Samuel Peter - Why Is He so Disliked By Fans?

Samuel PeterBy Oliver Taplin: In the past week ever since Samuel Peter (30-1, 23 KOs) defeated Oleg Maskaev to win the WBC heavyweight title, it's been almost impossible to read a thread in the forum or the front page of ESB that involves Peter that doesn't contain refer to him in negative terms. It seems rather peculiar given his immense talent and all what he's achieved in the past two years.

Whether people like it or not, he arguably is the most exciting heavyweight in the division by far at this point in time. That may change with David Haye moving over to the heavyweight division in the near future, but as of now, Peter equals excitement no matter whom he's fighting. What I don't understand, however, is how come he doesn't seem to get credit for it with the fans?

Come on, look what he's done; He's destroyed Jermy Williams in two rounds, defeated James Toney twice, got off the deck three times to rally to defeat Jameel McCline and then to top it off, he stops Oleg Maskaev in six rounds last Saturday night to win the WBC title. Oh, I almost forgot what was perhaps his most exciting fight, his bout against Wladimir Klitschko, whom he knocked down three times and came very close to pulling off a huge upset of the Ukrainian star.

For all that, you'd think that Peter, 27, would get some credit and perhaps win over some fans with his excellent work in the ring. But, unfortunately he hasn't. In the past year alone, I rarely read any good comments from fans about Peter, and I don't quite understand what the disconnect is. Maybe it's his lack of good English skills, or his tendency to act a little defensive when giving interviews.

He sometimes fails to answer questions given to him, even when they're repeated twice to him. However, I see that as a communication problem due to his inability to understand some of the questions asked of him rather than a him choosing to be stubborn and difficult with the interviewer. Some of the other problems I see that may be effecting his public image seem to relate to him being compared to Mike Tyson, who Peter's power is sometimes mentioned as being almost identical to.

That's not a reason to dislike Peter, whether he is as powerful or a knockout artist or isn't. The fact remains that he does have crushing power, but it's not something that can be measured well against Tyson because he doesn't have the same blinding speed that Tyson possessed in his prime. Regardless, though Peter hits almost as hard as Tyson and whatever difference there is, it would be perhaps negligible. Think of it this way, Tyson hits with speed and power, whereas Peter hits with just power alone. It doesn't matter that he isn't fast, his power is so good that whenever he lands flush, it's going to hurt and possibly result in a knockdown.

Another reason that I believe that Peter receives so much criticism is his tendency to throw punches that invariably land to the back of the the head's of his opponents. From watching him, he never intentionally appears to be aiming for the back of his opponents' head, but that it sometimes happens because of his extra wide shots, some of which arc around to the back of the head. It's a style I'm almost certain he learned early on in life due to his lack of early training in the best environments.

That said, some of his opponents, Wladimir Klitschko, for example, seem to turn their heads to the side when Peter would throw a punch. This would result in the punch landing to the back of the head through no fault of Peter's own. If you watch Peter's bouts with Maskaev and Klitschko, both of them repeatedly turned their heads when Peter would throw a shot, making it almost impossible for the punch to land without hitting the back of the head.

As you can see, Peter gets a lot of negative feedback from fans and writers alike for no particularly good reason. He seems to be not well understood by a lot of fans, who either compare him to Tyson or some other heavyweight of the past, or dislike him for other reasons I've mentioned earlier. It's not fair to Peter, considering that he's easily been the most exciting heavyweight in the past three years. Even with David Haye about to move up, I don't see him being able to entertain like Peter. In a head to head matchup, Haye would likely get steamrollered by Peter or one of the Klitschko brothers within three or four rounds.

Article posted on 14.03.2008

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