In December of 2008, as the house was being decorated for the holidays, shopping was being finished up, and the chill in the air was beginning to set I went to a fight with my dad. The main event was Steve Cunningham, a cruiserweight from Philadelphia, PA who was returning to the US after a stint of fights in Europe facing Tomasz Adamek, the polish sensation that was almost guaranteed to sell out the (at that time) new Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. Hailing from Poland, Adamek, who now resides in Jersey City, NJ was making a name for himself in the United States, after blowing apart the cruiserweight division in Poland.
I was ringside, with my dad, not really expecting anything too special. I can’t really remember the undercard except for Devon Alexander, who won buy TKO. My dad knew a lot about Cunningham, and told me that’s whom we would root for. The crowd was loud, raucous, and mostly Polish. There were pockets of cheers for Cunningham, but they were drowned out by the Polish chorus when he hit the canvas all of three times throughout the fight.
Adamek won the fight. But it was a great fight. My dad still remembers it as one of the best he has seen live. And they are doing it again.
I have a feeling it might be different this time. The fight is taking place at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem, PA, which could be considered a halfway point between Jersey City and Philadelphia. Adamek has suffered a devastating TKO loss to a Klitschko and a controversial win over Eddie Chambers. Cunningham has lost two more times, both times to Yuan Pablo Hernandez in Hernandez’s home country of Germany. And, perhaps the biggest game changer in this match up; the fight is taking place in the Heavyweight Division.
Cunningham made his heavyweight debut in September of this year with a unanimous decision win over Jason Gavern. Cunningham won every round, looking every bit as athletic and sleek as he did at cruiserweight. Adamek made his move up to heavyweight in October of 2009, scoring a TKO over Andrew Golata in his native Poland.
Adamek has more time at heavyweight, yes, but there isn’t much to be said about the quality of opponents in the weight class. He has faced journeymen like Vinny Maddalone, Michael Grant, and Chris Arreola. While there isn’t exactly a lot of competition at heavyweight, I think there are certainly better opponents than veterans of the club show scene, like Maddalone. Adamek did face two formidable opponents at heavyweight. Vitali Klitschko, to whom he suffered a TKO loss and Philadelphia’s own Eddie Chambers to whom he won what was touted as a “hometown decision”.
This time, I think, its Cunningham who has the advantage. He looks to be the stronger fighter. He has the height and reach advantage, and he gets the opportunity to fight in a neutral ground. With the days of selling out the prudential center behind him, I think that Adamek is in for a different fight this time. I don’t think the Venue is the only thing that will be different.
Official Boxing Diva Prediction: Cunningham by decision.
Leave your predictions in the comments below!