Peter Maskaev: Updated Breakdown

samuel peter17.10.07 - By Ted Sares: The two win Sam Peter got over James Toney set him up to face newly crowned World Boxing Council Champion Oleg Maskaev for the Title. But it was not to be. Instead, Peter fought Jameel McCline and was lucky to escape with a decision. Once again, he is set to fight Oleg on February 8, 2008.

Peter upped his overall game against Toney. His technique was better, his ability to counter Toney's left hooks was splendid, and his stamina at 257 pounds was remarkable. However, his stock has fallen badly as a result of being put on Queer Street in round three by McCline.

Maskaev is coming off a solid TKO win over Hasim Rahman in which he surprised by taking the Rock's bombs without noticeable effect. He just kept coming forward until he prevailed. But that was in August 2006. Since then, he has suffered an injury that may affect his game plan.

Let's break it down.

Experience: Maskaev is an experienced and seasoned professional with 38 fights and his record stands at 35-5 with 26 KOís. Peter has fought 29 times and has won 28. Oleg is the more experienced with more quality rounds and more fights under his belt. During the amateurs, he joined the Russian Amateur Boxing Team and became a National Champion. In a battle of Russian amateur stars, he reportedly stopped the great Vitali Klitschko in the 1st round. For his part, Peter won 18 of 20 amateur fights.

The overall experience nod goes to Maskaev, though Peter has closed the gap. The Nigerian Nightmare is getting some quality rounds under his ample belt and has gone the distance in five of his last six fights, but therein lies the rub. Much of his much vaunted power has now become suspect and this may well be the single most revealing factor coming into this fight.

Quality of Opposition: Oleg Maskaev has fought Rahman twice, David Tua, Kirk Johnson, Derrick Jefferson, Sinan Sam, David Defiagbon, Oliver McCall, Alex Stewart, and many other tough opponents. Samuel Peter, on the other hand, has fought Wladimir Klitschko, James Toney twice and Jameel McCline. Prior to the Toney fights, he KO'd limited Julius Long in one round. Charles Shufford Jr, Taurus Sykes and Jeremy Williams (whom he beat for the vacant NABF Heavyweight Title) have been decent opponents. The Nightmare was extended to the round limit by both Shufford and more recently Robert Hawkins. Interestingly, Maskaev KO'd Hawkins in 4 rounds 1995. The edge to Oleg.

Boxerís IQ: Maskaev's is good, Peter's is getting better. While Peter still has a

tendency to get frustrated and uses clubbing, back-of-the-head shots (which can get him disqualified), these are shortcoming that he has improved on. Being able to hold his own with James Toney twice is impressive. However, Samuel still needs to polish his offensive and defensive fundamentals. Oleg gets the edge here, but again the gap has closed.

Conditioning: Not as important a factor as in the Toney vs. Peter fight. Peter carried 257 pounds for 12 competitive rounds against Toney and 250 pounds against Jameel and still threw punches with bad intentions at the end. As he demonstrated against Rahman, Oleg can go the distance as well. Given the question mark around Maskaevís injury, this one is a wash.

Chin: Peter's chin has lost its granite reputation. Maskaev's is questionable which was evident in his knockout losses to McCall, Tua, Johnson, feather-fisted Lance Whitaker and Corey T-Rex Sanders. Prior to the McCline fight, Peter would have had a compelling advantage in this important category. Now, itís a thin one.

Power: Oleg is known for a having a powerful punch. Sure, Peter can send someone to dreamland ala Jeremy Williams but the Russian is not Williams. Both have late round power. Unlike Toney, Maskaev has the power to hurt and deck the Nightmare. But unlike Rahman, if Peter lands flush on Oleg, things could end right there and then. After all is said and done, this might boil down to two suspicious chins vs. a now suspicious puncher. Peter has never been concussed; Oleg has. This one is a wash with a imperceptible lean towards Peter.

Intangibles: Has Oleg recovered from his training camp injury? Has Peter recovered from his near disaster against Jameel McCline? Was there any truth to his claims that his hands were hurt? Will the opportunity to become the first non-interim Nigerian Heavyweight Champion of the World provide incentive for Peter to take his game to a new level? If Oleg hurts Sam, can he close the show given Peterís demonstrated ability to survive? Has Peter been exposed?

There it is. Who do you think will prevail?

Article posted on 17.10.2007

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