Friday, April 23, 2010

Adamek Steps into Arreola's Backyard

Chris Arreola (left) and Tomasz Adamek will square off tomorrow night in a heavyweight showdown.

Ontario, California is a long way from Tomasz Adamek's hometown of Zywiec, Poland.

But being half a world away from his home country and taking on native Californian heavyweight contender Chris Arreola on Saturday night, doesn't seem to bother Adamek too much. It also doesn't seem to bother Adamek that he will be fighting in Arreola's backyard, who hails from just down the road in Riverside.

A former light heavyweight and cruiserweight champion, Adamek was his usual placid, unassuming and matter-of fact self on Thursday afternoon.

“I'm ready and we will see what happens,” said Adamek who scaled 217 pounds to Arreola's 250 ½. “I had a very good training camp for the past couple of months with Roger Bloodworth and Ronnie Shields. Everything was perfect and it was one of the best training camps I think I have ever had.”

With a record of 40-1, 27 knockouts, Adamek is struggling with being a “small” heavyweight in a land of behemoths. Arreola is a man with a bull neck and heavy fists. He has heavyweight bones and has lost just once as well, in a failed title bid to WBC titlist Vitali Klitschko last September. The one difference with Arreola's ledger of 28-1, 25 knockouts, is that it was built entirely against heavyweights. Most believe that will be the deciding factor in Saturday's match.

Adamek has worked hard to put on over 40 pounds since his days as a light heavyweight.

The Pole has fought just twice as a heavyweight and although he won both outings, neither opponent was on the level of Arreola. Adamek took out faded countryman Andrew Golota in five rounds and followed up that debut effort with a twelve round decision over Jason Estrada. Adamek is aware that he is facing one of his most dangerous opponents on Saturday and he alluded to his game plan to beat the much larger man.

“Well, I'm not into suicide,” he chuckled. “My best fights, as far as I'm concerned, have been when I make the guys miss and then hit them after they miss. I won't be running, but I will take advantage when he misses me with his big punches.”

The oddsmakers initially installed Arreola as an overwhelming betting favorite, but as the fight has neared the odds have become tighter. While Arreola is still favored it is now by a slim margin of less than 2-1. Arreola has struggled with his weight and his technical deficiencies were on full display in last year's stoppage loss to Klitschko. He promised a leaner and meaner version of himself, but his weight Thursday afternoon was disappointing to those expecting to see him closer to 240 pounds.

Adamek, on the other hand, always shows up in magnificent condition. He was the picture of fitness during his days at 175, was similarly fine tuned at 200 pounds and now at 217 he appears to be very easily settling into his new division. Thursday's weigh-in showed that he was well muscled yet relatively lean.

“To me, size doesn't mean too much,” explains Adamek as he tapped his chest. “It's what you have in your heart that really counts. I don't even pay attention to the people that say I am small or that he is so much bigger than I am. To me, it makes no difference.”

In his eleventh year as a prizefighter and with 41 total bouts under his two world championship belts, it is only now, that he has risen to heavyweight, that Adamek is gaining some degree of notoriety. His master plan did not contain the move to heavyweight. But once he rose to 200 pounds and still retained much of his speed and power he began to envision the heavyweight title belt strapped around his waist.

His plan now involves one day taking on Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, the heavyweight champion brothers. Adamek has also discovered the money paid to heavyweight prizefighters is much more rewarding than light heavy and cruiserweight.

“The money is better, yes,” he says with a smile. “But I want to bring some life and excitement into this division. I am sure this fight against Chris will be just the beginning for me and there will only be more big fights at heavyweight after this one.”

April 2010

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