NEWARK -- Tomasz Adamek is scheduled to fight WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko on Sept. 10 in Poland, and that, as much as anything else, is what 7,653 fans in Little Warsaw, otherwise known as the Prudential Center, were celebrating after their hero scored a unanimous 12-round decision over Kevin McBride Saturday night.
Adamek (44-1, 28 KOs) knew going into the fight that a loss to McBride (35-9-1, 29 KOs) would scuttle plans for his title shot. McBride was Adamek's sixth heavyweight opponent and the fourth who has been in the "ocean liner" class to prepare him to meet either of the champion Klitschko brothers, Vitali or Wladimir. Two judges scored it 119-108, and one had it a shutout, 120-107, the same as Newsday's card.
Asked about the pending Klitschko bout, Adamek said: "I'm looking forward to it. There will be a lot of fans from Poland and also from America who will make a difference for me."
At 285 pounds, McBride outweighed Adamek by 70 pounds. Despite losses in four of his previous five fights, Adamek couldn't afford to ignore the fact that McBride stopped Mike Tyson in the sixth round in 2005.
At the opening bell, McBride rushed out and grabbed Adamek's head with his left and tried to bang with his right. That passed for a strategy until referee Randy Neumann warned the Irishman. Adamek was the one boxing, but it was like hitting the side of a barn -- he couldn't miss, but it might take awhile to bring it down.
As long as Adamek kept moving in and out, his combinations were far too fast for McBride. The key was to stay out of clinches, and Neumann warned McBride again in the third.
Operating neatly behind a busy jab, Adamek found enough room in the fourth to crack McBride with a hard right. It had a ripple effect down McBride's ample torso. In the fifth, Adamek stunned McBride with a left hook high on his temple and used his jab to split McBride's gloves when he covered up.
The seventh was a wild round in which Adamek came up the middle with a right hand that opened a cut over McBride's left eye. Moments later, Neumann deducted a point from McBride for holding, making it a two-point round that added to the margin of Adamek's shutout. An Adamek left in the eighth had McBride stumbling forward, and the two fighters made contact with another ringside cameraman, who managed to hold his ground.
If there was cause for concern for the Adamek camp, it was evident in the ninth and 10th. Although Adamek kept moving and scoring, McBride kept coming forward because the 215-pound Adamek couldn't back him up with authority. At one point in the 10th, McBride landed a couple of lefts. Coming from either of the Klitschkos, Adamek might have been in trouble. "I just couldn't catch him," McBride said. "It was more like a marathon."
Heaven knows Adamek didn't need the points in the 12th, but he apparently wanted to put on a show for the fans, peppering away with repeated flurries whenever he wasn't ducking under McBride's bull rushes. The way Adamek went at it, you would have thought he needed it to win. Practicing for another day when he might.