Arreola and Adamek plan to showcase skill in showdown
Fans who are desperately searching for a worthy challenger for heavyweight champ Wladimir Klitschko probably won’t find their savior in Saturday’s showdown between top-10 contender Chris Arreola and former cruiserweight champ Tomasz Adamek.
Arreola (28-1, 25 knockouts) has already failed to topple one of the Klitschkos, older brother Vitali, who dominated him to a 10th-round mercy stoppage last September. The 28-year-old Southern Californian gamely marched forward throughout the fight but he lacked the conditioning and versatility to cut the ring off on his giant, 10-year-older foe.
Adamek (40-1, 27 KOs), a former light heavyweight titleholder, has only fought twice at heavyweight after a successful pit-stop at cruiserweight. In his last fight, the popular Pole, who is now based in Jersey City, N.J., out-pointed Jason Estrada with a higher punch output and body attack but he never hurt or even backed up the light-punching 2004 Olympian.
However, just because Arreola might be this generation’s “Two-Ton” Tony Galento and Adamek is undersized for a modern heavyweight doesn’t mean their HBO-televised fight isn’t worth watching. Fans who could care less about the Klitschkos and just want to see an exciting smashup between two gutsy big men will likely get their wish.
Arreola is the sport’s only consistently entertaining heavyweight contender as evidenced by his made-for-TV brawls with Travis Walker, Damian Wills, Chazz Witherspoon, and Brian Minto. The L.A. native is a hard-charging, heavy handed combination puncher who doesn’t mind taking shots in order to land a few bombs of his own.
Adamek also has a history of engaging in barnburners. The 33-year-old veteran has been in three 12-round candidates for Fight of the Year — his two hard-fought decision victories over Paul Briggs at light heavyweight and his breath-taking split nod over Steve Cunningham for THE RING cruiserweight title. So far, he has retained his busy boxer-puncher style as he’s climbed in weight.
“The heavyweight division needs this fight,” Arreola’s promoter Dan Goossen said during the final press conference on Monday. “The message I'm trying to get out there is that this fight is going to be pure excitement. It's two fighters looking to knock the other out.”
While both Arreola and Adamek would relish a KO victory don’t expect the two to emulate Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots for the duration of their scheduled 12-rounder, which takes place at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, Calif. Both fighters want to make statements that will require their underrated boxing skills to be on display.
Arreola wants to prove that he’s more than a fan friendly slugger. He says that he will weigh in at a quick and mobile 240 pounds and do to Adamek what he wasn’t able to do against Klitschko — establish his jab and control the distance.
“I’m going to use my distance and use my jab a lot smarter,” Arreola told RingTV.com. “People are going to be like ‘Wow. You can do that?’ I’m going to prove that I’ve been boxing for a long a time. People still think I’m just a clubbing fighter who only comes forward.
“I want to showcase my skills and solidify everything that my trainer, Henry (Ramirez), and my strength and conditioning coach, Darryl (Hudson), have worked with me on.
“The main thing I’ve worked on with Hudson is lateral movement. We did a lot of foot drills, a lot of quickness drills, a lot of agility drills, because I assure you, (Adamek) is not going to fight me the way he fought in the cruiserweight and light heavyweight divisions. We saw what he did against Estrada, who isn’t a puncher. I’m considered a puncher. He’s going to run and move and I’m going to have to chase him down and do what I have to do.”
Adamek admits that he doesn’t plan to hold his ground against of Arreola, who will at least be 20 pounds heavier, but he maintains that stinking a fight out isn’t in his nature.
“I will fight smart and box,” he said. “I am not going to just stand there in front of him, but I won’t run either.”
Adamek believes a combination of hand speed and a disciplined stick-and-move strategy will enable him beat Arreola, THE RING’s No.-6 rated heavyweight. He hopes a victory Saturday night will prove that he has the size to compete with large heavyweights and the ability to challenge the division’s top fighters.
“I’m not getting any younger,” Adamek told RingTV.com through interpreter Przemek Garczarczyk. “I will be 34 this year. The most important thing for me is the challenge. I’m putting the challenges in front of me. I don’t want to fight nobodies or mediocre opponents. I want to fight top people.”
Adamek, who added veteran trainers Ronnie Shields and Roger Bloodworth to his team for the Arreola fight, is clearly serious about climbing the heavyweight ladder. His opposition stiffens with each fight in his new weight class.
His heavyweight debut was a crushing fifth-round KO of faded 42-year-old former title challenger Andrew Golota in what was a major event in their native Poland last October. Adamek’s second heavyweight bout, which took place before 10,000 mostly Polish fans at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., in February, was his unanimous decision over Estrada.
The victory over the former amateur standout was impressive but the fight still raised questions about Adamek’s heavyweight potential. Estrada is a fast and skilled prospect who entered the bout with a respectable 16-2 record, but only four knockouts to his credit. The Providence, R.I., native, who could have been more competitive had he let his hands go more, was able to zero in with his left hook and right cross with regularity against Adamek, prompting many members of the ringside media to wonder what would happen if a heavyweight with more power landed the same punches.
The boxing world will find out on Saturday.
Arreola is practically giddy with anticipation.
“I’m going to make him fight my fight,” he said. “I’m going to make him fight at my pace. I’m not going to fight when he wants to fight. I’m going to fight when I want to fight.”
If Arreola is able to immediately set the pace and close the distance on Adamek, fans will be treated to the battle they’re expecting. If Adamek can take his power and do what he usually does — outwork his opponents — the fight will exceed expectations.
However, Adamek’s plan of utilizing his superior speed and footwork might keep Arreola at bay and off balance, forcing the bigger, younger man to prove that he has the conditioning and discipline to make the necessary adjustments.
Such a scenario probably won’t make for the Fight of the Year, but it might produce a worthy heavyweight title challenger.