By Graham Houston
While Vitali Klitschko is defending his WBC heavyweight title in Russia on Saturday, former Klitschko challenger Tomasz Adamek hopes to move closer to another championship chance in a 12-rounder against Travis Walker that will be televised by Wealth TV and also be available on WealthTV.com. On paper, Adamek wins this fight easily. Adamek is a world-class heavyweight meeting an opponent who has lost seven fights, five by stoppage. Adamek is the faster, superior boxer, with better hand speed, and he’s fighting in his adopted backyard of Newark, NJ, where the usual huge contingent of Adamek’s Polish fans will be on hand to provide colourful and rousing encouragement.
I’m giving Walker a bit of a chance, though. Yes, I know that Walker lost on first-round knockouts to T.J. Wilson and Manuel Quezada, two ordinary heavyweights. Jonathan Banks stopped Walker in six rounds, and the crude slugger Alex Lepai battered him into defeat in four rounds in Australia. However, Walker can punch. He crushed TJ Wilson in the second round of their rematch, knocked down Chris Arreola before getting overwhelmed, and he had Lepai down and almost out in the third round. In his last fight Walker, trailing on the scorecards, stopped the huge Kali Meehan in the sixth round in Australia.
Although Walker lost widely on points to Kubrat Pulev he rocked the undefeated Bulgarian boxer with a left hook in the seventh round. So Adamek might not have quite the easy fight that the wide odds suggest.
Walker has always seemed to me to be a bit lacking in confidence, and his chin and stamina have long been considered suspect. He does have some boxing ability, though — he won a national Golden Gloves title, and he outscored Jason Estrada, the former top-rated U.S. amateur in the super heavyweight division, to give Estrada his first loss as a professional.
Adamek, a former champion at light-heavy and cruiserweight, has settled nicely into the heavyweight division, currently weighing around 225 pounds. Although Vitali Klitschko wore him down and stopped him in the 10th round, Adamek has proved too fast and too skilled for the other heavyweights he’s faced. Saturday’s fight is an eliminator for the IBF No. 2 rating, so Adamek will be a big step closer to getting another title fight if he does the expected and beats Walker.
It does seem to me, though, that Adamek is getting just a bit battle-worn. Eddie Chambers, boxing with a torn left biceps from the opening round, was able to catch Adamek with right hands in Adamek’s last fight. Adamek took heavy punishment in the bout with Klitschko. I remember how Michael Grant twice had Adamek hurt and wobbly. If Walker fights with self-belief I think we have the possibility of a huge upset.
Walker is the bigger man in the fight and the bigger puncher. His trainer, the ex-fighter Dwight Pratchett, seems to be bringing the best out of Walker at this late stage in Walker’s career.
At the age of 33, Walker is at the now-or-never stage of his career. This fight is a huge opportunity, one that likely won’t come around again. Walker must, therefore, go out and fight the fight of his life, and not let the crowd or Adamek’s reputation intimidate him.
Walker has a good jab when he uses it, and he hits heavily with either hand, but he tends to wait for perfect openings and can be outboxed and outscored while he’s thinking what to do next. Walker’s punching power does give him a sliver of hope, though. Adamek is an excellent technician but he isn’t a safety-first fighter — he will let his hands go and try to hurt his opponents, and this gives the other man a chance to catch him.
Logically, Adamek will give Walker a 12-round boxing lesson, which is basically what I am expecting. However, I do see Walker as a dangerous opponent for Adamek, and this fight — on a Saturday afternoon, like the network TV fights of the 1970s — could have moments of suspense.
Visit fightwriter.com. A big weekend of previews and wagering tips is on tap for subscribers: We’ll be looking at Klitschko-Charr, Bellew-Miranda, Matthysse-Olusegun, DeMarco-Molina and more, with an in-depth look at the weekend’s biggest fight, Ward vs Dawson.
The September 8th Adamek-Walker event is available live at WealthTV.com. WealthTV is available on Verizon FiOS TV (channels 169 and 669 in HD), AT&T U-Verse TV (channels 470 and 1470 in HD), along with over 100 cable systems across the country. Click here for more information.