Adamek Squeaks by Cunningham in Boxing's Return to NBC

Adamek Squeaks by Cunningham in Boxing's Return to NBC
By Rob Tierney at ringside, Doghouse Boxing and Brick City Boxing (Dec 24, 2012) Doghouse Boxing

Tomasz “Goral” Adamek
On Saturday afternoon, boxing again returned to a place where most fight fans feel it always should be. For the second week in a row, Boxing was back on network TV. Last week the sport was featured on CBS and this week it saw airtime on NBC. Equally significant however, was the network’s decision to showcase the Heavyweight division, a trend that boxing pundits hope will continue.

The main attraction of the evening featured Tomasz “Goral” Adamek (47-2) in a highly anticipated rematch against former Cruiserweight rival Steve “USS” Cunningham (22-4). The fight was fought at the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Three knockdowns propelled Adamek to a victory over Cunningham in their first encounter back in 2008. On this occasion however, Adamek needed to prevail in what proved to be a fight to the finish in order to squeak out a decision over Cunningham on two of the three judges’ scorecards.

The fight was close. In fact, the fight was so close that neither Adamek’s die hard coalition of Polish supporters nor Cunningham’s entourage of Philadelphia fans could have reasonably filed a legitimate complaint. Regardless of which fighter fans may have cheered, the fight was fought within the margin of human judging error.

Throughout the fight, Cunningham snapped a crisp, clean jab at range as Adamek attempted to steal close rounds with flurries in the final seconds of each round. Both men had their moments which seemed to come to fruition, more often than not, in the final seconds before the bells tolled. Still, heading into the Championship rounds, Cunningham seemed to have the edge. Unfortunately for Cunningham however, the final rounds may have ultimately been where Steve lost the fight.

In the final rounds, Adamek was pressing the action. It proved to be the determining factor in pushing him over the necessary edge which was needed to seal the deal. While Cunningham did not coast in the final rounds, he did appear to be holding back ever so slightly compared to the earlier rounds. Upon review during future days, Cunningham’s closing cautiousness may come to haunt him.

Just as a previous panel did in 2008, two of three judges seated at ringside today awarded a competitive fight to Tomasz Adamek after all was complete. Although it was initially ruled a draw on ringside judge Debra Barnes scorecard, the result was quickly recalculated concluding in a split decision victory for Adamek after it was determined that Barnes’ card was added incorrectly. While some at ringside suspected foul play, it must be noted that 115 to 115 simply did not add up, and clearly did not make sense, in a twelve round fight that saw each fighter win close rounds while staying off the canvass. The mistake was most likely the result of Main Event’s last minute push to rush the verdict to Michael Buffer before NBC was scheduled to switch over to a previously scheduled recording. Regardless, most ringside observers would not have been surprised if the decision went the other way.

After their first fight, Cunningham claimed that he would “box more” if granted a rematch. He did. However, in a fight of such competitive nature, a knockdown is often needed in order to strip away a belt strap from a defending Champion. Cunningham could not provide one.

In their first encounter, Adamek scored three knockdowns which catapulted him past a then IBF Cruiserweight Champion Steve “USS” Cunningham. This year, Cunningham was the challenger and he did not provide the packing, power filled Heavyweight punch necessary to knock down Adamek and move past a now IBF North American Heavyweight Champion Tomasz Adamek on the scorecards. Yet, both fighters did their part for the sport by bringing their A game in a bout that saw steady action and displayed more than enough drama and skill to keep even the casual, network television observer from changing the channel. Hopefully, it did more than that and convinced NBC, and other networks, to showcase the sport, specifically the Heavyweight division, on more Saturday afternoons in the future.

For much more from Rob, you should also visit:

© Copyright / All Rights reserved: Doghouse Boxing Inc. 1998-2012