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Press Release: 8th January 2009

Photo: Gianluca Di Caro

 

Accolades Galore For Cunningham-Adamek In The 2008 Year End Boxing Awards

 

The results of the various on-line 2008 Year End Boxing Awards have now been announced, whilst most, as expected, had conclusively chosen Manny Pacquiao as "Fighter Of The Year", the choice for "Fight of the Year", which seemed to be a forgone conclusion for Vasquez-Marquez III to many earlier in the year, became a little harder for the judges thanks to the exceptional performances put in by Steve 'USS' Cunningham and Tomasz 'Goral' Adamek when they locked horns in Newark, New Jersey on December 11th 2008.

Within hours of the epic battle for the IBF cruiserweight crown taking place at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, Cunningham-Adamek was being praised by boxing pundits and the fans alike. Nearly every report and review claimed it to be a late candidate for "Fight Of The Year" and called for a rematch.

Cunningham-Adamek received it's first major accolades by being named as "Fight Of The Month" by badlefthook.com and also by Brent Brookhouse at the MMA on-line magazine, bloodyelbow.com. Just a day or so later followed the news that boxingscene.com had awarded it "Cruiserweight Fight Of The Year" status.

Then as the Christmas Holidays loomed large the various year end reviews and awards started to appear. Any notion of a clean sweep by Vasquez vs Marquez III for "Fight Of The Year" honours was quickly dispelled when The Herald News published it's 2008 Boxing Awards announcing that Cunningham vs Adamek was their "Fight Of The Year" with Vasquez vs Marquez III runner-up.

Shortly after Chris Richards of boxinggeek.blogspot.com followed suit by awarding "Fight Of The Year" honours to Cunningham vs Adamek and stating his reasons for doing so. "This was not the most hyped fight of the year, the most watched fight of the year, the biggest money fight of the year, or even the fight whose resolution made me happiest. I admit, I thought Cunningham won by two points. Yet this was an amazing fight, for a legitimate world championship, broadcast on free cable. Both men fought to win from beginning to end, with Cunningham skilled and busy and Adamek patient and powerful. I'd honestly rather see these guys fight a second time than any other pair I saw fight this year. Even more than Vazquez-Marquez IV!"

It wasn't just the American press that had noticed just how good the Cunningham vs Adamek battle was. Tim Smith from frankwarren.tv wrote on the British promoters website. "FIGHT OF THE YEAR: You think I'm going to say Pacquiao-De La Hoya, but you need both guys throwing punches to constitute a fight. My pick is Tomasz Adamek-Steve Cunningham for the IBF cruiserweight title that very few people saw. I saw it live at the Prudential Center in Newark, a place typically reserved for pro hockey. It was a sparse crowd of just over 5,000 and they were treated to a rousing display of courage and guts. Adamek had Cunningham on the canvas three times in the fight, and twice he had him down and hurt. But Cunningham kept bouncing back up and firing at Adamek, who has a granite chin. It was a back and forth fight that saw Adamek squeeze out a 12-round split decision. How either man stayed upright for 12 rounds is beyond me."

It wasn't just Cunningham vs Adamek that took the odd accolade away from the awesome Vasquez vs Marquez III as sportinglife.com gave their "Fight Of The Year" award to Margarito vs Cotto, with Vasquez-Marquez III as runner-up and Cunningham-Adamek in third place, as did Brian Wilbur of ringsidereport.com

Cunningham vs Adamek was placed as runner-up to Vasquez vs Marquez III by Joon Lee, 15rounds.com, Chris Iorfida from Canadian broadcaster CBCSports.ca, Luke Kohler at lukekohler.com and boxingscene.com, whose Cliff Rold wrote "Fans tuned in December 11th to see what they assumed would be an interesting fight. Few expected one of the best fights in the history of the Cruiserweight division."

Eastsideboxing.com called it the third best fight of the 2008 and the lowest position given to this magnificent fight in the year end reviews was that by Scott Christ, badlefthook.com, who placed Cunningham-Adamek 4th in his Top 20 fights of 2008

The fight received honourable mentions in the year end reviews from Peter Czymbor of 8countnews.com, Paul Upham - secondsout.com, Ryan Kaye - 411mania.com and George Willis of the New York Post who also added "the slugfest between Tomasz Adamek and Steve Cunningham in Newark demands a rematch". Boxingtalk.com gave both the fight and round 4 honorable mentions in their year end awards.

ESPN's Dan Rafael, who also gave the fight an honourable mention, wrote in his year end review "The cruiserweight title bout featuring Tomasz Adamek and Steve Cunningham rates among the division's best-ever fights.

On paper, the cruiserweight world championship fight figured to be an excellent one given the boxers' contrasting styles. But who could have expected a late-year epic, the greatest fight in the brief history of Versus-televised boxing and a title bout that ranked not far behind the first Evander Holyfield-Dwight Muhammad Qawi battle as the division's most exciting fight?"

In January 2009 the accolades still kept coming as boxingscene.com declared Cunningham vs Adamek "Fight Of The Month" to add to the "Cruiserweight Fight Of The Year" they had awarded it in December.

It looks like Cunningham vs Adamek is also a front runner alongside Vasquez vs Marquez III for the prestigious "Fight Of The Year Award" from the Boxing Writers Association of America as on the 4th January 2009, one of boxing's most respected scribes, George Kimball, wrote in the Boston Herald "Pacquiao-De La Hoya turned out to be such a mismatch that it won't get much support for Fight of the Year. Rather, the balloting will come down the March war between Israel Vasquez and Rafael Marquez and the Dec. 11 Tomasz Adamek-Steve Cunningham fight in Newark, N.J. The latter battle saw Cunningham lose on a narrow split decision despite going down three times. Our choice would be the latter, but the fact that it was waged in relative obscurity (on Versus) and before a relatively small segment of the electorate may hurt its chances."

It's particularly refreshing that a fight in the 'underrated' cruiserweight division has received so much attention and accolades as this class has suffered from lack of interest from the media for so long. Then again, there are rarely fights of this calibre in any weight class. It was special, it was without doubt one of the most exciting fights and not just of this year, but for a long while.

Should you feel that Adamek vs Cunningham II should take place in 2009 visit the campaign website www.wewantarematch.com and sign the on-line petition.

 

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