By James Dombrowski
Tomasz Adamek (48-2) defeated Steve Cunningham (25-5) on national television in a highly anticipated rematch for the #2 IBF position, retaining his IBF North American Heavyweight Title.
Adamek/Cunningham 1 on December 11, 2008 was a hard fought IBF Cruiserweight Title fight which began a rejuvenation of boxing in Newark, New Jersey, starting a series of boxing matches promoted by Kathy Duva in the state’s largest city.
As in the first win for Adamek, the Polish farm boy who always stresses hard work and determination as his main attributes, the rematch on NBC the Saturday before Christmas at 5 pm saw his challenger press hard at the beginning of each round only to fade in the middle of each round and get weaker by the end of each round. Adamek was relentless in his approach as Cunningham may have had the upper hand in style but not the force to exhibit a full 3 minutes.
As the fight was carried on network television for the first time in nearly 20 years for NBC, the audience was afforded a solid 12 rounds of boxing. The knock downs and blood of Adamek/Cunningham 1 from Prudential Center may have been missing but the national audience and sell out crowd assembled at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem, PA was afforded 12 solid rounds of good heavyweight boxing. HBO Boxing Judge Harold Letterman, a fan of boxing who was in attendance, was quick to note that the split decision in favor of Adamek was fair in his eyes as Cunningham did not pursue Adamek for the entire fight. “It was Cunningham’s fight to win if he pressed Adamek throughout the 12 rounds and throughout each 3 minutes of fighting. Adamek never quit and was always the aggressor,” noted Letterman.
The first lady of boxing Kathy Duva was happy with the match. NBC, which is furious about the NHL lockout and no hockey for its new sports network which began last year with boxing and hockey as its two prominent sports, got a terrific effort from both fighters. The country got a chance to see the hard working Polish warrior, who makes Kearny, New Jersey his home, exhibit what old time boxing showcased on television back in the 60’s, that two competent boxers fight hard for 12 rounds, and a tight decision makes for good ratings. There was no quitting in the match and a good fight often has no clear cut winner.
Tomasz Adamek made the Polish people proud on national television with a strong effort and a well deserved win. Next up for Adamek is Kubrat Pulev (17-0).
IN PHOTO ON RIGHT: Photo by James Dombrowski. The legendary Michael Buffer got the duties of “Ring Announcer” for the NBC Network telecast. Buffer, who has trademarked “lets get ready to rumble”, is a fan and television favorite of boxing. His presence is a statement to the importance of boxing on network television. Buffer featured on “Life Styles of the Rich and Famous” has announced many of the biggest fights over the past 25 years.
It’s great to see that the NHL was able to negotiate a season saving deal with the players union and now hockey will be played in 2013. The Devils who lost a tough Stanley Cup Championship match up to the LA Kings will have a chance to repeat as Eastern Conference winners. The 48 game season will bring 24 home games to the Prudential Center and Marty Broduer will get another chance at his fourth Stanley Cup ring before he enters the Hall of Fame.
Also, I am sure NBC and their fantastic NBC Sports Network will be thrilled to once again bring hockey into the home of millions of Americans who appreciate the fast and hard hitting pace of ice hockey. The thrill of hockey is fine on television but even better in person and there is no better venue in America than the “Prudential Center in Newark.”