It was an explosive atmosphere at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, CA for Saturday night’s main event between Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola, 28-2 (25) and Tomasz Adamek, 41-1 (27). This is the way it would and should be if the heavyweights weren’t considered dead in the United States; raucous action between two giant male humans, a nationalistic set of crowds representing Adamek’s Poland and Arreola’s Mexican-American contingent. Hell of a fight night, folks. The action was all Adamek beating Arreola to the punch in the opening rounds but, toward the middle of the battle, Arreola began to ramp up his violence and started landing heavyweight thunder to Adamek’s former light heavy and cruiserweight lightning. Down the stretch, it was Adamek’s fight to lose on the cards, but anyone’s game in the ring as both men were tired, hungry and landing heavy leather. In the end, however, it was Adamek scoring the win, taking a majority decision with scores of 114-114 (ridiculous), 115-113, and 117-111.
The action started with both men measuring each other at center ring and getting their jabs going. Despite Adamek’s move, over the past two years, from light heavyweight (175 pounds) to heavyweight (217 pounds tonight), both men appeared comparable in size. But Adamek was the sharper, faster guy, getting off first and letting his hands go in combination. Arreola plodded after him and shot that long jab. “The Nightmare” would get a jab, right, and left hook in late in the round and seemed to move Adamek early with his heavy jab.
But over the course of the next three rounds, Adamek found his groove as he glided around the ring a bit like Evander Holyfield, moving and darting, shooting the jab and right and then slipping to the side or coming in head first and clinching after a body shot.
“He headbutted me a lot,” said Arreola afterward, by means of explanation, not excuse. “I was getting buzzed by his headbutts.”
In the fifth, Adamek controlled the action with the jab, moving, jabbing, and sticking that right hand to Arreola as he moved in, open for the right. Arreola landed a right hand and thought he had Adamek hurt. The California native would flurry and let his hands go in bursts but not many shots landed and Adamek came out of that assault firing his own one-two.
A delay due to Adamek’s laces needing to be taped shut got round six off to a later start. Arreola came out strong and despite not landing much early, his effort drew cheers from the crowd. Two nice jabs by Arreola landed and Adamek came back with an inside flurry. A jab-jab-right by Arreola landed, then his chopping right by would land followed by an uppercut that grazed Adamek. Despite winning the round on this writer’s card, Arreola walked back to his corner looking tired and rubbery while Adamek seemed in perfect shape.
As the rounds wore on, Arreola seemed to get closer to the mark with his right hand but, overall, it was all Adamek. He’d get that multiple jab off first while sliding to his own left, then get in close to work Arreola’s body and chop away with counter right hands or one-twos that would hit the target before his foe would get his own off.
Arreola came out knowing he was down and needing a momentum change to start the tenth. Coming out loaded for bear and looking to get a knockout, Arreola bullied Adamek and landed some clean rights. A left uppercut/right hand combo was a highlight for Arreola as he had Adamek reeling and backpedaling, but Adamek showed his champion’s heart and came right back with a one-two of his own that rattled Arreola’s skull and a brutal fight broke out. Arreola seemed to get Adamek going a bit but landed a crushing one-two to the top of Adamek’s ducking head and appeared to damage his own left hand. Then the action got nasty. Right hand leads, hard jabs, left hooks, and body shots were traded back and forth like hot stocks near the end of closing. The crowd was going nuts as both men traded all the way down the stretch of a close and exciting round.
“I hurt my hand in the fifth round but I kept going,” said Arreola. “I hurt it again in the ninth and the tenth real bad. He’s got a hard f**king head. He hit me so hard, I look like f**king ‘Shrek’ now.”
The 11th topped the tenth in terms of action as Arreola once again came out pressing, which opened him up to Adamek’s inside attack and jab/right hands as “The Nightmare” came rushing in. Arreola appeared to hurt his left again, but pressed on and dug deep, throwing caution to the wind and letting it all hang out. Both men gave the crowd its money’s worth as they traded at will. While Adamek landed the tighter shots, both men came away from that round feeling the presence of the other. The crowd suitably stood and cheered.
The final round had drama as Arreola looked for the knockout, but couldn’t track Adamek down. Knowing he was up on the cards, Adamek moved and slid around, jabbing and getting off his shots before Arreola could land anything of consequence.
When it was over, Adamek’s hand was raised as the victor; the crowd of 6,256 was on its feet. Adamek would say, “This was the toughest fight I ever fought. That’s why I believe I can become a world champion.” After tonight, he may have made believers out of more than a few.