Baffled Cunningham feels cheated
Tomasz Adamek, his nose swollen, seemed satisfied and relieved. Steve Cunningham was baffled.
"I really don't know what more I can do,” Cunningham said after losing on a split decision in their heavyweight fight in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, on Saturday night.
“What can I say? What can I do? Real men cry, real men shed tears," Cunningham said after the IBF title fight eliminator.
"You can't knock everyone out. We did our thing in the ring. It saddens me. I can't be getting cheated like this. It's sad, man, it's sad. It's nonsense.
“What needs to be done in boxing for this not to happen again? This isn't a game," the American lamented.
Adamek had a different view. "That was like sparring. Not very many punches were thrown. I feel like I can go back into the ring and fight again," he said.
It was the Polish veteran’s 11th heavyweight bout. "The fight was close. My trainer told me to go after him after the eighth round. It was part of the plan to come on late in the last 20 seconds of each round.
“In a few rounds, I tried to attack him, and he ran. He ran. I fought. It's why I won," said Adamek, who had spent most of his career at light-heavyweight.
Adamek received a score of 115-112 from judge Debra Barnes and 116-112 from Dave Greer. Tom Miller scored it 115-113 for Cunningham.
After six rounds, Miller and Greer had the fight even, and Barnes had Adamek up by two rounds. Greer and Miller gave Adamek three of the last four rounds.
The fight was a rematch of a 2008 cruiserweight bout that Adamek also won on a split decision after Cunningham got up from three knockdowns. But that time, Adamek weighed 90 kg and Cunningham's 89. This time, Adamek weighed in at 101 kg and Cunningham at 92.
Cunningham outlanded Adamek in total punches, 209-169, and used an effective jab, landing 129 of 349. But Adamek hit Cunningham with more power punches, 120-80.
"It all depends on what you were looking at," said Adamek's trainer, Roger Bloodworth.
"If you looked at effective punching, which is what the judges saw, they would have given this to Tomasz. If you liked running and being a stylist, then you wanted Cunningham. I think the more effective puncher won this fight, and that was Tomasz."
Adamek advanced to fight contender Kubrat Pulev, with the winner scheduled to take on IBF champion Wladimir Klitschko.
Adamek improved his record to 48 wins and 2 defeats. Cunningham’s now stands at 25-5.