Dawson-Tarver, Peter-Klitschko: Keys To Victory and Fight Predictions

klitschko peter11.10.08 - By Vivek Wallace: Between tonight and December 6th, the world of boxing will gradually escalate to high levels as fight fans prepare to see a Fall season to remember. With everyone from Pacquiao and De La Hoya, to Pavlik and Hopkins, to Jones and Calzaghe, nearly every headlining talent in the sport will be on display.

Serving as the opening act, tonight Showtime presents a twin headliner that strays away from the action packed lower weight classes, instead opening a fresh can of heavyweight and light heavyweight action. In a pre-recorded showdown from Germany, fight fans will first see the return of Ukranian great Vitaly Klitschko (35-2, 34KO's), as he get set to square off against WBC heavyweight champion Samuel 'Nigerian Nightmare' Peter (30-1, 23KO's). In the evenings headlining event - taking place in the light heavyweight division - fight fans will see a showdown between a man many view as the future of the light heavyweight division, "Bad" Chad Dawson (26-0, 17KO's), and the weight classes current IBO/IBF champ, Antonio 'Magic Man' Tarver (27-4, 19KO's)..

Who walks away victorious when it's all said and done remains a question mark, but in an effort to sort it all out, we take a look at individual keys to victory and predictions:

SAMUEL PETER - (KEYS TO VICTORY): For Samuel Peter, this whole fight relies heavily on conditioning and focus. We've all seen Peter at his best (Peter/Toney II), but trouble is, we've also seen him at his worst (Peter/McCline). In the James Toney sequel he came out with a blind ambition that wouldn't allow him to see anything but a victory in a supreme fashion as he did everything fundamentally right. He shot the jab, he grouped his shots, he used good footwork, he was patient, and he executed his plan. Against McCline, we saw Peter winded very early, very sloppy, and somewhat aloof as he failed to do nearly anything the way it was drawn up in his fight camp leading up to the fight. Granted, we don't know which Vitaly is gonna show up tonight, but if it's the one that we saw a few years ago against Lennox Lewis, the last thing Peter could afford to do is come into the ring lacking focus and stamina. There are tons of things he will need to do overall, but those two are paramount and will ultimately decide this fight. Aside from that, Peter needs to go with what got him here.....The 'Peter Basics'....Heavy pressure, lots of power, and an attitude that won't allow him to get caught up in the magnitude of his opponent by showing too much respect to mount his type of attack. If Peter can do these things, there's no doubt in my mind that he walks out of the ring a winner tonight.

VITALI KLITSCHKO - (KEYS TO VICTORY): For Vitali, things won't be so simple. Coming off of a severe and once thought to be career threatening injury, Klitschko will basically have to go back to the 'lab' and start from square one. The biggest challenge for Klitschko coming into this fight will be the mental game. If his psychology isn't on par, it won't be a long night. His whole evening - and in effect his comeback all together - will be totally mental and it all starts tonight. Due to the heavy nerves he's bound to have after not stepping into the ring in a few years, he'll need to come to the ring very warm to nullify the odds getting caught cold in a Kimbo Slice type charade. If he comes into the ring cold and unprepared for what could be an intense fight from the start, it could end as quick as it begins. Many have come to love the ability of Wladimir Klitschko, and as odd as it may sound, I've always found Vitali to be the better fundamental fighter of the two, so executing his plan isn't expecte to be an issue. I think Vitali will need to keep his jab pumping to create some space and stop the Peter patented onslaught. He will also need to establish his power early to gain Peters respect and stop him from utilizing the great 'ambush' plan. One final thing Klitschko will need to do is remain patient and unflappable. If he wilts under pressure or doesn't regain his ring confidence quickly, once again, it could be an early night.

PREDICTION: (PETER - LATE FIGHT STOPPAGE) ----- This is a tough prediction because I really think that all things remaining equal, Klitschko wins this fight, easily. That being said, I just don't know how Vitali will respond to the ring after such a layoff and I think he will eventually get caught and won't respond too well for the remainder of the fight.

CHAD DAWSON - (KEYS TO VICTORY): For Chad Dawson, this could be a very tricky fight. He's been in against a great warrior like Glen Johnson, but Tarver is a different type of fighter. Far less orthodox. Johnson came straight at Dawson and that was a tough adjustment on the fly for Dawson, but Tarver will sit back and pick his spots more carefully, but much more intellectually as well. With Johnson, Dawson knew when they were coming because they never seemed to stop. With Tarver, it could very well be the one Dawson doesn't see coming that he may later end up wishing he had. Dawson will need to be patient and pick his spots. At age 39, needless to say, Tarver won't be running on all cylinders for too long during the fight. In an odd strategy of sorts, I think Dawson needs to pick his spots wisely and let Tarver play the role of the aggressor - Dawson the role of the counter puncher - to let Tarver wear himself down a bit. Dawson has the speed to connect at will, and the heart to gut it out if Tarver goes gorilla-style in spurts; so Dawson should let him get tired and start to break him down somewhere beyond round 8. Aside from this, Dawson just needs to be mentally prepared for this big stage, and come ready to execute his skillset like he always has in the past.

ANTONIO TARVER - (KEYS TO VICTORY): For Antonio Tarver, this fight could become a very easy one if he enters the rings knowing his limitations and working around them. Tarver will need to refrain from exhausting too much energy early on, and basically look to play the counter puncher some by just letting the fight come to him. I think that's a winning combination for him, but as odd as it sounds, it may work against him as well if he does it to the extent in which he finds himself down on the cards late. He'll need to operate smooth and precise by countering and being aggressive in spurts, doing just enough of both to win rounds yet not fatigue himself. Tarver has been at this much longer so ring knowledge is on his side. Tarver has often chided Hopkins for his slow, methodical approach, but despite the loss to Calzaghe, Hopkins is one of the few in the sport wise enough to have total command of when to put a foot on the gas, and when to occassionally hit the breaks. At age 39, if Tarver has never learned that ploy, there's no better time than the present. Tarver will need to get Dawsons respect early by banging him to the body and making him feel his power early. Methodical execution is Tarver's only shot at a victory. His speed simply isn't sufficient enough to keep pace with Dawson, so winning on points isn't very likely. Tarver will need to get Dawson hurt and hope that he can pull the curtains.

PREDICTION: (DAWSON BY UNANIMOUS DECISION) --------- Barring anything wild and wicked, in the end, I just think that Dawson will have too much speed and heart to lose to Tarver. Tarver is more than equipped to win and I actually like his experince as a major X-factor in this fight, but I just haven't seen that old Tarver as of late. Johnson gave Dawson all he could handle and although it was close, Dawson eeked out the decision, despite being hurt numerous times. Tarver won't bring the pain that way, and his speed - although decent - isn't gonna be good enough or consistent enough to win a decision. Tarver simply hasn't looked himself since the Hopkins debacle. He's defeated a few fighters, but the level of competition hasn't been the same, and there's a side of me that thinks he's gonna realize that as the fight progresses.

All in all it should be a great night of action and despite this being the opening act, if you stay tuned you're bound to see someone close the show!

(Got Questions or Feedback?): Contact ESB's Vivek Wallace at and 954-292-7346, or show some love at

Article posted on 11.10.2008

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