Toney-Peter: Samuel Peter is one dangerous fighter!

02.09.06 - By Izyaslav “Slava” Koza: Hours before tonight’s showdown between James Toney and Samuel Peter, I got the bug to write a discussion piece regarding this bout. My inspiration was based on something said by Freddie Roach, who as many of you know, I think is the best trainer in all of boxing. Speaking of Samuel Peter, Roach said, “Peter’s best shot is a wide right to the back of the head,” and honestly the guy is right as usual.

Samuel Peter has hit his opponents on the back of the head more times then I can count in the many times I have seen him in the ring. Off the top of my head, I had seen this in the Wlad, and Diaz fights, which were two of the more high profile ones but also in his stoppage win over the Brazillian punching bag, Jose Da Silva, who rightfully complained at the blows, which the ref deemed legal and thereby stopped that bout.

I don’t know if Peter throwing those illegal blows is intentional or merely based on him not throwing caution to the wind and just swinging for something, but it’s a key issue in this bout. Many fans know that part of James Toney’s defense is ducking and slipping punches, at times exposing the back of his head, which other fighters are often reluctant to try and hit since they are weary of the rules.

In fact, most good defensive fighters employ a tactic similar to this when they fight because they know the opponent won’t try to hit that area and if they will the ref could take a point from them. Recently guys like Oleg Maskaev and Dimitri Kirillov did something similar to this in their bouts, and it worked fairly well. However they were not fighting a guy in Samuel Peter, who does not pay attention to the safety of the opponent.

Really, most of you guys know how I feel about the idea of fouling in boxing but I will restate my position. While I can and do recognize fouls of this nature, and can understand why the fighter is penalized or warned, boxing is not a square dancing competition. Boxing is a contact sport and in fact doing whatever is fair or unfair to win means the fighter is not looking to make excuses after the bout.

In that sense, while I will criticize a fighter for doing it, I will also praise them if they get away with it and win. One need only look at the # of fouls Bernard Hopkins, and Ricky Hatton got away with to realize that a smart and great fighter will try anything to win, and those are only modern fighters, the old timers did it even more often. Samuel Peter should not cry foul if he gets Disqualified on an illegal blow to the back of the head, but we shouldn’t cry if gets away with it, either. The other guy has just as much opportunity to retaliate and so it even’s the playing field. Need I remind everyone how Norwood Gainer ended?

With that said, I feel the final decision will rest with the referee, Raul Caiz Jr., who will be put on the spot when it comes to making the call. I fully expect the Toney team to be vocal about this in the pre fight instructions (as well they should be), just to make the referee aware of what is going on. At the same time James Toney should be ready to retaliate if the referee is not doing his job. However the problem here is Toney for all his talking is a very clean fighter usually so that might give Peter a substantial edge in terms of the options he has.

As far as the fight is concerned, I feel the bottom line will come down to, as surprising as it seems, to conditioning. Although both guys are obviously lacking in this department I feel Peter is even worse off this time around. Even if he is younger, this is the highest weight of his career, and he didn’t look great against Hawkins or Wlad at the lesser weights either.

This weight suggests that not only did he not prepare adequately but that he didn’t do anything additional to prepare for Toney, which quite frankly seems foolhardy. Toney, for his part, while not significantly smaller than in his lackluster bout with Rahman, does show signs of actually training a bit and dropping just a smidge of weight which should help. Really, it's not just a matter of weight but rather, that Toney looks in better shape than for Rahman and seems as if he did SOME (although obviously not nearly enough) work in the gym. I feel that will be his key to victory when both men get tired down the stretch. I will be extremely shocked if this ends early, unless its based on rabbit punch, and so considering what happens going down the stretch, I feel Toney fights better when tired, and this will help him prevail on the cards in the end.

Enjoy the fight and look for Nikolai Valuev who should be in the crowd!

Article posted on 03.09.2006

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