A four-year wait for a rematch has finally come to a close, as Tomasz Adamek will once again square off against Steve Cunningham. The Adamek vs. Cunningham rematch is an excellent fight, although it will differ substantially from their first match, which took place in December 2008.
In their previous encounter, Cunningham was in the midst of his first reign as IBF Cruiserweight titleholder. At the time, Adamek was still a recent transplant from the Light Heavyweight ranks.
Adamek took home a close Split Decision verdict on the strength of several knockdowns. Cunningham was the sharper, more technically skilled fighter, but his chin betrayed him, and he couldn't make up those points on the scorecards.
When the two men meet on December 22, they'll be competing in the Heavyweight division. The winner will find himself in good position to angle towards a title shot, and if it's one he has plans of winning, the winner should be looking in the direction of "champion" Alexander Povetkin, and not the Klitschko brothers.
Another key difference here is that Adamek vs. Cunningham II will be aired live on NBC, marking a big boxing return to network television. It's a high profile, big exposure opportunity, and both men will be looking not only to win, but to put on a show and make a statement as well. Make no mistake about it, the rematch should provide plenty of great action and excitement.
Both men clearly need the victory, but Cunningham is in more of a do or die position. Since losing the fight to Adamek four years ago, he has only fought six times, going 4-2. At 36 years old, he's in search of lucrative opportunities before retiring.
For his part, Adamek has stayed impressively busy in that stretch, fighting 12 times and amassing an 11-1 record, with the only loss coming at the hands of Vitali Klitschko. He has defied the odds in taking out Heavyweight contenders and former title challengers like Eddie Chambers and Chris Arreola.
The Polish Adamek has taken up roots amongst his countrymen in and around Newark, New Jersey, and has fought seven of his last 10 fights in front of his raucous fan base in that area. He's fought twice in Poland in that stretch, but surprisingly, so has Cunningham. Seven of Cunningham's last 10 fights have been in Europe, adding to the significance of being under the bright lights stateside in this match.
Cunningham is in a bit of a catch-22 in this fight, as he needs to keep away from danger to maximize his chances at winning. However, if he wants to capitalize on a victory to land bigger fights, he'll need to be entertaining as well.
The clash of styles, the likelihood of action and the history of their first bout, along with the importance of the match in the careers of both men, makes Adamek vs. Cunningham II a must-see fight.
Sources: ESPN.com/Boxing, ProBoxing-Fans.com, Boxrec.com
Jake Emen runs the boxing news website ProBoxing-Fans.com, where you can find breaking news stories, interviews, rankings and more. You can also follow Jake and ProBoxing-Fans.com on Twitter, @ProBoxingFans.
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- Tomasz Adamek
- Steve Cunningham