By Graham Houston
Photos: Mike Gladysz, Millenium Photo
They’re calling it “The Big Challenge”, and Michael Grant certainly brings size to his fight with Tomasz Adamek on Saturday. Grant is a towering presence at 6ft 7in and his wide-shouldered physique is among the most impressive in boxing. What remains to be seen is how much Grant has left at the age of 38. He is on a winning run but his career has been stop and start, with spells of inactivity.
What is encouraging, though, is that Grant has been training under the direction of Eddie Mustafa Muhammad in Las Vegas, so he is showing that he is serious about the fight and his career. Grant, by bringing in a top trainer and moving away from his home to prepare, is giving himself the best possible chance to win.
Adamek is a huge favourite, though. The former light-heavy and cruiserweight champion has been looking good as a heavyweight, stopping the shell of Andrew Golota and outscoring a sharp and determined Jason Estrada and the somewhat dangerous Chris Arreola.
The fight with Grant is meant to show the boxing public that Adamek will do just fine if he gets a title bout against one of the Klitschko brothers, that the size difference will not be as daunting as some might think.
This means that Adamek will be seeking an emphatic win in Saturday’s PPV bout, either by outboxing Grant for the full 12 rounds or seeking to get him out of the fight before the final bell.
The under/over has been set at either 8.5 or 9.5 rounds, depending on the sportsbook. Oddsmakers don’t see a blowout. The perception among informed boxing minds is that Adamek will show Grant respect and won’t be taking too many risks in the early rounds. Grant can jab well and he has shown in the past that he can land knockout punches. In his last fight he scored a one-round win over Kevin Burnett, a huge heavyweight from Miami who lasted into the eighth round against Cuba’s Odlanier Solis. Yet, before this, Grant hadn’t boxed for 18 months.
Grant’s susceptibility to a well-placed punch on the chin has been well documented, but Adamek hasn’t scored a knockdown in his last two fights.
I don’t think there is too much doubt about the outcome; it would be a shock if Grant won. Adamek’s performance is where the main interest rests. I’m expecting an Adamek stoppage win, but the under/overs are tricky. I’ll be looking more deeply into this for the subscribers’ section articles.