Although they were given the privilege of headlining ShoBox’s 100th telecast, neither “Fast” Eddie Chambers nor Calvin Brock did much to restore interest or faith in the ever-declining heavyweight division. Boxing fans are well-accustomed to disappointment when it comes to those north of 200 pounds.
Philly fighter Chambers won a very narrow SD (115-113 twice and 113-115) over 12 forgettable rounds. The winner remains unbeaten at 30-0 (16), while Brock falls to 32-2 (23), as his days as a top contender are rapidly slipping away.
One good thing that came out of this 47-minute ordeal is that the muddled division will supposedly become clearer. Chambers will next face Russian Alexander Povetkin, who dispatched Chris Byrd in 11 last month. Despite his limited pro experience (14 bouts), many consider Povetkin the top contender in the game. The winner of Chambers-Povetkin is expected to eventually get a crack at IBF titlist Wladimir Klitschko, who is considered by most the closest thing we have to the “heavyweight champion of the world,” even though the WBC, WBA and WBO belts belong to other men.
None of these recent happenings in the division get me too excited, but it’s the best we’ve got. Thank God we have great fighters and compelling matches taking place in virtually every other weight class. Without a great heavyweight champion mainstream sports fans might think our sport is dead, but we know better.
Brock weighed 241 for this fight at the Emerald Garden Casino in Tacoma, Washington. When he fought and lost to Wlad Klitschko at Madison Square Garden this time last year he was 224.5. When he fought the best fight of his career in April 2005 against Jameel McCline he was 218.
He came out throwing a lot of jabs and put a few combinations together. But he pushed his shots, which were slow and never landed flush. He looked sluggish, lead-footed and under-trained. He claims to tap dance as a hobby, but I bet he’s no Gregory Hines.
Chambers is a grossly undersized heavyweight. Showtime listed him at 6’1’’ but I think they’re spotting him at least an inch. He is chubby at 213, and is considerably smaller than not just fellow heavies but statuesque cruisers such as David Haye. What he has going for him are fast hands and considerable skills.
His behavior in the ring is a curiosity and rather compelling, if not that exciting. Like his fistic precursor Chris Byrd, he doesn’t run from Goliath. He stands right in front of him, taunting him with lack of nervous energy, his calm, and his seeming inactivity. He wears a constant smirk, but his wide open, unblinking eyes remind you that he is taking you seriously.
He doesn’t waste a punch or make a false move. He does nothing cute—excluding his facial expressions. He never drops his hands, which are held inordinately high. He just peers behind his gloves, blocking the incoming fire (or occasionally moving his head) and looks for opportunities for quick, accurate counters.
What was truly shocking about how he fought Brock was how he walked the bigger, stronger man down. Like Winky Wright, he kept taking measured steps forward and refused to be driven backward. Unlike Winky, he threw few jabs as he closed the distance. I’ve seen Jean-Marc Mormec do this, but the cruiser is armored like a French tank. The style seemed to work.
He didn’t dominate Brock, most of the rounds were close, but he definitely connected with most clean, accurate punches. His shots had the affect of a horsefly bite, which hurt and irritate but won’t kill you. Brock’s eyes were puffy and angry, whereas Chambers looked unchanged when the fight was over.
I am curious to see if he can pull off this style against Povetkin, who while not a big heavyweight, looks to be a clear level above Brock in every department. And what would happen if little Chambers tried to pull this on Wladimir?
I’m not dying to find out, but I’m willing to tune in.
In the eight-round televised co-feature, lightweight Josesito Lopez upped his record to 22-2 (13) against the light punching Tyrone Harris, who fell to 21-4 (13). The UD was scored 77-74 twice and 79-72. Unfortunately, like the main event, this was a stinker. Consider yourself lucky if you missed it.