Will Samuel Peter be able to restart his career against Nagy Aguilera?

Bill Patrice Jones - In just three weeks time now the former WBC heavyweight champion Samuel Peter (33(26)-3) will climb through the ropes in his first meaningful contest since being decisioned by Eddie Chambers (who faces Wladimir Klitschko later in the month). Facing him will be upset merchant Nagy Aguilera (15(10)-2) , a little known heavyweight who stunned former titleholder Oleg Maskaev inside one round in his last bout. The fight has been billed as an IBF eliminator with the winner being poised for either a meeting with Alexander Povetkin or the winner of Klitschko chambers. This will actually shape up to be an intriguing heavyweight clash and one that it is hard to predict. One thing is certain: Samuel Peterís future as a serious contender hangs precariously in the balance, with anything short of a stoppage/lopsided win for the Nigerian signalling the end of his tenure as a big name fighter..

This may prove to be a much tougher tussle than it looks on paper for Peter. For starters Aguilera is no pushover whatsoever. Though few gave him a chance against former champion Maskaev, the New York based fighter showed speed, power and accuracy in putting the big O down and out. This author sympathises with Aguileraís view that he received little credit for such a stunning win. Maskaev had been poised for a comeback following his title loss to Peter in 2006. The detractors were quick to call Maskaev a shot fighter but the truth is he had been past his best for a while anyway and was up to that point recording important wins. Aguilera has two losses on his record. Yet if you look closely you see one was a disqualification and the other a very close decision in a tough fight against Darrell Madison. He has yet to be stopped. Looking at tape of Aguilera you see a heavyweight who although small for this era, one who possesses decent power, good footwork and nice movement. He must also be on a huge high following his last win. He has accepted this fight with the true belief in his own ability to soundly outbox the big punching Nigerian.

Samuel Peter is on the comeback trail. The former Olympian who exploded onto the scene with 21 knockouts in 23 wins was halted in his title charge by Wladimir Klitschko who out pointed him in a thrilling 12 round fight in 2005. It is worth remembering that an in shape Peter was the last fighter to truly trouble Wladimir Klitschko in a fight. If he was able to prove himself capable of almost scoring a stoppage win over the intelligent champion, then that alone should remind people of his potential. He developed a well documented set of conditioning problems post Klitschko, but still managed to go on a six fight winning streak which culminated in a knockout over Maskaev for the WBC belt. It has to be noted however that only two of those wins (Julius Long, Oleg Maskaev) were by stoppage. Peterís much vaunted power seemed to be in question.

For a long time Peterís shocking conditioning and appalling lack of effort for his WBC defence against Vitali Klitschko were a mystery. Here was an opportunity for Peter to make a name for himself worldwide and yet in the toughest fight of his life he turned up 15 pounds overweight and fought with no commitment. For his trouble the outstanding Vitali gave Peter a vicious systematic beating over 8 horribly one sided rounds. It looked like it might be a case of one humiliating bout ending a fighterís career. Jim Jefferies suffered a similar fate against Jack Johnson as did Tommy Burns. When Samuel wobbled around the ring for 10 dismal rounds in a losing effort against Eddie Chambers in his next fight it looked as though it were true.

More recently information has surfaced regarding Peterís troubling times leading up to the Vitali bout which have shed light on the matter. It has been revealed that he took the fight for a handsome purse of 4 million dollars. Yet in the build-up there was a massive dispute between Dino Duva, Don King and Peter regarding that purse. The Peter camp literally fell apart at the seams with his long term manager being forced to quit following a series of legal problems. Peter had trouble in training and his preparation suffered. The Klitschko disaster forced Duva out of boxing and saw Peter sue Don King in court for over 1 million dollars in withheld royalties.

Peter has now signed with Top Rank and although only faced three journeyman (Marcus McGhee, Ronald Bellamy and Gabe Brown) has shown the encouraging sign of getting down to a solid 240 pounds again.

Though Peterís refocus and weight loss is very encouraging, anyone who saw his last three fights will still has severe reservations. It may be that Peter was looking to get rounds in the bank, or it may be that he has lost his fire. The fight against Aguilera is the first real test for Peter since signing with top rank. If he fails to win convincingly against a smaller foe then it will prove he is no longer a factor following Vitali. For a long-time the excuse from Peter fans has been his lack of conditioning, against Aguilera we will see what a 235-240 Peter is still made of. It could be that he steamrolls Aguilera and looks back to his old ways, or he could find himself out boxed by a younger, hungrier opponent.

In the hope that Peter has recaptured his form, this author predicts an impressive stoppage win for the former champion. Yet let it be known that serious doubts linger.

We will find out just what Peter has left on March 13th.

Article posted on 01.03.2010

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