Four years ago I sat ringside with my dad and watched Tomasz Adamek legitimately win a fight over then cruiserweight Steve Cunningham. Today I sat in a suite above the ring as a member of the press and watched Steve Cunningham, now a heavyweight, out box Tomasz Adamek for twelve rounds and face the press in tears after the decision was not rewarded to him.
We, as boxing fans, are not strangers to this lately. A shame it may be, but it is also a reality. Quite often boxers fight the right fight, are the smarter boxer, and land more punches, end up losing the fight that they should have won. Tonight was no exception. Two out of the three judges scored the fight in favor of Tomasz Adamek, only one in favor of Steve Cunningham.
The fight started with Cunningham boxing with a noticeably sleeker style than what was seen in the first meeting between these two, Adamek throwing punches in flurries at the end of the rounds. Around the third round Cunningham began counterpunching and working off of his jab. This proved to be quite effective, as he was landing punches that left Adamek stunned throughout the middle rounds of the fight. While Adamek, on my scorecard at least, did win a few rounds, they happened to be the rounds that Cunningham was not utilizing his counterpunching abilities.
It was reminiscent of the Eddie Chambers v. Tomasz Adamek fight in which Chambers, who injured his arm early in the fight, clearly out boxed Adamek. As trainer Nazim Richardson said at the post fight press conference tonight in Bethlehem, “With Chambers you saw Adamek get beat with the right hand, Tonight he got beat with the left,” referencing the presence of Cunningham’s jab. Cunningham, who has faced questionable decisions in the past, simply asked the crowd who gathered at the press conference “What more can I do? If it were as easy as knocking everybody out, just getting in there and knocking guys out I would have a perfect record and we wouldn’t have a sport.”
The undercard, however, was not as controversial. In the first fight of the evening a face familiar to fans that frequent the NBC Sports Network, William Miranda, took on fellow Heavyweight David Williams. While Miranda struggled to find a pace that suits him, he was able to establish a game plan and win some rounds. However, the bruised and bloodied Miranda could not win enough rounds to take home the victory. The judges scored the fight a draw.
Atlantic City Native Osnel Charles was next up facing off against another Philadelphia fighter Naim Nelson. Nelson was the taller fighter and made it hard for Charles to get inside to make contact. While Charles was able to land some good body shots in the first round Nelson was the clear aggressor taking the fight to the middle of the ring and keeping it there. Low blows were a signature of this fight. Both fighters taking moments to recover, and then Charles actually going down due to a low punch. While watching this fight I noticed the referee. It was Steve Smoger, who is notorious for not stopping fights when maybe they should have been. I realized that perhaps with any other referee the fight would not have gone the distance. It did go the distance and the judges scored it 77-75, 78-74, and 78-74 all in favor of Naim Nelson.
In the last fight before the TV cameras started rolling Allentown, PA’s own Jerome Rodriguez, who was quite close to home, fought just his second fight against Edwardo Stith, who was making his pro-debut. It proved to be too much for Stith who was taking punishment as soon as the bell rang to start the first round. He managed to get out of danger and survive the round but referee Gary Rosato decided he had had enough and called a halt to the action in the second round.
Once the cameras were rolling and Michael Buffer was calling the action Vyacheslav “Czar” Glazkov stepped into the ring to square off against Tor Hamer. It was clear from the beginning of the first round that Glazkov was the better boxer, although Hamer was giving him a fight. Although Glazkov was getting the better exchanges between the two that took place in the middle of the ring, Hamer was looking like the more technical boxer. While in the second round Glazkov was absolutely the more effective fighter, Hamer’s work to the body was something to remark about. Heavy exchanges became the principal in this fight, with Hamer getting the worst of them. After taking punishment for the third and fourth round Hamer did not come out for the sixth round and Glazkov went home with the victory. At the post fight press conference Glazkov said that he was “not surprised that Hamer did not continue, I could see in his eyes that he was almost done.” Kathy Duva, CEO of Main Events, touted Glazkov as the next Heavyweight sensation.
It was an afternoon of boxing that made us all a little happy. Perhaps reminiscent to see the Heavyweight division displayed as it was. However with the good came the bad. Main Events in coordination with NBC have put on a series of good boxing shows this year, making huge strides in bringing boxing into households everywhere. It seems unfortunate that the boxing fans who were watching on network TV, preparing for the holidays, and enjoying an old fashion Saturday afternoon fight, were exposed to the ugly side of boxing. The unfair, unexplainable side. Lets hope they liked what they saw enough to give it another chance.