Heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko’s next IBF mandatory challenger was supposed to be the winner of an elimination bout that was ordered between Tomasz Adamek and Kubrat Pulev.
The camps had not gotten very far in their discussions to make the fight and on Wednesday Adamek announced that he was declining the bout, claiming he has a bigger offer to face an undisclosed opponent in his native Poland.
"I have been offered an opportunity to fight in Poland for far more money than I would get for fighting Kubrat Pulev,” Adamek said in a statement. “Meaning no disrespect to Pulev, he has never held a major title and never headlined a televised card. Any money generated by the promotion would, for the most part, be generated by my popularity. I owe it to my family to engage in the most financially rewarding bouts, and engaging in a bout with Kubrat Pulev at this time simply does not make financial sense.
“I have spoken with the president of the IBF, Daryl Peoples, and informed him that, for the above reasons, I have withdrawn from the IBF box-off. I also thanked the IBF for the support it has shown me and the sport of boxing over the past years.”
Adamek (49-2, 29 KOs) is doing the wise thing in my view. The former cruiserweight champ and light heavyweight titlist is 36, took a bad beating from Vitali Klitschko in a 10th-round knockout loss in a 2011 heavyweight title fight and has not looked good since.
Adamek has won four fights in a row since the loss to Klitschko, but he was lucky to escape with a decisions against Eddie Chambers and Steve Cunningham and he got dropped by journeyman Travis Walker. I think Pulev (17-0, 9 KOs), 31, of Bulgaria, would have waxed Adamek.
If Adamek truly can make a lot more money to fight somebody else in Poland -- almost assuredly a lesser opponent-- you can’t blame him for doing what’s best for his bank account at this late stage of his career.
As for Pulev, the IBF will now order him to face its next leading available contender, which is Philadelphia’s Bryant Jennings (16-0, 8 KOs). Pulev-Jennings is a very interesting fight between emerging contenders.