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Counter Punch

A fresher Tomasz Adamek is ready for his next high-profile opponent

Tomasz Adamek (left) took some time off from boxing to sharpen his game. (Boris Streubel/Getty Images)  Tomasz Adamek (left) took some time off from boxing to sharpen his game. (Boris Streubel/Getty Images)

UNCASVILLE, Conn. -- Sitting on a dais, dressed casually in shorts and a white polo shirt, Tomasz Adamek, 36, looked more like a peer of his longtime promoter, Kathy Duva, than several of the younger fighters he shared the stage with. Adamek has had a long and decorated career, one highlighted by titles at light heavyweight and cruiserweight and a heavyweight title challenge against Vitali Klitschko, and on Saturday he will take another step towards one more big opportunity when he faces Dominick Guinn at Mohegan Sun Casino (NBC Sports Network, 10:30 pm).

“[A title shot] is my goal,” Adamek said. “If I win a couple of fights, that’s what I want.”

Few fighters have the resolve--or longevity--of Adamek, one of boxing’s true warriors. He's a take-two-punches-to-deliver-three type of boxer who has consistently been one of the toughest outs in the sport. Klitschko, Chris Arreola, Chad Dawson and Steve Cunningham (twice) are just a few of the fighters Adamek (48-2) has waged wars with. He didn’t win them all, but he didn’t go down easy in any of them, either.

Still, mixing it up in so many fights takes a toll, and Adamek started to feel that toll last December. While training for a rematch with Steve Cunningham, Adamek felt sluggish. His energy wasn’t as high as it used to be. His punches, said trainer Roger Bloodworth, were a split second slow. The mind was willing, Bloodworth said, but the body was weak.

“He had four tough fights last year,” Bloodworth said. “We really didn’t take any breaks. He would come to my house and train, I would go to his house and train. We would do it for weeks at a time without much of a break. He was in camp for about 50 weeks last year. He was burned out. He has tremendous heart so he was able to push through it, but he needed the time off.”

“I didn’t think he was at the end of his career. I just think he was getting a little stale. You can’t do this stuff every day. When you work too hard in the gym, you leave it all in the gym.”

After beating Cunningham, Bloodworth told Adamek to take some time off. Go anywhere, do anything, just don’t box. After about a month, Adamek came back to the gym looking like a fresher fighter.

“He seems quicker with his jab,” Bloodworth said. “It’s easy for him to get two or three jabs off. You can tell he is sharp.”

While Guinn (34-9-1) is far from the high profile opponent Adamek is targeting, he hopes a good showing will be a springboard to one. There has been talk of a showdown between Adamek and undefeated American heavyweight Bryant Jennings later this year. The winner of a Jennings-Adamek fight would be in a strong position to challenge Wladimir Klitschko sometime next year.

“I’m healthy and fresh,” Adamek said. “I was too busy last year [but] it’s time for a comeback. Saturday, I will be the best. I am ready for tough fights. I will show my class and win.” –Chris Mannix

                                                                                                                                              
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