Boxing

Klitschko vs Peter: Can "The Nigerian Nightmare" KO Another Ring-Rusty Veteran?

klitschko/Peterby James Slater, photo by Tom Casino / Showtime - The soon-to-be-upon-us Samuel Peter-Vitali Klitschko heavyweight rumble is not expected by many to go the distance. Both men are more or less stationary fighters and it may well come down to who hits who first. One feature that may well make Vitali Klitschko the first to get hit is the amount of ring-rust the 37-year-old will be bringing into the ring with him.

As we know, the elder Klitschko brother has not fought since December of 2004, and will almost certainly be affected by this layoff when he gets in there, mid-ring, with the hard hitting Samuel Peter. To some degree, though Klitschko is a far superior fighter, October 11th's fight may have similarities to the Peter-Oleg Maskaev fight. Maskaev, then the defending WBC champion, was around the same age as Klitschko and, more importantly, also coming into the fight having had a long layoff. "The Big O" hadn't been as inactive as "Dr. Iron Fist" has been, but at 15 months his time out of the ring was no doubt a factor in his losing to Peter..

Timing is everything for a fighter, even up at heavyweight where the big guys don't rely as much on reflexes as the smaller men of the ring, and Vitali, like Oleg before him, might find himself unable to fight as well as he'd hoped against the rampaging 28-year-old due to the physical affects brought on by idleness. Sure, Klitschko is not only a far superior fighter to Maskaev, he is a much bigger and taller man, with a longer reach. As such, even if he does find himself struggling due to rust, he always has the option of sitting back and jabbing away at the smaller Peter. Still, there are, as I've said, some similarities between March 2008's bout and October 2008's.

Klitschko will get hit. As short as Peter's reach may be in comparison (77" for Peter 80" for Klitschko), the defending WBC champ will get inside and bang away. The question is, how much will Klitschko get hit? If he is rusty, seriously so, and his timing and defensive moves are affected to a debilitating degree, Klitschko may well find himself going down. Remember, Peter put the younger and far more active Wladmir Klitschko down, three times. And though they weren't exactly quality punches that sent "Dr. Steel Hammer" reeling, the point is Peter was able to reach his taller opponent.

No-one knows what will happen if and when Peter cracks Vitali Klitschko on the chin or side (or back) of the head the way he did his brother. But because of the 37-year-old's basically stationary style, a style of fighting that figures to be made even more so due to his inactivity, there is a good chance we will find out. Wladimir was able to drag his big body upright on three occasions after tasting some of Peter's power, but he had youth and fight fitness on his side. Vitali may not find it quite so manageable to get back up if he goes to the canvas.

October 11th's showdown is a tough one to pick overall, as the fight may well come down to who lands a bomb first. But considering he's the younger man, the faster man and the more active man; isn't there a pretty fair chance it will be Sam Peter who hits a home run first?

Article posted on 30.09.2008



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