelve hard rounds with a heavy bag at the Prudential Center in Newark Saturday night.
The bag, in this case was a lumbering giant named Kevin McBride.
Although Adamek dominated the bout from start to finish, he was unable to make so much as a dent in the plodding McBride, but he never for a moment let the big man get close enough to test his chin.
McBride’s strategy, if he had one, was more or less the same one that he had used in his historic upset of Mike Tyson half a dozen years earlier. Fully aware that he couldn’t hope to match Adamek’s superior speed, he tried to use his 66-pound weight advantage by leaning on his smaller foe and pounding away whenever Adamek got close enough to succumb to a clinch, but he was frustrated in his attempt to wear Adamek down by referee Randy Neumann, who discouraged such grappling by quickly interceding to break clinches, sometimes even before they had actually happened.
Neumann, after warning McBride several times, deducted a point from the Irishman in the seventh round for holding and hitting. From that point on, McBride’s battered face bore a look of quiet resignation. He continued to plod after Adamek in the vain hope that the Polish contender might get careless the way he had against Michael Grant last August and stand in one spot long enough for him to land one of his ponderous bombs, but Adamek proved far too elusive for that. (In McBride’s corner, Goody Petronelli urged his fighter to “rough him up.” McBride responded with a withering look of frustration that seemed to say “and just how am I supposed to do that?)
McBride, after all, comes from a country where his rebellious ancestors were known to go into battle against British riflemen with pikes and pitchforks, with predictable results. Similarly outgunned, he stayed the course to the end. Although the pesky Adamek must have landed eight punches for every glancing blow McBride so much as threw, it often seemed to have all the effect of a BB gun against Godzilla. Though he was caught flush enough to stop him in his tracks a few times and his face was a mass of lumps by the end, McBride never appeared to be in any danger of going down, and it is doubtful that viewing tapes of the Newark fight will cause the elder Dr. Klitschko to have any second thoughts about the September meeting.
Fighting in the home of the New Jersey Devils for the seventh time in his last nine fights, Adamek made the most of his home-ice advantage, drawing on the support of an overwhelmingly Polish crowd of over 7,500 paid. The vociferous red-clad Adamek rooters drowned out the smattering of McBride fans. (McBride made his own defiant statement before the fight when, after making his entrance, he seized the Irish tricolor from flag-bearer Martin Ward and, clutching it in his gloves, personally paraded it around the ring.)
Judges Lynnne Carter and Larry Hazzard, Jr. both scored the bout 119-108, while Robert Grasso scored it a 120-107 shutout for Adamek, as did the Sweet Science. (The bout was scheduled for 12 rounds because a couple of meaningless extraterrestrial titles were at stake.)
Adamek raised his professional record to 44-1 with his fifth win in as many fights as a heavyweight. His only loss remains the 2007 decision he dropped to Chad Dawson in their WBC light-heavyweight title fight in Florida.
McBride, whose claim to fame remains his 2005 stoppage of onetime heavyweight champion Tyson, fell to 35-9-1 with his fifth loss in six fights over the past five years. (His only intervening win was a three-round split decision over Franklin Egobi in London last year on one of SKY’s trashsport “Prizefighter” shows.)
Like the 6’7” Grant, who Adamek decisioned at The Rock last year, the hulking Clones Colossus had been hand-picked as an opponent primarily because his physical dimensions (6’6”; 285) approximated those of the Brothers Klitschko. (When the Main Events-K2 contract was signed, Adamek didn’t know which Klitschko he would be fighting, but the Ukrainian brothers appear to have settled that issue among themselves. With Wladimir pointing toward a summertime unification fight against David Haye, Adamek would get Vitaly in the fall, but, the Klitschkos’ manager Berndt Bohne made it clear a few days ago, that was all contingent on Adamek beating McBride. If he lost, all bets were off. By taking care of business, Adamek made sure that didn’t happen.)
