Last night Tomasz Adamek and Chris Arreola turned in the most memorable heavyweight fight in years. The Battling Pole and the courageous Mexican-American slugger went at it in a non-stop, all action battle.
Going into this fight the odds were relatively even. People favoring Adamek cited his boxing skills and speed; the Arreola camp believed in his power. Everyone agreed that no matter what happened, it'd be a good fight. As it turns out, everyone was right.
The first round started as your typical "feel-out" round. Then Adamek started landing combinations and Arreola had no choice but to reply with big punches. For the next few rounds, the pride of Poland laid it on the line as he walked over and over again into the lion's den to land big combos and countered "The Nightmare's" big shots brilliantly.
Around this time my friend asked if I felt this fight has knock out potential. I replied that that was not necessarily the case. Adamek has a concrete chin and because he's "punching up," as it were, he may not possess the power to stop Arreola. I then pointed out that 12 rounds of heavy shots wasn't a bad alternative.
In the fourth, fifth, and sixth, Arreola owned the fight. He waded in and used his size and power to bully Adamek around the ring. His heavy right hands and battering left hooks took their toll on the Polish warrior. And, in a strange equipment failure I have never seen before, Adamek's shoe split and athletic tape had to be wrapped around it to keep it attached to his foot.
Anyway, the seventh and eight were somewhat even rounds as the former Cruiserweight champion was able to regain his composure and get back to his strategy of outworking the big American. Adamek then won the ninth solidly.
In the 10th Arreola again found his bombs but a wayward right hand that seemed to scrape across the top of Adamek's head caused some sort of injury and made Arreola visibly wince in pain. Poland's favorite son took full advantage of the opportunity and rallied late.
Depending on how you scored it, both fighter's needed the last two rounds and came out fighting like they knew it. Again, LA's favorite heavyweight stormed out of his corner hurling bombs but again hurt his right hand, this time much more severely. A testament to Arreola's determination is that he responded to his involuntary spasm of pain by protesting to the referee that he was fine to continue.
However, with his best weapon neutralized, Adamek was able to out-box him over the course of last rounds, working behind his jab, land solid body shots, and countering Arreola's jabs with what I call "Walcott punches" (go to youtube and search "Walcott Charles" to see what I mean).
The scorecards were odd though. Adamek won a 114-114, 115-113, 117-111 majority decision. In defeat however, Arreola was gracious and respectful, applauding the fight, accepting defeat, and praising fans of both ethnicities. His line, "I mean, c'mon, I look like f***king Shrek!" is one for the ages.
All in all, I'd have to say that this is the best heavyweight fight in years. Probably the best since Lewis defeated Vitali Klitschko in 2004. So what's next for these brave warriors? Well, more great fights is what I'm guessing. the first decade of the 21st century has not been kind to the Heavyweight division, but these two give a reason to hope.