Recovering Chambers sets out to re-climb heavyweight mountain
By Lyle Fitzsimmons,
Contributing Boxing Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
If it seems like it's been awhile since you heard from Eddie Chambers, you're right.
Just shy of 11 months, in fact, since the Pittsburgh-born/Philadelphia-groomed heavyweight last stepped into a ring -- when he traveled to Dusseldorf, Germany with a goal of dislodging Wladimir Klitschko from the myriad belts certifying him as the world's best big man.
The road trip ended fruitlessly, not to mention painfully, when the incumbent Ukrainian left Chambers in a heap, courtesy of a highlight-reel left hook with five seconds left in the final round.
It was the second loss in 37 pro fights for the affable Pennsylvanian, who turned 28 nine days later and subsequently forced himself into exile to allow recovery for both body and psyche.
"I had a long talk with (Klitschko's trainer) Emanuel Steward and he told me after a loss like I had against Wladimir that I should get away from the sport for a few months and let my body regenerate," Chambers said. "I kept my body in shape by being in the fitness gym and I slowly migrated back to the boxing gym and by the end of 2010 I felt I was ready to get back in the ring."
The recovery process begins again Friday night, when Chambers -- still ranked No. 2 in the world by the IBO and No. 4 by the IBF -- faces familiar foe Derric Rossy on the undercard of Showtime's "ShoBox: The New Generation" broadcast from Bally's in Atlantic City.
The broadcast is set for 11 p.m. (et).
Chambers, who stopped a then-unbeaten Rossy in seven rounds when they met at Suffolk Community College in February 2007, weighed in Thursday at 208 pounds -- 1 1/2 less than the match with Klitschko and seven down from the initial encounter with Rossy four years ago.
The 30-year-old Rossy, 25-2 since turning pro in 2004, is No. 11 in the IBF's February rankings.
He weighed 237 1/2 pounds on Thursday -- 10 1/2 less than the first fight -- and stands 6-foot-3, two inches taller than Chambers.
The return bout is billed as an IBF title eliminator, meaning the winner will be in the discussion for an imminent try -- or another try, in Chambers' case -- at a shiny new belt.
"This is a great opportunity for many reasons, most of being that it's a fight that will put me at the front of the championship pecking order," Chambers said. "I am grateful that the IBF kept me in this position to where I am able to have this significant fight, which will be the first step back into regaining my No. 1 spot so I can fight for the title yet once again."
Rossy has fought 11 times since the Chambers loss, scoring five knockouts in 10 victories and falling just once -- via fifth-round TKO -- to Alexander Dimitrenko in May 2008. Dimitrenko dropped a majority decision to Chambers a year later in a WBO title eliminator that preceded 2010's Klitschko fight.
Rossy's last fight was March 6, 2010, when he outpointed Zach Page over 12 rounds.
"The first fight doesn't mean anything. That was a few years ago," Chambers said. "He is a different and improved fighter. I have to have the mindset that I have never fought him before. I have seen him on ESPN and he looks much improved.
"Along the same lines I did have a decisive victory over him and I am sure that has been on his mind. Yes he has improved (and) he probably will have a different game plan, but that won't work either."
TV TOPICS (Some fights may not be televised)
ESPN2 -- Bell Centre, Montreal, QC
Ionut Dan Ion (27-1) vs. Steve Forbes (35-8) -- 10, welterweights
Antonin Decarie (24-1) vs. Shamone Alvarez (21-3) -- 10, welterweights
Showtime -- Bally's Atlantic City, Atlantic City, NJ
Cornelius White (16-0) vs. Don George (20-1-1) -- 10, super middleweights
Eddie Chambers (35-2) vs. Derric Rossy (25-2) -- 12, heavyweights
TeleFutura -- Sports Center, Fairfield, CA
Alan Sanchez (6-2-1) vs. John Ryan Grimaldo (6-0) -- 8, welterweights
Peter Quillin (22-0) vs. Dennis Sharpe (17-5-3) -- 8, middleweights
Fox Espanol -- Polideportivo Municipal, Monte Hermoso, Argentina
Omar Narvaez (32-0-2) vs. Victor Zaleta (17-1) -- 12, WBO junior bantamweight title
Sammy Gutierrez (26-5-2) vs. Renan Trongco (8-2) -- 12 minimumweights
Lyle Fitzsimmons is a veteran sports columnist who's written professionally since 1988 and covered boxing since 1995. His work is published in print and posted online for clients in North America and Europe. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at www.twitter.com/fitzbitz.