During the past three weeks, two cruiserweight champions have made news with impressive wins in the heavyweight division. Last Saturday in Germany, David Haye won the WBA heavyweight title by defeating Russian giant Nikolai Valuev. Two weeks earlier, Ring cruiserweight champion Tomasz Adamek dethroned erratic Polish legend Andrew Golota in Lodz, Poland with a crushing fifth round stoppage in a heavyweight fight that was billed as the “Polish Fight of the Century.”
The juxtaposition of these two wins raises the intriguing possibility that there will be much more action in the recently moribund heavyweight division, as faster, more mobile 200 pounders move up to successfully challenge their supersized, less athletic counterparts. It also begs the question, “When will Adamek and Haye fight each other?” (Does it? Really? -Ed.)
That question most certainly occurred to Adamek as he watched a tape of the Haye fight earlier this week. The power punching Pole did not hesitate to call out the new champion: “David, if you want to fight against somebody who punches back at your face—not the empty air—you know where to find me,” Adamek declared. “You call yourself the best heavyweight fighter in the world after running scared for the whole fight with Nikolai Valuev? It’s not even funny.”
After criticizing Haye for an exhibition “worthy of the London Marathon trophy” vs. Valuev, Adamek went on to say, “Talking is cheap. People don’t care how big you are during the press conferences. They want to see a man in the ring. I never say too much before my fights and my opponents are not saying a lot afterwards because they are knocked down. You say you want to be a people’s champion. If so, fight me. That’s what the people want.”
There’s no doubt that Haye-Adamek would be a “pick-em” fight, Kathy Duva of Main Events, Adamek’s co-promoter, said. “It’s been a very long time since the boxing public has seen the kind of action in a heavyweight title fight that they enjoyed before the advent of the Super Heavyweights who dominate the division these days.
“When a heavyweight title fight is exciting, there is always a ‘smaller’ guy in the ring pressing the action. Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Jack Dempsey and, of course, Evander Holyfield, to name a few, all fought in their primes under 215 pounds. The next great heavyweight will come from the cruiserweight division and we believe that he will be Tomasz Adamek.”
Adamek’s fight with Golota was viewed by more than 13 million people in Poland, in addition to the 17,000 raucous fans who packed the Atlas Arena in Lodz.
As a cruiserweight, Adamek won his last seven consecutive fights, five by KO. The Jersey City transplant won the IBF cruiserweight title last December in a blistering fight with Philadelphia’s Steve Cunningham, and successfully defended it twice in 2009 at Newark’s Prudential Center. Last year, Adamek was awarded the Ring Magazine cruiserweight Belt, recognizing him as their undisputed world cruiserweight champion.
Adamek will return to the Prudential Center on Saturday, February 6th in a twelve-round heavyweight fight.