Dysfunctional Heavyweight Division Stinks-up Boxing's Big Autumn: Quotes from the Peter vs. McCline Conference Call

samuel peter03.10.07 - By Chad Edward: Kelly Pavlik and Jermain Taylor ignited boxing's big autumn Saturday, but this afternoon in New York City the over 200-pound gorilla stinking-up the room beat it's chest at the Samuel Peter versus Jameel McCline WBC Championship fight conference call.

"Am I a tougher fighter [than Oleg Maskaev]?" repeated "Big Time" McCline, who is replacing Maskaev, "I donít really know."

Maskaev's manager, Dennis Rappaport, called Don King, the event's co-promoter, two weeks ago to pull his fighter due to herniated discs in his back. McCline, already scheduled to fight DaVarryl Williamson on the undercard, was quickly promoted to the main event.

"[Russians] just have a history of pulling out of fights," claimed Peter's promoter, Dino Duva. "I donít believe they acted in good faith." Duva claims Rappaport admitted he knew about the injury three weeks earlier, but hoped it would go away by fight night. "Herniated discs don't go away in three weeks," Duva retorted. He also claimed Rappaport hasn't supplied him with the doctor's report Rappaport promised.

McCline was originally scheduled to fight Vitali Klitschko September 22; but, Klitschko also dropped out of that fight at the last minute due to back problems. McCline has a theory: "My theory was these two fighters were going to get together and take this fight to Moscow. I just think it was too coincidental." McCline claimed his camp also hasn't been supplied with Klitschko's doctor's report.

Duva replied, "If they had something like that mind, it wouldnít have been for the WBC Heavyweight Championship. I can tell you that."

Indeed, Maskaev has been stripped of the WBC title and Samuel Peter named interim WBC Champion. "If [Maskaev] is available to fight after this fight, weíll honor that," Duva said, claiming Maskaev had to be prepared to fight in 90 to 120 days after the Peter versus McCline fight October 6. "No Russians, no fighters are going to delay Sam Peterís career again."

"Thank God," Samuel Peter said of his designation as interim champion. "Iím the world champion," he proclaimed, despite the "interim" tag attached to his title. "Iím taking over!"

"I also view this as a championship fight," agreed McCline. "I donít know about this interim stuff."

Duva called the new matchup: "A show that I think is even better! We're just ecstatic!" He explained that McCline's size made this a tougher fight for his guy, whose only loss is to similarly statured Wladimir Klitschko. "He had to get a quick sparring partner this week that was taller."

McCline, fighting in his fourth world title fight, also had to adjust to a different opponent, "...a brawler. It did require some realignment of strategy. Anyone who tells you differently isnít telling you the truth. We had to bring in some new guys. We had to change game plans," he said. He lost all three previous world title fights, the last to Chris Byrd in 2004. "Three years later, three years smarter, three years better. I will be very aggressive and fight my game plan. Iím going to walk into that arena and walk out with a win."

If McCline is able to walk out at all, it'll be an improvement over his last performance in which he blew his patella tendon in the third round versus Nicolay Valuev. "It's 100% healed," McCline claims.

The fight christens a new ring at Madison Square Garden after the 82-year old previous ring was retired to the International Boxing Hall of Fame, and even that prompted Duva to claim, "Thatís another shitty thing. [Maskaev] is the one who demanded the change in rings and heís not even getting into it."

The fight airs on Showtime at 10:00 PM Eastern and Pacific Saturday, October 6. Tickets are still available at The Madison Square Garden box office and Ticketmaster.

Article posted on 03.10.2007

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