By John DiSanto – PhillyBoxingHistory.com
Photo: Gary Purfield
When Tomasz Adamek pulled out of his nationally televised bout with Czar Glazkov, scheduled for NBC on Saturday afternoon, it opened the door for one of Philly’s hardest working fighters. For ages now, cruiserweight Garrett Wilson has been looking for a chance to fight a high-profile opponent, as well as an opportunity to perform on TV. He’s fought everyone who was willing to face him, but still feels like he’s been spinning his wheels, especially this year. So with Adamek’s sudden case of the sniffles, the Ultimate Warrior finally gets his chance to make an impression. The only catch is that Wilson must become a heavyweight to do it.
“The reality is, I’m 31,” Wilson said. “I’m not getting any younger. And if the cruiserweight division doesn’t want to fight me, then I’ll move to a division that is more apt to fight me.”
Ever since dropping a decision in Romania to Alexander Alekseev, in a February IBF cruiserweight eliminator, Wilson has been like the plague. What fights he did land after that disappointing loss were cancelled due to injury to his opponents. But mostly Wilson waited and waited for offers that never came in. (He did however, decline a chance to fight friend and fellow-Philadelphian Eddie Chambers earlier in the year.)
With the end of 2013 closing in, Wilson began toying with the idea of becoming a heavyweight – either by design or desperation. He booked a cruiserweight bout for December, but then the unlikely call came to sub for Adamek. For Wilson, the surprise offer made becoming a heavyweight a reality.
“I feel as though I have put a lot of work in,” Wilson said. “I’ve paid my dues, and I’ve been fighting tough guys since I started. I think it’s about time that the world has the opportunity to see me fight.”
On Saturday, everyone will be watching. Past NBC shows on Saturday afternoon have pulled big ratings, and the network projects the home TV audience will be at least one million viewers.
“That’s a beautiful thing,” Wilson said. “I’ve been looking for an opportunity to showcase my talent, and now I finally get it. Not just local TV, or not just internet television. Now mainstream television is able to see me fight. And this is free. So I think that’s going to make a difference in my career.”
Some of Wilson’s past fights have been thrillers. He saved his USBA cruiserweight belt with a crushing Hail Mary KO of Chuck Mussachio in 2011, pummeled Andres Taylor for the NABF championship last year, and pounded out a one-sided rout of Omar Sheika before that. If Wilson can repeat any of those signature wins against Glazkov on Saturday, he’ll breathe new life into his boxing career.
“I’m not going to say that I’m the best there is, but I can say that I’m a pretty good fighter,” Wilson said. “I think I can handle myself in the heavyweight division. As long as I have a good showing (against Glazkov), I think it will still help promote my career.”
A good showing won’t hurt Wilson’s career, but only a victory against Glazkov will seriously change his future for the better. Opportunities like these don’t come too often, and the best plan is to get the win no matter what. A classic Garrett Wilson knockout is what he needs most for this one.
“I’m going for a win by any means,” Wilson said. “The guy is a puncher. His record says that. But I don’t fight the record. I fight the guy. I feel as though I can withstand the punches. The question is, can he withstand mine?”
Wilson will find out on Saturday afternoon. He grabbed this opportunity to fight, and hasn’t looked back since. Not that he’s had the time to even do that. After his trainer Rodney Rice received the offer by phone, Wilson said yes, got his medicals and hit the road for Verona, NY. The next step is Friday’s weigh in at noon. For his first weigh in as a heavyweight, Wilson expects to hit the scales somewhere between 206 and 210 pounds.
Twenty-four hours after that, Wilson gets the chance to fight as a heavyweight, appear on national television, surprise everyone, upset the apple cart, and prove that he is better than his record indicates.
It’s a tall order, but it’s the chance of a lifetime.
“The main thing is just letting the world know who the Ultimate Warrior is, and what I’m about,” Wilson said. “And that’s fighting quality fights and winning quality fights.”
To read more about the Philly fight scene – past and present – visit www.phillyboxinghistory.com.