Adamek Defeats Cunningham – Boxing News
By Eric Thomas: Former World Boxing Council light heavyweight champion Tomasz Adamek (36-1, 24 KOs) won a 12-round split decision over IBF cruiserweight Steve Cunningham (21-2, 11 KOs) on Thursday night at the Prudential Center, in Newark, New Jersey. Adamek, 32, hardly fought well, getting dominated in most of the rounds by the champion Cunningham. However, Adamek’s power carried him through to victory, allowing him to drop Cunningham in the 2nd, 4th and 8th rounds. In each case, Cunningham appeared off balanced, standing square to Adamek, and wasn’t at any time hurt by the knockdowns.
Uncharacteristically, Cunningham, 32, came out slugging in the 1st round, nailing the slower Adamek with big looping right hands to the head. Although said by some to have good hand speed, Cunningham’s looked only slightly faster than Adamek, who for his part, appeared very slow with his hands and slightly heavy, as if not in the best of shape. Adamek did little in the opening round, looking afraid and moving forward and taking shots to the head.
In the second round, Cunningham continued to give Adamek problems with his jabs and good right hands. It looked like it was going to be another round for Cunningham until with only seconds left in the round, Adamek dropped Cunningham with a solid left hand to the head. It appeared to be more of a clubbing shot than a hard punch, knocking Cunningham off balance and onto the canvas.
In the 3rd round, Cunningham continued with his mastery over Adamek, hitting him with more jabs and right hands to the head. Like in the first, Adamek fought sluggishly, looking slow and afraid, unable to pull the trigger with his short punches. In the 4th, Adamek once again dropped Cunningham down at the end of the round, this time with a powerful right hand to the head.
At the time of the knockdown, Cunningham was standing square to Adamek and in the process of trying to land a shot of his own. After being knocked down, Cunningham got up off the canvas and looked ready to go for some more action. With the time that was left, Adamek landed a clubbing right hand that knocked Cunningham off balance but failed to produce another knockdown.
Adamek fought reasonably well in the 5th round, landing the harder shots and doing enough, barely, to win the round. Cunningham made it close with a flurry of hard shots in the last 20 seconds of the round. In the 6th and 7th rounds, Cunningham dominated the action, landing a lot of jabs and a handful of hard right hands to the head.
In the 7th, Cunningham landed two monstrous right hands that hit Adamek square on the jaw. To his credit, Adamek took the shots without any signs of being hurt by them, but a fighter with a lesser chin than him would have likely been taken out by them.
With one minute to go in the 8th round, a round in which Cunningham was winning handily, Adamek dropped him with a hard combination to the head. Instead of clinching and trying to play it safe after the knockdown, Cunningham took the fight to Adamek, hitting him with huge power shots and controlling the action in the last minute.
Adamek fought well in the 9th round, staggering Cunningham late with a short left-right combination. In doing so, Adamek appeared to shoot his load, as he was completely exhausted in rounds 10 through 12, doing little for the remainder of the fight. Cunningham took over the fight at that point, jabbing and pounding Adamek with right hands to the head and trying hard to win back the points that he had lost from the three prior knockdowns. The final judges’ scores were 115-112, 112-114 and 116-110.
“It’s too many punches, but he’s not strong,” Adamek said after. “Those flash knockdowns did it,” Cunningham said, explaining why he had lost. “It’s my fault. I stuck to my game plan and then veered off course. I’d like to fight a rematch,” Cunningham added.
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