NBC Sports Fight Night Previews: Stevens-Roman, Chambers-Mchunu, Adamek-Grano

Credit: Rich Graesssle

On NBC Sports Fight Night on August 3 from the Mohegan Sun Casino, three fighters take the stage looking to make an impressive statement about their places in the sport – Curtis Stevens, Eddie Chambers and Tomasz Adamek, while three tough opponents are standing in their way and seeking to score statement making upset wins of their own. Here’s a preview of each of the three televised bouts on the card.

  • Date: August 3, 2013
  • Site: Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, Connecticut
  • TV: NBS Sports Network
  • Fights: Chambers-Mchunu, Stevens-Roman, Adamek-Grano

Eddie Chambers, 36-3 (18 KOs) vs. Thabisu Mchunu, 13-1 (10 KOs)

In what has seemed like a good idea for years, “Fast” Eddie Chambers has moved down to cruiserweight in an effort to raise his career to a championship level. As a jiggly heavyweight who usually came in at about 210 pounds, it seemed like a no-brainer. At 36-3, he had a nice run at heavyweight, with his speed and skills enabling him to hang in there with some much bigger contenders.

Now 31 and inactive for over a year, Chambers takes on the relatively unknown South African Mchunu, 13-1, a 24-year old who has fought all his bouts in his native land. It’s going to be a tall order for the import. He is taking a long trip and fighting an opponent unlike anything he has ever seen in a prize ring. Mchunu can punch and South Africans usually travel well, but the skills and experience of Chambers figure to win the day.

Normally, older fighters who move down in weight are never quite as good as some would have predicted. I see Chambers’ case being different. He is still young enough and making 200 pounds shouldn’t be that big of a problem. In his last fight a year ago against Tomasz Adamek, a ridiculously-scored unanimous decision loss, he was only 202 pounds. I look for Chambers to outbox Mchunu, before stopping him in the 7th or 8th round.

Curtis Stevens, 24-3 (17 KOs) vs. Saul Roman, 37-9 (31 KOs)

So which Curtis Stevens will show up? The guy obviously has a lot of talent, but when a fighter shows so much apathy in fights, how can you depend on him? Roman is no world-beater, but if Stevens, 28, comes into the ring in anything less than an inspired mindset, Roman is the kind of guy who can spring an upset. On talent alone, one would have to go with the hard-hitting Stevens.

At his best, Stevens is a real go-getter. His attack has a special air of violence to it and he can be a real handful. Then again, why is the 9-year pro still no better than a top-20 middleweight?

It’s because of many reasons, but one of them is a strange mindset. You could almost say he’s a head-case, a fighter of greater ability than he typically shows. It’s OK when a fighter doesn’t make it because he doesn’t have what it takes in some form. But when you see a fighter with talent who is handcuffed with a shaky headspace, it’s extremely frustrating to watch. Stevens should be a top contender, but he isn’t.

Against Elvin Ayala in January, he was brutal and fierce. Then against tough Derrick Findley in April, he appeared to have ample firepower to blow out or at least rout his opponent, but instead won a ho-hum decision. He did just enough to hold the edge during the majority of the fight. Against Roman, he better not do that.

Roman, 33, is a tough veteran of 46 fights. He has fought top opposition, winning some, but losing most. He is a battle-tested warrior who was never coddled, even losing by KO to Jesus Soto-Karass in 2002 and Marco Antonio Rubio in 2003. In total, he has been stopped 6 times.

If a pumped-up Stevens shows up, it should result in his 7th stoppage loss. If Stevens thinks he can phone it in against the 9-loss Roman and get by on mean-mugging and throwing 3 big punches a round, he could end up getting beaten. I see Stevens showing up in a good enough mindset to win a tough 10-round decision over his gutsy Mexican foe.

Tomasz Adamek, 48-2 (29 KOs) vs. Tony Grano, 20-3-1 (16 KOs)

*** Tony Grano has been replaced by Dominick Guinn***

Adamek is now 36 and still carrying on–a contender with a glossy 48-2 record, but one who is probably over-the-hill. It appeared he was a loser in his last bout against Steve Cunningham, though he earned a unanimous decision. One judge scored it an obscene 116-112 for Adamek.

The Polish warrior is a credit to the sport and has provided some great moments, but the end appears near. He should have robust fan support at Mohegan Sun and enough in the tank to handle the unexceptional Grano in what amounts to a semi-tough tuneup fight.

Maybe it’s because I’m from the west coast, but it seems like Tony Grano, Vinny Maddalone, Brian Minto, and Mike Mollo are all the same guy–boxers who are tough, but proven losers against top opposition. Adamek may have lost a step, but he still qualifies as a top-shelf boxer. Grano is coming off a loss to Eric Molina and if that’s to be used as any kind of gauge, he might be in over his head in this matchup.

Grano is a tough guy who can crack a little bit, with 16 knockouts in 20 wins. He may be catching Adamek at the right time, just as he hits a wall after a long and taxing career. Those light heavyweight wars he had with Paul Briggs were 7-8 years ago now. He’s been fighting at a high level for a long time and isn’t getting any better.

While one wouldn’t be hasty in predicting an impending demise, it probably doesn’t happen here. Look for Adamek to get Grano out of there in about 6 rounds.

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