Sharkie’s Machine: McCline Drops Peter Three Times and Still Lost

peter vs mccline07.10.07 - By Frank Gonzalez Jr, Photo by David M Warr / DKP: The last time a Heavyweight got dropped three times in a big fight and won was when Wladimir Klitschko got dropped three times by Sam Peter but still out-boxed Peter and put enough rounds in the bank to win the fight.

Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, Sam Peter (29-1,22 KO’s) gave an exhibition of himself that could become the boxing blueprint for future opponents on how best to beat him. Peter keeps his hands too low on defense and is vulnerable to uppercuts and hooks.

Jameel McCline (38-8-3, 23 KO’s) was the substitute opponent whose credentials include his big size and experience of losing to most of the “quality” Heavyweights he’s fought.

Peter even got to be named the WBC Interim Champion without earning it since Oleg Maskaev (the actual WBC Champ) was hurt in training and couldn’t keep his date with Peter for their fight. Maskaev won the Title from Hasim Rahman, who inherited the title without merit himself when Vitali Klitschko retired.

A REAL Champion is someone that TAKES the titles from all the belt holders and stands alone at the top of the heap as the ONLY fighter with all the titles. When you have four different titleists, you have no champions, just top contenders. But that don’t apply to today’s version of pro boxing.

The amazing thing about boxing is the constant improvised rulings. How does a guy who was ranked #9 get a title shot? Why not the fighter who is ranked #2 or #3? But these days, it’s who promotes you that gets you ranked, not what you earned or whom you fought.

There’s an expression I can’t stand that goes, “It is what it is.” Well, unfortunately, boxing hardly qualifies as a legitimate sport and that is why it remains in the cellar of professional sports these days.


The Fight:

The fight turned out to be exciting for a couple of rounds. The first round belonged to Peter, who was pressing the action and McCline was only pawing with his jab and little else. 10-9 Peter.

While everyone on the planet expected Sam Peter to win by early KO over McCline (who has a reputation for non aggressiveness), it was Mc Cline who put Peter on his butt three times between the second and third rounds. At the end of the second round, after Peter had probably won the round, McCline landed a sneaky right upper cut that put Peter on his backside right at the bell. I scored that a 10-8 round for McCline. Peter was winning the round, but not impressively.

It was unlike what the Showtime crew of Alberts and Bernstein would have you believe, as they flung adjectives around like a Frisbee about how Peter, “dominated” the round before the knockdown. It was annoying to listen to since it was not true. Throughout the fight, McCline showed a good chin and proved quite capable of handling Peter’s power, which was sloppily applied. McCline was in fact, the superior boxer Saturday night. Peter’s defense was poor and it left him open to counter uppercuts all night. McCline caught him and hurt him. 10-8 McCline.

In the third round, Peter was still on shaky legs and McCline took advantage, threw a few more upper cuts and put Peter down twice early in the round. Peter was holding when he wasn’t wobbling about the ring and lucky that McCline punched himself out or he wouldn’t have made it to round four. The great thing about this “sport” is that you never know what can happen, in spite of all the hype and the jabbering of the commentators in favor of, “the house fighter.” 10-7 McCline.

The fourth round is where McCline really proved why he was selected as the opponent as he let Peter off the hook—literally. Because McCline showed no killer instinct, he didn’t press the action enough and allowed Peter to regain his legs. Peter was back to punching aggressively, albeit ineffectively. McCline showed better boxing skills, ring generalship and defense to win the fourth round. McCline landed the better punches, but I can see how some would’ve given that round to Peter, if only for his exhibition of big heart under adverse conditions. 10-9 McCline.

Sam Peter had shaken off the cobwebs by the fifth round since McCline didn’t apply enough pressure in the previous round. Peter won the fifth round because he simply outworked McCline, who looked spent and put forth a lackluster effort. He took a few good shots from Peter in the process. Peter was warned for hitting behind the head, something he continued to do throughout the fight. 10-9 Peter.

I scored the sixth round even because both guys had some good moments but neither excelled past the other. McCline was showing his fatigue, fighting with his mouth wide open. His corner complained to him about this during the break. McCline always looked like a man who suffers from breathing problems. Peter did more work but was less effective and McCline landed the better punches, mostly near the end of the round. 10-10 even.

The seventh round saw both fighters showing fatigue but Peter was busier and McCline was only fighting in spurts. 10-9 Peter.

The eighth round was McCline’s. He landed some good combinations early that hurt Peter, who held a lot. It wasn’t a great round but Jameel did more damage. 10-9 McCline.

Round nine was close. Peter was busier but again, McCline landed the cleaner punches. 10-9 McCline.

Peter showed a sense of urgency in the tenth and fought aggressively, constantly pressing McCline to go backwards. Both were tired but Peter did more to win the round. 10-9 Peter.

In the eleventh round, McCline didn’t do enough and Peter kept up the pace and wailed on McCline right before the bell. The only time Peter actually hurt McCline was when he threw a punch while the referee was breaking up a hold that caught McCline off guard. 10-9 Peter.

The final round saw Peter go for the kill. He was really trying to land a big shot to knock McCline out but he was unable to do so. McCline resorted to holding and rarely threw punches. McCline gave it away…as I expected he would. When the bell rang, Peter raised his arms. McCline didn’t. 10- Peter.

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It took a while for the official Judges’ cards to be read. I was certain with Steve Weisfeld and Julie Lederman among the three Judges that the favorite would win. As the cards were read, it was a Unanimous Decision: Billy Costello had it 115-110, Lederman had it 114-113 and Weisfeld scored it 115-111 all in favor of Sam Peter. .

I had it 114-112 in favor of McCline.

After the decision was announced, McCline turned his back on Jim Grey, who was trying to get his response to the decision. McCline said he could understand losing by a point but that two of the Judges cards were ridiculous. Grey asked if he felt that it was because he let Peter off the hook after the knockdowns and Jameel said, “Yes, I let him off the hook and that’s why he won.” Then he left the ring.

Sam Peter was then interviewed and said things that made me wonder if he was still on Queer Street. He said both his hands were broken and a few other things that made little sense. Maybe it’s his lack of English skills? Or maybe he has been coached to say these types of things. Either way, Peter won because McCline let him off the hook and that is the real story of this fight.

In a way, McCline’s stock goes up. He put Peter down three times and was able to take Peter’s power without much problem. The way he let the fight slip out of his grasp will keep getting him invited to fight more so called Champions who need a win over a guy with a name.

Peter’s stock goes down. Yeah, he won the fight but he showed that he really didn’t improve so much after two fights against the slick defensive master James Toney. Sam Peter needs to go to the gym and work on his defensive skills because if his defense is that porous against the likes of Wladimir Klitschko, he will be knocked out next time. If Oleg Maskaev comes back soon, Peter will be better off fighting him next since Oleg is way slower than Wladimir. But you never know what might happen and I guess that’s why I still find myself following this “sport.”

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Article posted on 08.10.2007

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