Sam Peter, Vitali Klitschko, the WBC fiasco, and Oleg Maskaev's swan song!

sam peter(Samuel Peter, pictured here, following his bout with Wladimir Klitschko) 05.04.07 - By Geoffrey Ciani: So after many rumors and much confusion it appears WBC heavyweight boxing champion Oleg Maskaev will be defending his title against number one contender, Samuel Peter. This is what should have happened in the first place. Peter deserves a title shot; he earned it.

The WBC has been jerking Peter’s chain for sometime now. This all started back in September of last year when Peter squared off against James Toney in a title boxing eliminator bout. Under ordinary circumstances, this is a simple concept: Two highly ranked opponents square off against one another and the winner gets a shot at the title. Pretty straight forward, no? Well, one should think so, but oftentimes, things aren’t always what they seem. Peter beat Toney and earned the right to face Oleg for his WBC crown, only, he never got a title shot.

Instead, the WBC declared that his bout with Toney was an eliminator to fight another eliminator. This retroactive change in procedure was nothing short of a ridiculous sham.

It appears that the WBC likes to make shit up as they go along. In any case, Peter still beat Toney, so he was granted another eliminator.

One would think that Peter would have had to face and defeat another opponent, but that wasn’t the case, either. Instead, Peter was inexplicably ordered to fight James Toney—again! This is undoubtedly one of the strangest rulings made by a boxing sanctioning body in recent memory. Essentially, Peter and Toney squared off in an “eliminator” in which nobody was eliminated. I guess the WBC felt that you had to win two out of three to get a crack at Oleg.

In any case, once again, Peter defeated Toney, and once again, he should have been awarded the opportunity to fight against Oleg, however, complications arose when former WBC boxing champion Vitali Klitschko decided to come out of retirement. These complications stem from back when Vitali first retired in late 2005.

A series of injuries resulted in a series of postponements in a scheduled bout against Hasim Rahman. As a result, Vitali ultimately retired and Hasim Rahman was declared the new WBC heavyweight champion. Additionally, the WBC named Vitali as their “Emeritus Champion”, which meant Klitschko would automatically be named the organization’s mandatory challenger if and when he ever decided to make a return to the ring. Once again, Sam Peter was getting bent over by the WBC.

As things turned out, the three parties involved have reached an agreement wherein Peter will get first crack at Oleg no later than August of this year, with the winner having to face Vitali by year’s end. This is good news for Sam Peter. On the other hand, it isn’t such great news for Vitali Klitschko and it’s absolutely terrible news for Oleg Maskaev.

I’m not usually one to make bold predictions, but in this case, I’m going to—Maskaev stands no chance against Sam Peter. Style-wise, this fight is a nightmare for Oleg who will undoubtedly get knocked out against the hungry young Nigerian pugilist. Maskaev is too old and too slow at this stage in his boxing career; Peter is going to have a field day with him.

Maskaev has always been known to be a bit “chinny”. He’s been knocked out by the likes of Oliver McCall, Kirk Johnson, David Tua, Lance Whitikar, and Corey “T-Rex” Sanders (not to be confused with the Corrie Sanders who destroyed Wladimir Klitschko a few years back). For whatever reason, Maskaev appears to take Rahman’s punches well, but beyond that, he has never shown to have an exceptional chin; in fact, strong arguments can be made to the contrary. That Peter might well pack a harder punch than anyone Oleg has ever faced makes matters worse, and since losing to Wladimir Klitschko, Peter has also shown tremendous overall improvement (so, too, has Wladimir for that matter).

Peter is going to swarm Maskaev, and I’m not sure Maskaev will be able to put up much resistance. If Wladimir Klitschko was landing bombs on Peter for a full twelve rounds without knocking him down, I’m hard-pressed to see how Oleg will do any better. Maskaev’s slower than Wladimir, doesn’t hit as hard, and is grossly inferior in the skills department. What does all of this mean? It means Maskaev is doomed. There is no way he is going to beat Sam Peter.

The shame of it is, Maskaev may have had a chance against Vitali, albeit, a slim one. Vitali’s been out of boxing action for a long time, and was bound to have some ring rust that Maskaev may have been able to expose. Furthermore, Vitali’s relaxed style is better suited for Oleg than Peter’s swarming style.

The best thing about this is it looks as if we’ll see Peter defend his new crown against Vitali at the end of this year. That should be a great fight, and if Peter beats Vitali (as I suspect he will), that should pave the way for the much anticipated rematch between Peter and Vitali’s younger brother, Wladimir. At this point, Peter and Wladimir are undoubtedly the two premiere heavyweights in the division. There’s no better fight that can be made in today’s heavyweight landscape.

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Article posted on 05.04.2007

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