In July, we saw heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko score a near shutout against titlist David "The Flopper" Haye in a one-sided fight. Haye, of course, entered the bout with a heavyweight belt but was more respected for his excellence as a cruiserweight, where he was a top champion before moving up in weight in late 2008.
But once Haye got into the ring with Klitschko, all the brash trash talk and over-the-top promises he made went out the window. Rather than fight, Haye ran, flopped to the deck repeatedly, threw one punch at a time and basically did nothing to try to win. And when his pathetic performance was over, he complained that an injured pinkie toe -- a pinkie toe! -- had been the reason for his horrible performance.
Now we have another former cruiserweight champion in Tomasz Adamek -- who followed Haye as the recognized champion of the division -- aiming to do what Haye couldn't: topple a Klitschko.
Also a former light heavyweight titlist, Adamek, who is 6-0 since moving up to heavyweight in late 2009, gets his chance to try to wrest a heavyweight title from 40-year-old Vitali Klitschko, Wladimir's older, bigger brother.
Adamek will possess at least one perceived advantage that Haye didn't have in his Klitschko opportunity. Haye traveled to Wladimir's adopted home country of Germany for their fight, but Adamek, who lives in Jersey City, N.J., will have the home-field advantage against Vitali in Adamek's native Poland, where he is a major star.
He and Klitschko will meet at a brand-new 40,000-plus seat soccer stadium in Wroclaw on Saturday (HBO, live at 4:45 p.m. ET with a 10:30 p.m. ET/PT replay) in easily the biggest fight in Polish history.
Since the fight was made, I haven't given Adamek (44-1, 28 KOs) all that much of a chance to pull the upset against Klitschko (42-2, 39 KOs), who is a lot bigger and has been unchallenged in his seven bouts since ending his injury-induced retirement in late 2008.
But one thing about Adamek that is a lot different than Haye is this: I am very confident that Adamek will try to win no matter the circumstances. And when it's over, if he loses, I doubt you'll hear Adamek make any excuses.
Adamek, 34, doesn't do a lot of talking. Never really has. But fight in and fight out, he gives his best effort.
When speaking to reporters on a recent conference call about his impending title challenge, Adamek was asked about Haye's performance and whether he would make more of an effort than his fellow former cruiserweight champ.
Adamek's answer came as little surprise.
"When I go into the ring, I go to win," Adamek said in his ever-improving English. "My heart is strong, my spirit too. I am not going to the ring to lose. I want to win. This is my dream."
And as for Haye?
"My opinion is that if someone speaks too much, you go to the ring and you give a good show," Adamek said. "[Before fighting] Wladimir Klitschko, he spoke too much. But then he came to the ring and he did not give a good show and he did not [come to try to win]."
That's about as negative as you will hear Adamek speak.
Like Haye against Wladimir, Adamek's best asset versus Vitali will be his speed. Haye didn't use his. Adamek said he will.
"I'm quicker. Speed is power. Speed is everything," said Adamek, whose team purposely selected heavier and taller recent opponent for him to fight in order to best prepare him to face Klitschko. "I'm not afraid to go into the ring with a big guy."
Unlike Haye, Adamek also won't be afraid to let it all hang out.