This Saturday, boxing returns to afternoon television as NBC Sports broadcasts a heavyweight showdown between Tomasz Adamek and Vyacheslav Glazkov at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, N.Y.
Adamek is a two-division world champion and a former title challenger at heavyweight. Glazkov is among the more promising undefeated heavyweight prospects on the scene.
This is a fight with future world title implications for both men, and it has the potential to reshuffle the ratings at the top of the division.
|Per BoxRec||Tomasz Adamek||Vyacheslav Glazkov|
|Record:||49-2, 29 KOs||15-0-1, 11 KOs|
|Weight:||About 215-220 pounds||About 220-225 pounds|
|Hometown:||Jersey City, New Jersey||Lugansk, Ukraine|
Neither Adamek nor Glazkov is very big by contemporary heavyweight standards, but Adamek fought until deep into his career at 200 pounds or less. He's the naturally smaller man.
But he's also far more experienced. Adamek has fought over three times as many fights as Glazkov, and he's been in the ring with some of the best in the world.
Adamek is a native of Poland, but he's found a comfortable home in Jersey City and has developed a strong following among boxing fans on the East Coast.
Tomasz Adamek should probably be rated as one of the better pound-for-pound fighters of the past decade. Prior to campaigning at heavyweight, he captured world titles at light heavyweight and cruiserweight.
At heavyweight, Adamek has continued to be world class. He's beaten much larger men, including Chris Arreola in April 2010. But when he took his shot at Vitali Klitschko for the WBC heavyweight belt in September 2011, it was a classic case of a good big man beating a good small man. Adamek fought with valor and heart but was simply overwhelmed by the gigantic elder Klitschko brother.
Adamek hasn't gone away since that loss and recorded solid, if very close, decision victories over Eddie Chambers and Steve Cunningham in 2012. At 36, he still looks to have enough left to be a factor in the division, especially if the WBC decides to vacate the now-inactive Vitali Klitschko's belt.
I thought Vyacheslav Glazkov should have lost in his draw against Malik Scott last year. Still, the fight represented a huge step up in quality of opposition for Glazkov, and he showed tremendous durability and a deep gas tank.
He's a meaningful test for Adamek, and if Glazkov can manage to win here, he will deserve to be regarded as one of the young lions of the division.
Tomasz Adamek has an extensive amateur background and is a very good technical boxer. He controls distance and range well with his footwork and is an accurate combination puncher. He's very good at controlling the tempo of a fight, which will be a big advantage against a much less experienced fighter.
Adamek is among the most experienced fighters in the heavyweight division. He's survived tough battles against some of the top fighters of the last decade 175 pounds and up.
Vyacheslav Glazkov is a rugged, durable fighter with good punching power. He has a great body attack and cuts off the ring well. He's very much a puncher-boxer as a professional, but his own amateur credentials are extremely solid.
Glazkov has not always had to fight a lot of rounds in his fights, but his conditioning looked pretty good against Malik Scott, who forced him to keep moving all fight long.
Tomasz Adamek is not yet ancient at 36, but he's a small heavyweight and advancing years are not his friend. I think he looks like he's lost a little bit of his foot speed in the last year or two, but that could be partly a result of him fighting against Steve Cunningham and Eddie Chambers, who are both quick, small heavyweights themselves.
Still, if his movement really is diminished, it will make it tougher for him to take away Glazkov's strong body attack.
Vyacheslav Glazkov has a habit of letting his lead hand hang loose. That and a general lack of head movement made him a fairly easy target for Malik Scott's jab and straight right.
Glazkov attacks with determination, but that can cause him to come forward in a relatively predictable manner. If he makes it easy for Adamek to time his forward movement, he could be looking at a long afternoon.
Tomasz Adamek should use his jab and movement to frustrate Vyacheslav Glazkov in the early rounds. Adamek fights well both coming forward and circling back, so he should be able to make Glazkov chase him and then counter aggressively with sharp combinations when the Ukrainian attempts to get off with a punch.
When Glazkov presses forward and looks to pound away at his body, Adamek should fade back and catch Glazkov with a sharp left hook or uppercut as he lowers his level. He should follow that hook with a big right hand over the top.
Adamek needs to control the terrain of the ring and initiate engagement when he has the angles. If he can manage to take some steam out of Glazkov by the middle rounds, then he can shift gears and become more offensive and aggressive.
Vyacheslav Glazkov is going to need to turn in a better performance against Tomasz Adamek than he did against Malik Scott last year if he hopes to win. Adamek is a far more experienced and better all-around fighter than Scott, with more punching power.
Glazkov needs to tighten up his defense as he looks to press forward. He's going to have problems cutting off the ring on Adamek if he's eating jabs and lead hooks every time he moves into range.
But Glazkov has got to commit to the body attack just the same. Adamek is an older, smaller fighter and Glazkov should look to pound on his body and slow him down.
In the early rounds Glazkov should look to throw three or four body shots at a minimum for every punch he throws upstairs. If Glazkov can manage to put in some serious investment in the body attack in the first half of the fight, the second half of the fight will be very grueling for Adamek.
Fights like this are always compelling. We're looking at one of the most well-established veterans in the heavyweight division matched up with an undefeated prospect. This has the potential to be a changing-of-the-guard fight.
To me, the big question is going to be whether or not Adamek still has the kind of spring in his legs he did a few years ago when he was beating the likes of Chris Arreola. Steve Cunningham and Eddie Chambers pushed Adamek hard, and Glazkov is a stronger, more physical fighter than either of them.
Adamek is going to need to use a little bit of movement to take away Glazkov's body attack and to establish the angles for counterattacks. If the Ukrainian can launch a serious assault on Adamek's torso, we could very well be looking at a rewrite of the rankings at heavyweight.
Adamek probably isn't exactly the same fighter he was at 33, prior to losing by Round 10 TKO to Vitali Klitschko. But I think he's still got enough left to handle Glazkov. Glazkov might be stronger than Chambers and Cunningham, but he doesn't have either's speed or experience.
I'm picking Adamek by unanimous decision, eight rounds to four.