Chambers poised for upset
Story & photo by Rick Scharmberg
“Fast” Eddie Chambers (35-1, 18 KOs), of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania will realize his dream of fighting for the heavyweight championship of the world next Saturday, when he challenges WBO/IBF champion Wladimir Klitschko (53-3, 47 KOs), of Kiev, Ukraine at the Esprit Arena in Dusseldorf, Germany. Chambers, rated #1 in the WBO and #3 in the IBF, earned his shot with impressive wins over former WBC heavyweight champion Sam Peter and unbeaten contender Alexander Dimitrenko.
Chambers, who is a 9-1 underdog, said, “I worked hard up in the Poconos, doing what I need to do to be a champion. This is a great, great opportunity, and I am motivated to work harder and with more intensity than ever.”
Chambers was born in Pittsburgh, but moved to Philadelphia in 2002 to get the best training. By that time, Eddie, now 27, was already 9-0, with 5 knockouts. He learned his craft in that fistic hotbed called the Blue Horizon, running off seventeen straight wins there over all types of competition. It should be noted that one of those victories came against Ross Puritty, who stopped Klitschko early in his career.
In boxing, it is not wise to base assumptions on performances against common opponents, but people, and TV networks, like to do it anyway. Besides Ross Puritty, both Klitschko and Chambers fought hard-punching Nigerian Sam Peter. Both fighters defeated Peter by decision, but Wladimir had to get off the floor three times to do it, while Eddie made it look easy.
Even though Wlad’s older brother Vitali holds the WBC title, and David Haye the WBA belt, Wladimir has long been considered to be the dominant heavyweight champion. With his size advantage – Wlad is nearly 6’7” tall – and six-year unbeaten streak, many opponents enter the ring just hoping to survive.
Is there a chance of Chambers showing him too much respect? “I will respect him by training hard and coming in at one hundred percent. I am ready for this fight. I’m not going to allow what happened to his other challengers happen to me,” he said.
An argument can be made that Chambers represents Wladimir Klitschko’s most formidable challenger to date.
Some of Klischko’s recent challengers, such as former champions Hasim Rahman, Chris Byrd (2nd fight), and Lamon Brewster (2nd fight) were past their primes, and others such as Calvin Brock, Tony Thompson, and arguably Ray Austin were relatively untested when they faced him.
“I’m sure every other fighter who faced him would say the same thing,” stated Chambers. “But without a doubt, I bring more to the table than they did. I have different dimensions to my style that will make his night difficult. He is a big guy and has speed, but I have more speed, movement, and I am a better inside fighter. I can get close to him with my foot speed and pose problems.”
Eddie’s trainer and manager Rob Murray Sr. agrees, “I’ve been watching Klitschko for the last few years, and we match up better with him than he does with us. Eddie’s style is wrong for him. Eddie has a great chin, hand speed, eyesight, athleticism, and agility. Klitschko is one dimensional. He fights in a European style and wants to keep you on the outside.
“Things like that annoy HBO,” continued Murray Sr. “On the inside, he grabs and holds and wears you down. We’re not doing that. Fans want to see fighters get it on and knuckle down. If you can have Tony Thompson carry him eleven rounds on a bad knee, Eddie is light years ahead of these guys, and he is not afraid to go to Europe.”
Indeed, this fight will represent the third time Chambers has fought in Germany. On January 26, 2008, he went through a learning curve of sorts, and lost a decision to dangerous and highly-rated Russian Alexander Povetkin in an IBF title eliminator. The defeat is the only blemish on an otherwise perfect record.
Chalking the Povetkin fight up to experience, Eddie went on to handily defeat Peter, and then Alexander Dimitrenko in his most recent bout last July 4 in Hamburg.
“I am used to it. I fought in front of hostile crowds before. German fans are very knowledgeable, and I am looking forward to fighting there again,” said Chambers.
As usual, Chambers be at a big size disadvantage. Weighing in between 215-220 pounds, he is considered a small heavyweight when compared to today’s behemoths. But, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, and Muhammad Ali were three great fighters who fought in that weight range and defeated much bigger men.
All three possessed something special to allow them to excel. Tyson had power, Holyfield had conditioning and determination, and Ali, well, was “The Greatest”.
Chambers also has something special. He can stand in front of you and make you miss. He can frustrate you, and make you fight harder than you might want to.
Trainer Rob Murray Sr. states, “I have been in this sport for forty-five years, and no one I worked with has more talent than Eddie. Klitschko is very strong and was taught to become a very skilled fighter. But his athleticism isn’t as good. Eddie could have been a Division 1 or 2 point guard in basketball. He could have been a cornerback or safety in football. He can play tennis. He has God-given athletic talent that you can only be born with.”
Considering his size advantages and the tear he’s been on, one has to wonder if there is even the slightest chance that Wladimir will look past “Fast” Eddie.
“I don’t think so,” said Eddie. “He respects what I bring to the table, and will prepare for me like no other. I don’t think he will ever come into the ring out of shape, and he hasn’t overlooked anyone since Corrie Sanders. He overlooked him, and you saw what happened.”
Rob Murray Sr. certainly believes in his fighter, and closed by stating, “There is no such thing as an insurmountable challenge. Klitschko is not insurmountable to us. I expect Eddie to win and win handily, and possibly stop him.”
“It will be a great night of fighting, and the fans will enjoy it,” said Chambers. “Watch for a great upset.”