HBO, Showtime Drop The Ball By Neglecting Tomasz Adamek

tomasz_adamek.jpgIn 2005, Tomasz Adamek was in one of the best fights of the year. Same in 2006. And in 2008. He’s not just an action hero — he’s good, too. He’s one of the 20 best fighters in the world and he’s the cruiserweight champion. And he has a real fan base, selling out fights in Newark to raucous-beyond-raucous crowds no matter who he fights. So it makes perfect sense that HBO and Showtime wouldn’t want to pay the man to appear on their network later this year in a rematch of 2008’s nominee for Fight of the Year, against Steve Cunningham, or some other noteworthy battle, right?

Wrong. Just threw a straw man atcha, then knocked him down.
Look, maybe I like me some Adamek more than your average boxing fan. Maybe I’m missing something — Adamek has been on HBO and Showtime in recent years, and maybe he does atrocious ratings. Maybe my being at Adamek-Cunningham I has given me an appreciation for him (and Cunningham, for that matter) that borders on bias.
But I find it very odd that Adamek isn’t on the fall schedule in some kind of meaningful bout. Certainly, the fall schedule is loaded, and that required some cash investment from HBO and Showtime. We just got Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto Nov. 14 at 145 pounds added to the slate. Floyd Mayweather-Juan Manuel Marquez at a guessweight was rescheduled from July to Sept. 19. That’s two of the three biggest fights of the year, right there. Oct. 17 and Nov. 21 bring the first three bouts of the hotly-anticipated super middleweight tournament: Arthur Abraham-Jermain Taylor, Carl Froch-Andre Dirrell and Mikkel Kessler-Andre Ward. And Nov. 7 and Nov. 28 bring do-overs of two of 2008’s most interesting bouts, Chad Dawson vs. Glen Johnson at light heavyweight and Lucian Bute vs. Librado Andrade at super middle, rematches for which I’ve lobbied heavily.
I still don’t think it’s greedy of me to expect one of the networks could throw Adamek on once more — he’s great television. But nothing he’s tried, from a Cunningham rematch to bouts against Johnson or Bernard Hopkins, has given him the chance to BE great television, because neither of the big boxing networks have wanted him at a price he surely deserves. Now he’s on the verge of moving to heavyweight just to try to get a bigger paycheck, reasoning that 2010 — when HBO had expressed possible interest in Adamek-Bernard Hopkins — is too far away. Once, I thought that would be a foolish move, but he’s proven his power at cruiserweight and just short of the Klitschkos brothers, he’d be live against just about any other heavyweight, especially considering that the bigger he gets, the better his speed and boxing ability look. But that’s not the point. Adamek shouldn’t HAVE to flee to heavyweight.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.