The Week That Was (December 17-23, 2012)
The reading of the scorecards is supposed to be one of the few simple things in our oftentimes complicated and disorganized sport…
SANDS CASINO RESORT, BETHLEHEM, PENNSYLVANIA
Cry Me a River
Following 12 rounds of thoroughly entertaining heavyweight boxing, the man on the losing end of a controversial split decision to Tomasz Adamek (48-2, 29 KOs), Steve “USS” Cunningham (25-5, 12 KOs), openly wept before the assembled media. Cunningham felt no shame in not hiding his pain by telling them, “Real men cry.” Some would have you believe that the judges of this fight gave fans a reason to cry as well. I beg to differ.
At the start of the 12th and final round of what had been a highly competitive fight, boxing analyst and Hall of Fame Trainer Freddie Roach stated, “The winner of this round will win the fight.” Roach’s partner calling the fight for NBC Sports Night, part-time fighter BJ Flores, told the viewers at home, “Both fighters desperately need to win this round.” Apparently Freddie, BJ, two of the three judges, and I watched a different fight then the rest of the boxing world. The judge’s scorecards, once they were finally tabulated correctly, read 116-112 and 115-113 in Adamek’s favor, with the lone dissenting judge scoring the fight 115-113 for Cunningham.
The rematch between these tough men wasn’t as exciting as their cruiserweight battle in 2008, a fight that saw Adamek drop Cunningham three times but just barely escaped with a split decision. Cunningham, who was outweighed by 20 pounds in the rematch, needed to keep the fight in the middle of the ring and use his superior hand-speed to claim victory against the former heavyweight title challenger. For the most part, Cunningham did exactly that. He landed 129 jabs to Adamek’s 49 and made the slower Adamek at times look like he was punching underwater. The first half of the fight certainly belonged to Cunningham, but the tide began to turn in the latter rounds. After doing an excellent job of moving around the ring and preventing Adamek from getting his feet set, where the more powerful man could land his heavy artillery, Cunningham started to slow down. Through six rounds, Adamek threw more than 40 punches in a round only once. From the seventh on he threw more than 40 punches in every round and launched 55 in the 11th and 63 in the 12th. Adamek began cutting the ring off better and getting into more power punch exchanges that favored the harder hitter. In the final two rounds, Adamek landed 38 power punches to Cunningham’s 22. I had Cunningham ahead on my scorecard six rounds to four entering the 11th, and scored the fight 114-114, after giving Adamek the last two rounds.
The reading of the scorecards is supposed to be one of the few simple things in our oftentimes complicated and disorganized sport. Unfortunately, adding up numbers proved to be difficult on this day. When Michael Buffer first read the cards, the decision appeared to be a split draw, as the card of judge Debra Barnes read 115-115. The local commission incorrectly added up the scores, and quickly attempted to remedy the mishap by having Buffer read what was believed to be Barnes’ actual score of 115-112 for Adamek. It was later learned that the commission bungled that one as well, as the correct score was 115-113.
For Steve Cunningham it was a very difficult loss, as he believed he won the fight, as did many observers. Cunningham, who hasn’t had an opportunity to make a ton of money in the sport despite having captured a few titles, will find it difficult to get himself a marquee fight in a division with so few stars. Adamek, who is clearly starting to show the signs of an aging fighter, could face unknown contender Kubrat Pulev (17-0, 9 KOs) in an eliminator for a mandatory shot at recognized champion Wladimir Klitschko.
Heavyweight pretender TKO’d by the flu
After what had been a decent four rounds of consistent albeit far from thrilling action, Tor Hamer (19-2, 12 KOs) surprisingly quit on his stool giving undefeated Vyacheslav Glazkov (14-0, 10 KOs) his 14th career victory.
Glazkov appeared to be getting the better of the action as he landed the crisper and harder punches in the fight. After a relatively slow first three rounds, Glazkov seemed to be finding more openings in the fourth round. Hamer appeared to be losing confidence as he was unable to land any significant punches and was increasingly getting hit, though he wasn’t badly hurt. Then Hamer did what you rarely see top prizefighters do: he quit on his stool and refused to come out for the start of the fifth round. Hamer told the press following the fight that he started to feel lightheaded after the fourth round, which he attributed to a battle with the flu earlier in the week.
If the flu bug is all it takes to stop Hamer it’s unlikely we’ll see him in any noteworthy fights in the future. Glazkov has some impressive amateur credentials, which immediately gives him a leg up against fellow heavyweight contenders, and he could make some noise in the division.