Wednesday, August 7, 2019

What’s Next For Adam Kownacki?

The Heavyweight bout between top-rated undefeated contender Adam Kownacki and longtime contender Chris Arreola seemed to check the boxes that of what Boxing fans tend to crave. Two fighters with crowd-pleasing styles, who are each known for their willingness to come forward and mix it up with their opponents.

This fight also presented a familiar story of a contender on the rise going against an experienced veteran, who some believed his best days were behind him. When you combine the meshing of similar styles, the storyline of a veteran looking to revitalize his career going against a young unbeaten contender, who had not faced a significant test in his career, a capacity crowd at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, and a national television audience the ingredients can at times produce an exciting fight. When Kownacki and Arreola met in the ring on August 3rd, the Boxing world was treated to what may very well be one of the most competitive fights in the Heavyweight division in years.

From the opening bell, Kownacki and Arreola engaged in battle. What emerged was a fight where both fighters threw punches nearly non-stop for the duration of the twelve round bout. While fights that are fought at such a pace are difficult to score, they are also rare to see in the Heavyweight division.

What can be a challenge in a fight like this is to determine which fighter is able to execute their offense more efficiently way compared to their opponent. Although that may seem like a relatively simple explanation to some, it isn’t necessarily as simple as it might sound because the pace of the fight was such that both fighters were extremely active with their offense and each had moments in several rounds.

Fights like this can indeed be difficult for one to score, but what this observer tends to look for under circumstances like this are subtle differences that can ultimately determine the difference. Sometimes it can come down to small things that can make an impression on the judges scoring a fight. Kownacki was the fighter generally coming forward and initiating the combat throughout the fight. This gave me the impression that he was bringing the fight to Arreola, which did give him the benefit of the doubt in some close rounds on my scorecard. Arreola however, had consistent success throughout the bout in landing flush right hands to the head of Kownacki.

The result of the fight, a twelve round unanimous decision in favor of Kownacki, was not a surprise. What was a surprise regarding the scoring was that the three official judges scored the fight by margins of nine rounds to three and ten rounds to two respectively. While Kownacki was the more aggressive of the two fighters in my view, I did feel the fight was closer as I scored it by a margin of eight rounds to four in his favor. Having said this, I would not consider the scoring controversial.

In terms of statistics, this fight will go down in the record books as a record-breaking bout for Heavyweights as the two fighters combined to throw an astonishing 2,172 total punches in the twelve round fight as well as combining to land 667 total punches according to CompuBox statistics. Both aspects broke the Heavyweight records for both total punches thrown and landed. Records that ironically involved one fighter in two separate fights.

In 1996 and 1997 respectively, David Tua, a former longtime top contender took part in two fights that set the respective records. The first against David Izon in December 1996 where the record for most punches landed in a Heavyweight fight compiled by Compubox was set of 660 punches. Tua’s first career defeat came in a close decision loss to Ike Ibeabuchi in June 1997 where they set the then record for total punches thrown by Heavyweights in a single fight of 1,730.  While there have been many fights in over the last two decades and even though Compubox statistics do not always tell the full story of what goes on in a fight, it does serve as an accurate illustration in just how rare it is to see a Heavyweight fight fought at such a pace that goes the full distance of a fight, though, in the case of Tua’s fight against Izon, he was able to score a stoppage win in the final round of that fight.

Although it is understandable how a fighter can need time to recuperate from a fight like this, a natural question to ask is what is next for Adam Kownacki off of the most significant win of his career thus far? Kownacki and his wife are expecting the birth of a new edition to their family in the near future. This combined with needing time to allow his body and mind to recharge from what was a grueling battle against Chris Arreola will likely keep him out of the ring at least for a few months.

Once Kownacki is ready to return to active competition, this observer believes that a good potential opponent would be former WBO Heavyweight world champion Joseph Parker. Not only, does Parker carry the name recognition value of being a recent former world champion in the division with him, but in terms of the current rankings in the Heavyweight division, both Parker and Kownacki are rated number five and six respectively in the World Boxing Council (WBC) ratings, which would make a fight between the two an ideal option as Parker looks to position himself for another opportunity at a world championship and Kownacki looks to continue climbing the later towards a potential title shot of his own.

While in Boxing it is not always as simple as a contender faces a contender who just happens to be one position above him in his next fight if nothing else due to the political elements that surround the sport, it does seem like it would be another good test for Kownacki against a fighter in Parker who has been to the top before and has more experience against the upper echelon of the division. Stylistically, it would be an interesting fight to watch and depending on the outcome could springboard the winner into a world championship fight in the not too distant future.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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