Tomasz Adamek Opens Eyes With Win Over Chris Arreola

Coming into Saturday’s fight with Chris Arreola, Tomasz Adamek had fought twice as a heavyweight, winning both times. While most experts considered his wins over Andrew Golota and Jason Estrada to be less than telling of his ability to contend with the top dogs in the division, Adamek’s majority decision over Arreola proved he belonged among the best heavyweights in the world.

While far from a skilled heavyweight, Arreola possessed several advantages over Adamek, the biggest of which being size. Arreola weighed in 33 pounds heavier than the former light heavyweight and cruiserweight champion, coming in at 250 to Adamek’s 217.

Prior to the bell in Ontario, California, the Polish fans boomed with chants for Adamek while the rest of the pro-Arreola crowd tried to drown them out with boos during Referee Jack Reiss’ instructions. Battle lines had been drawn for a fantastic heavyweight match, and both fighters delivered.

Adamek began the bout sneaking in jabs and right hands to the body. Before long, Arreola grew frustrated, dropped his gloves and pouted. He finally banged in three body shots but took a left hook in return. Adamek added a body shot of his own and two more left hooks, the second one snapping Arreola’s head to the side. Arreola tried to rough the smaller man up and took a left hook across the nose just after the bell. He frowned at Adamek, who touched him on the chest with a glove to apologize.

In round two, Adamek shot a straight right into Arreola’s body, and they traded sharp left hooks. Adamek slammed Arreola’s head back with a one-two on the nose, and they again exchanged hooks. Arreola came back with some jabs and knocked Adamek’s head aside with a big straight right. But when he went for another, he ate a left-right combination. With his back to the ropes, Adamek drilled Arreola with a right and a stiff jab. After losing a close round, Arreola patted Adamek on the side.

Round three was a brilliant one for Adamek. Early on, he stepped in and turned Arreola’s head with a solid left hook. Arreola walked into two more left hooks upstairs and one to the body before shaking his head in response. Arreola’s best weapon was his jab, but Adamek regularly came over it with shots that turned his head. As Arreola headed back to his corner after the one-sided round, his face was beginning to bust up and he was bleeding from the nose.

After fielding a right hand in the fourth, Arreola swiped a left hook across the face of Adamek, who held on. Arreola then tried to rough him up, pounding in punches any way he could but nothing landing clean, though he did manage to dislodge Adamek’s mouthpiece. Back in the center of the ring, Adamek snapped Arreola’s head up with a perfect straight right hand. Arreola nodded and walked into another right and a left before nodding again. Adamek didn’t let up and drilled Arreola with a one-two through the gloves. Arreola pushed at the end of the round, and, even while losing his footing, Adamek dodged every punch and took the round.

Arreola turned the fight in round five when a stiff jab sent Adamek stumbling into the ropes. The surprised Adamek held on and absorbed some body shots. Arreola followed with a left hook and got in a right as Adamek staggered around the ring, appearing hurt. Arreola kept coming and walked into a left hook but nodded it away. Adamek added a left-right combination, and, even though his shots landed cleaner once again, he lost the round on a few key blows from the bigger Arreola.

When Adamek was late in coming out for round six, it became apparent that his balance issues could be partially attributed to the leather on the bottom of his boot coming off. After his corner taped it back together, Adamek came out with a left-right combination before they traded hooks. Arreola slammed Adamek’s head back with a jab but caught a right in return. Arreola countered just as quickly, turning Adamek’s head with a left hook. Now bleeding from the left eye, Arreola landed two jabs, sending Adamek staggering back into the ropes, where he added a right and an uppercut as Adamek held on. With his back to the ropes, Adamek blasted Arreola with a right-left combination, but the impact of Arreola’s shots carried the round.

Looking to build on his success in rounds five and six, Arreola went after Adamek for all of round seven and ended up walking into more counterpunches than he was able to land. But he was too out of shape to maintain the pace, and, by round eight, merely followed Adamek around the ring eating combinations. Tiring of the game, he dropped his hands and shook his head. Seeing the big man tire, Adamek bashed in a left hook and picked up two rounds in a row.