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In the evening’s co-feature, Brooklyn welterweight (and 2008 U.S. Olympian) Sadam Ali impressively knocked out his Puerto Rican opponent Javier Perez in three to run his perfect pro record to 12-0. Ali might have finished the job even earlier but for his impatience; a solid left hook in the first round put Perez down. He struggled to his feet at the count of eight, but nearly a minute remained in the round. Determined to take him out, Ali swarmed him to throw at least two dozen rapid-fire punches, only a few of which even landed.
A left hook at, or perhaps just after, the bell ending the first actually put Perez down again, but referee Earl Morton somewhat bewilderingly administered no count, but ignored it altogether. Either it was a legal blow (ergo, a knockdown) or not, in which case it would seem that Ali should have been penalized; instead it was a no-call.
Ali collected himself thereafter, and after dominating the second, in the third he exploded with a hook off the jab that put Perez down for good. Morton abandoned his count without completing it to retrieve the mouthpiece from the fallen opponent at 2:40 of the third. Perez is now 8-5.
Adamek’s light-heavyweight countryman Andrej Fonfara (17-2) overpowered Ray Smith, knocking out the Arkansas journeyman at 1:04 of the fourth. Smith (9-6), who in his last trip East acquitted himself well in losing to unbeaten Mark Tucker on a Lou DiBella card in New York in February, was never in this one.
Fonfara won his pro debut in Poland in June of 2006, fought in Chicago three weeks later, and had performed exclusively in Illinois since. His career includes a six-month hiatus occasioned when he tested positive for steroids after a 2009 win over Skyler Thompson on the Fres Oquendo-Mark Brown undercard at the UC Pavilion.
Well in control for the first three rounds, Fonfara landed a double-jab followed by a crushing right hand in the fourth, and while Smith remained erect, it wasn’t for long. Fonfara jumped on him with a barrage of punches, and a left to the body followed by a hard right knocked his opponent into the ropes, which kept him momentarily erect, but a perfunctory left hook completed the task. Referee Allan Huggins abandoned his count with a dazed Smith crawling about on all fours.
By the skin of his teeth and the kindness of two judges, Queens’ Joselito Collado remained unbeaten at 12-0 after eking out a split decision over Irvington (N.J.)’s Rafael Lora (11-4) in a scrap between Dominican-born junior lightweights. A second-round collision of heads brought blood streaming from Collado’s left eye, and while referee Earl Morton ruled the head-butt accidental, it did seem to discombobulate Collado. In the fourth, Collado blatantly delivered a three-punch combination to Lora’s scrotum, resulting in a one-point deduction from Morton (who would have been justified in taking three). Perhaps sensing that he might be in trouble, Collado fought with a fury in the last round to gain the edge. Luis Rivera (57-56) and Hilton Whitaker (a bizarre 59-54) scored it for Collado, while Waleska Roldan favored Lora 57-56. The hard-luck loss was the fourth on the trot for Lora, who began his career 11-0.
In earlier, off-TV bouts, 20 year-old Dominican-born Jersey City junior welter Jose Peralta Alejo (6-1) TKO’d his 37 year-old Columbian foe Ever Luis Perez (12-20) at 2:49 of the third, East Hanover’s Vinny O’Brien (2-0) stopped Shakur Aquel Dunn (0-1) at 2:51 of the fourth in a matchup of fledgling New Jersey welterweights.
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April 9, 2011
HEAVYWEGHTS: Tomasz Adamek, 215, Gilowice, Poland dec. Kevin McBride, 285, Clones, Ireland (12)
LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHTS: Andrej Fonfara, 175, Warsaw, Poland KO’d Ray Smith, 179, Little Rock, Ark. (4)
WELTERWEIGHTS: Sadam Ali, 149 ½, Brooklyn, NY KO’d Javier Perez, 146 ½, Ponce, Puerto Rico (3)
Vinny O’Brien, 146, East Hanover, NJ TKO’d Shakir Aquel Dunn, 145, Newark, NJ (4)
JUNIOR WELTERS: Jose Peralta Alejo, 142, Jersey City, NJ TKO’d Eber Luis Perez, 136, Bolivar, Colombia (3)
JUNIOR LIGHTWEIGHTS: Joselito Collado, 128, Queens, NY dec. Rafael Lora, 128, Santiago, D.R. (6)