Saturday night, an NBC Sports televised intriguing heavyweight crossroads bout between New Jersey based Pole Tomasz Adamek and Philadelphia’s Eddie Chambers went head-to-head against the big league broadcast by HBO, with Adamek getting the unanimous decision.
Those that stuck with the network in their third hour saw a spirited scrap, as well as an interesting decision; though it wasn’t an action-packed affair, it was as competitive as advertised, despite judges seeing it one way. Scores of 116-112 twice and 119-109 in favor of Adamek was the verdict reached.
Chambers showed impressive movement and precise punching in the opening round as Adamek allowed his opponent landed the only meaningful punches of the round.
Chambers controlled round 2 behind straight shots. The pace favored his style of fighting, a slower and methodical one.
One thing Chambers-Adamek delivered on was a raucous atmosphere, a good sign for American boxing. It is an even better sign when you consider it ran against a card from El Paso, Texas that packed heavy numbers into seats on HBO. Chris Mannix mentioned hilariously that the Polish crowd in New Jersey drank the building out of beer, an impressive achievement.
Adamek fell behind into the 4th round, and although his persistence didn’t wane, Chambers kept delivering accurate power shots as he caught his opponent coming in.
As early as the 3rd round, Chambers suffered an injury to his left arm and soldiered through the fight a one-armed fighter.
Trainer of Adamek Roger Bloodworth didn’t look concerned when Mannix got his thoughts during the 5th, making it look as though their gameplan was to get Chambers late, wearing him down.
The Pole came unglued a bit in the 6th, as he began pressing the fight a bit more and had Chambers on his back foot for the thick of the round. Adamek became the boxer, which isn’t his plan A on most nights.
Adamek carried the positives into the 7th, outworking Chambers while occasionally slipping in a good punch here and there. Chambers had moments, but didn’t outperform. Chambers was buckled for a moment, but upon replay, this writer confirmed it was from Adamek stepping on the foot of Chambers.
Chambers cleaned up his approach a bit in the 8th, getting more aggressive as well as avoiding most of Adamek’s pursuit in the process. Chambers pushed the jab well in the round.
Adamek got picked up by the crowd early in the 9th, landing some good power shots upstairs, though Chambers admittedly took them well. Adamek lead, and often landed left hands while often avoiding the oncoming fire from Chambers.
Chambers settled down a bit in round 10, looking fresh as though it were early in the fight. Chambers still had a hold on the handspeed he displayed in the first few rounds, and made Adamek pay whenever he sent an errant shot into the defense of Chambers.
Chambers showed tremendous heart continuing with just his lead hand into the 11th stanza, holding a steady lead into the final round of the fight in front of the East Coast contingency.
Adamek showed his heart into the final frame, letting go everything he had in the closing seconds. It wouldn’t be enough to sway the favor of the judges, as Chambers pulled it out. TQBR scored the fight 116-112 in favor of Chambers. Though many of the rounds were close, Chambers only being awarded one round on the scorecard of one judge is much worse than any of the scores that were reached in last weekend’s big fight between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley.
American heavyweight hopeful Bryant Jennings (14-0, 6 KOs) pitched a 10-round shutout of Steve Collins (25-1-1, 18 KOs) in the televised opener, shaking off a slow start to dominate the second half of the fight en route to a lopsided win.
Both fighters began a bit tentatively in round 1, with Collins utilizing good head movement as Jennings had a hard time getting untracked. Collins made Jennings miss but was not quick to counter, and after 3 rounds Jennings began picking up momentum as his activity level rose.
Jennings started off by focusing on the body of Collins before an explosive right uppercut in round 4 staggered his opponent into the ropes, where referee Lindsey Page issued a standing 8 count. Collins was able to make it to the bell and mostly fought to survive from that point on.
Jennings landed a nice slew of punches in the 5th, but Collins focused on protecting himself and managed to escape to the corner. For the remainder of the fight, Jennings stalked Collins in a game of cat and mouse. Jennings outhustled Collins, throwing punches at a nearly two-to-one clip against his underdog opponent.
Collins managed to get to the final bell, losing every round on the scorecards of the judges by scores of 100-89 thrice.
In the eight-round swing bout, two middleweight career opponents made TV as Philadelphia’s Jamaal Davis (13-8-1, 6 KOs) overcame Lancaster, Penn. (by way of Puerto Rico)’s Doel Carrasquillo (16-19-1, 14 KOs) to a hard-fought unanimous decision. 79-73, 78-74 were twice rendered for Davis.
Davis unleashed a high volume of punches early, as Carrasquillo followed him around the ring, absorbing punches. Though the punches landed often on the gloves, Carrasquillo did not make Davis pay.
Davis unleashed a high volume of punches, was much busier and Cassasquillo followed but didn’t throw anything.
The second round went extremely long, as Davis managed to keep up his punch count despite the round lasting twice as long as it should have.
Davis largely controlled the fight for the duration, building an early lead and then coasting on it into the final rounds. Davis’ female trainer, Sharron Baker is presumably the only female trainer in Philadelphia is what NBC Sports ringside reporter Chris Mannix referred to her as.
While this is a fight that was largely meaningless to fight fans watching at home, you have to wonder what it means to either one of these guys, who were a combined 29-27-1 coming in.
Carrasquillo has the shoddier record, but has come out on top against solid opposition including Shamone Alvarez (TKO5) and Denis Douglin (TKO3) in his last four, among two losses.
Davis has a slightly prettier record, but has no signature win that shines against Carrasquillo’s record. If you’re either guy, you have to wonder what you are doing continuing fighting if you can’t look good against someone of the other’s caliber.
Davis fought an intelligent fight, but Carrasquillo tried to outlast Davis and catch him late. It was basically a battle of two men’s hearts, with Carrasqiullo playing the waiting game. Carrasqullo waited all fight long as Davis managed to pace himself well down the stretch.
While it may not have meant much to us witness it, that win and 40 minutes of television time meant the world to Jamaal Davis, I am sure.
An interesting sidenote to this fight report: NBC Sports or Main Events — someone — made the decision to float in that middleweight swing bout and line up their main event between Adamek and Chambers to go against HBO’s main event of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Andy Lee. One must wonder if that was some sort of challenge, the way WCW declared war on WWF on Monday nights in the late 90s. It will be interesting to see how the ratings are affected in the third hour against HBO: free television against premium.
Who should we root for? Know that NBC seems pretty heavily invested in boxing, having added dates to their initial agreement right off the bat. The network also has aired the hype show before each of their broadcasts with enough visibility that you can see they want to give the sport every chance.
Boxing fans should think about betting on NBC. If they do well here against HBO you have to think the network will commit more to the sport as the gap to compete with the big boys won’t seem that hard to overcome.
Competition breeds good television. Look at how pro wrestling is now: When the WWF (now WWE) was pushed by WCW, they upped their game and delivered. Since becoming the only game in town, I wouldn’t be able to tell you if they are more exciting than it was during that war.
NBC Sports also notably allowed the broadcast to run over an hour later than scheduled. If you’re a boxing fan, you have to be excited about the “the more, the merrier” approach.
Mark Ortega can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com and followed via Twitter at www.twitter.com/MarkEOrtega. Mark also contributes to renowned boxing publications RING Magazine and Boxing Monthly, and is a member of the Boxing Writer’s Association of America and RING Ratings Advisory Panel.