Adamek used round nine to put the finishing touches on Arreola’s body. After suffering two body shots, Arreola made a face. Another one brought a complaint from Arreola, prompting Reiss to call it low. Two more landed and had Arreola swinging wildly for Adamek’s head and coming up short. They exchanged left hooks upstairs, and Adamek scooted away. At that, Arreola put his hands on his hips and challenged Adamek to stand and fight, but the bell ended the round.

Arreola’s left eye was swollen, and he was bleeding from the nose and forehead coming into round ten. Refusing to be picked apart any longer, he turned Adamek’s head with a straight right. An uppercut and another straight right followed and had Adamek retreating along the ropes. It was then that Adamek unleashed his best shots of the night, rattling Arreola’s head with a straight right hand and a left hook. He ducked a straight right, and Arreola’s arm collided with the top of his head. As Arreola grabbed his arm and shouted in pain, Adamek attacked but walked into a combination. Reiss asked Arreola if he injured his hand, and Arreola nodded to confirm. Just like that, Adamek scored with power shots to end the round, dodging everything Arreola threw and making a case for tilting the round back in his favor.

With swelling now under both eyes, Arreola rushed in and blasted Adamek with a pair of straight right hands to begin the eleventh. Another straight right across the face caused Adamek to lean back, and Arreola turned back an Adamek assault by catching him with a right-left combination against the ropes. He absorbed two body shots then tagged Adamek with another right. Adamek retreated to the ropes, shaking his head and grinning. Another left-right combination landed for Arreola, but he doubled over and cried out again, the pain in his right arm becoming too much. Reiss asked him about it, but Arreola shook his head, saying he wanted to go on. He tried to buy some time by getting up on his toes but was back to throwing combinations at Adamek again within seconds.

Then it was Adamek’s turn to let his hands go, banging in a right-left combination and a body shot. He landed a right hand, followed by a left-right combination, and Arreola began bleeding from the bridge of his nose. Adamek slammed in another right hand, and Arreola shook his head and stuck his tongue out. Arreola went after him once more, but Adamek danced out of harm’s way, raising his glove to the crowd to claim the round was his. Arreola tried to argue the same at the bell.

Though there had been some very close rounds, including the last two, Adamek was likely ahead going into round twelve. And that’s the way he fought, boxing Arreola from start to finish and avoiding big exchanges. He knocked Arreola’s head up with a jab early in the round before smashing in some shots to the body. Midway through the round, Arreola was challenging Adamek to stand and fight once more, but Adamek didn’t take the bait, instead tagging Arreola from outside and holding whenever he got too close. The bell sounded before Arreola had a chance to strike, and the two warriors saluted the crowd and each other.

One judge, Tony Crebs, saw the bout even at 114-114 but was overruled by more reasonable scores of 115-113 and 117-111 for Adamek, who took the fight by majority decision. Post-fight, Arreola didn’t argue with the judges’ verdict.

Given the stage he competed on, beating Arreola may be Adamek’s biggest win to date. Outfighting a man that outweighed him by 30 pounds is impressive and proves he belongs in a division where most heavyweights are underwhelming performers. But rather than jump into an immediate fight against either of the Klitschko brothers, who are as skilled as he is, Adamek would be well advised to pursue WBA Champion David Haye, a former cruiserweight like himself. It would be the most exciting fight to make in the division and is a fight either could win.

Arreola continues to excite every time he steps in the ring, which means he will always appeal to fans, though the latest turnout wasn’t nearly as impressive as recent outings. Whatever chance Arreola had in the fight he forfeited at the scales by again coming into a big fight out of shape. Until he takes his weight seriously, he will never be a legitimate contender. With that said, his only two losses have come against Vitali Klitschko, arguably the best heavyweight in the world, and now Adamek, who ranks among the very best himself.

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