Meanwhile, in Newark…
By Steve Kim, MaxBoxing (Sept 5, 2012) Doghouse Boxing
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Tomasz Adamek vs Travis Walker
While most of the focus of the boxing world will be on the supposedly important bout in Oakland between Chad Dawson and Andre Ward in Oakland on HBO (and, to a lesser degree, the card in Las Vegas featuring the junior welterweight tussle between Lucas Matthysse and Ajose Olusegun on Showtime on Saturday night), that afternoon has a card taking place at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, featuring Tomasz Adamek, a staple at “The Rock.”
 
This show, broadcast on WealthTV (3 p.m., ET) is largely overshadowed but Kathy Duva of Main Events believes the foundation they have laid with Adamek and the time differences between the promotions shouldn't hinder their efforts all that much.
 
“I hope so; you never really know until the day comes. I think that, to some extent, we are learning that we are facing a battle going in there in the afternoon, early on a day that is still technically the tail end of the summer,” she explained to Maxboxing last week. “It's easier to sell tickets at night, I gotta tell ya, but we'll still have a nice crowd there and I can't imagine that if someone’s really a fan, they're picking and choosing because they can come to our show. They'll have a nice dinner, go home and watch all the boxing they want. So it remains to be seen. We've learned that when fights happen in early September, people tend to wait till the last minute to make their decisions. So we're holding our breaths like everybody else.
 
“But selling tickets is a tough thing to do and thank God [Adamek] has the following he has because you'll always see a good contingent of people there and they're coming.”
 
Duva says she is “comfortable” with the projected gate but admits they won’t do the numbers they did when Adamek faced Michael Grant a couple of years ago. Main Event's has done its usual job of promoting and marketing the show locally, even going as far as flying a banner over the Jersey shore this past weekend (no word if “Snooki” will be in attendance or not, y’ know…her being a rival promoter and all).
 
But more troublesome to Duva than any other boxing programming this Saturday is the full slate of college football games all over the television dial. Baseball might be America's pastime but it's football - college and pro - that is now its passion. Even the most rabid Polish-American follower of Adamek follows the pigskin.
 
“You're right and I'm sure that plays into it too. These are Americans. They may have originated in Poland; their families may have - but that doesn't make them any less American. So they're going to be interested in all the same sports we're interested in. Also, it's not just the Polish people that come to our fights,” said Duva, of this card, also featuring a pair of heavyweights from Philly - Steve Cunningham and Bryant Jennings.

“But you're right; college football will have an effect.”
 
Duva added, “We've been clamoring for afternoon fights, ‘Bring ‘em back; bring ‘em back!’ Well, this was a test run because we'll be having one on NBC later in the year. So we're getting the kinks out now, figuring out what works and doesn't work because we're going back to something nobody has tried in 20 years.”
 
Even a consistent draw like Adamek is not immune to being hurt by other events at the box-office. This past June, his fight against Eddie Chambers was damaged significantly by the Euro Cup soccer tournament (which happened to be held in his native Poland). According to Duva, many of her best customers didn't just stay home to watch the Polish team play that afternoon; they actually went back to attend the festivities in person. Since that was the date given to Main Events by the NBC Sports Network, they had no choice but to proceed with the event.
 
Adamek is facing Travis “Freight Train” Walker. As this date was announced a couple of months ago, there was talk of James Toney being the foe. At one time, “Lights Out” was one of the best prizefighters on the planet. Now, he's just another faded guy playing out the string. As word leaked out that Toney may face Adamek, Main Events took some criticism for what was perceived as a gross mismatch and a bit of exploitation (although it says here that the Adamek we saw struggle mightily versus a one-armed Chambers wouldn't have blown out Toney).
 
Main Events, which is really promoting this show for the benefit of Polish television, needed a recognizable opponent. Say what you will about Toney’s current state; he's still a well-known figure to boxing fans and saleable in foreign markets. It's why Roy Jones can still find work over there. Eventually, Walker got the assignment.
 
So was Duva relieved that she wasn't in a position to have to defend that fight?

“I wouldn't say I was relieved; in some respects, James Toney is a marketable name and as a promoter, you have to think about that,” she said, pointing out the economic reality of this business. “We considered it; in the end, we decided that was not the way to go and so it didn't happen. So whenever we make a decision, we're trading off one thing for another. Travis Walker will put up a terrific fight. It'll be a great, entertaining match. It doesn't have the kind of name recognition that somebody like James Toney has. When you have budgets that are not unlimited and you have to make decisions, sometimes it's a lot harder than it looks. But I'm not going to make excuses. We came up with a great fight; we have a great show.”
 
DECEMBER 22ND
 
NBC makes its return to boxing on Saturday December 22nd. Is there any chance they feature a rematch between Adamek and Cunningham (who put on a memorable scrap back in December of 2008 at the Prudential Center)?
 
“I wouldn't rule that out but I'm not sure that's what it’ll be,” answered Duva. “We're going to have to wait and see. We've got a few different ideas percolating and I think we're going to see that fight eventually. I don't know if we're going to see it on that day but I wouldn't rule it out yet either. We have a lot of big decisions to make in the next few weeks.”
 
It's an exciting time for Main Events, which was on the brink of closing up shop several years ago. Now armed with this deal with NBC Sports, they are going through a renaissance period.
 
“I can't even describe; we are crazed - but happy. Working hard, we've added a couple of staff members because there's so much work to do and hopefully we don't grow too fast. But we had to grow a little bit and, yeah, this is what we dreamed of and I can't tell you how much fun it is to be able to sit there and say, ‘OK, y’ know, I'm going to decide. This is what I'm giving you; this is what we're offering.’ And God bless NBC; they've gone along with it. They trust us and it's just been tremendous.”
 
And yes, Main Events will be adding to its roster of boxers. Duva confirmed, “We are absolutely in the process of signing other fighters,” as they have recently inked Cunningham and junior lightweight Jerry Belmontes. “And I think in the next month or so, you'll be hearing that we signed a few more.”
 
TIX
 
Here's the ticket 411 for anyone that may want to see Adamek vs. Walker in person (and by the way, other than my guy, Bakari Lee, I literally don't know of anyone else who has WealthTV. To paraphrase a line from “Coming to America,” “He’s the one! He’s the one!”):
 
“Ironbound Throwdown” September 8th at Newark's Prudential Center features Tomasz Adamek vs. Travis Walker. Tickets priced at $180 ringside, $105, and $55 are available through Ticketmaster: online at www.ticketmaster.com; Charge-by-phone: 1-800-745-3000; Ticketmaster Express 866-448-7849; and Ticketmaster ticket centers. Tickets are also available at Prudential Center's Box Office and www.prucenter.com.
.

 
More of Steve's recent work below his contact info...
Steve can be reached at k9kim@yahoo.com and he tweets (and enjoys “Competitive Tweeting”) at www.twitter.com/stevemaxboxing. We also have a Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing.

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