Peter vs. Maskaev: The Breakdown
04.09.06 - By Ted Sares: The controversial win Sam Peter got over James Toney sets him up to face newly crowned WBC Champion Oleg Maskaev for the Title. This will be an interesting fight to say the least. Even though Peter won a "controversial" decision, what is not controversial is that he upped his overall game. His technique was much better, his ability to counter Toney's left hooks was splendid, and his stamina at 257 pounds was remarkable, arguably better than Toney's. Of all the likely outcomes (Toney by decision or Peter by ko), the one that occurred was a surprise.....maybe even to Samuel.....but the decision is in the books and it's time to move on.
Article posted on 05.09.2006
Oleg Maskaev is coming off a solid TKO win over Hasim Rahman in which he, too, surprised by taking the Rock's bombs without noticeable effect. He just kept coming forward until he prevailed.
Let's break down the fighters, but this time I'll spare the prediction given the strange decisions I have been witnessing of late......ones that are enough to make a grown handicapper cry.
EXPERIENCE: Maskaev is an experienced and seasoned professional who is now a world champion. He has had 38 fights and his record stands at 33 (26-ko's)-5. Peter has fought 28 times and has won 27, 22 coming by ko. Oleg is the more experienced man with more quality rounds and more fights under his belt, but Peter is beginning to catch up getting some quality rounds under his more ample belt as well.
During the amateurs, Maskaev joined the Russian Amateur Boxing Team and became a National Amateur Champion. In a battle of Russian amateur stars, he stopped the great Vitali Klitschko in the 1st round. For his part, Peter won 18 of 20 amateur fights.
The overall experience nod to Maskaev, but Peter is closing the gap in this category.
QUALITY OF OPPOSITION: Oleg Maskaev has fought Rahman twice, Tua, Johnson, Derrick Jefferson, Sinan Sam, David Defiagbon, Oliver McCall, Alex Stewart, and many other tough opponents. Samuel Peter, on the other hand, has fought Wladimir Klitschko and James Toney but then it deteriorates quickly. Prior to the Toney fight, he ko'd limited Julius Long in one round. Charles Shufford Jr, Taurus Sykes and Jeremy Williams (whom he beat for the vacant NABF Heavyweight Title) have been decent opponents. Indeed, "The Nigerian Nightmare"sent Williams, 41-5, to sleep and into retirement with a scary left hook but he also was extended to the round limit by Shufford and, more recently, by Robert Hawkins. Curiously, Maskaev ko'd Hawkins in 4 rounds 1995. Edge to Oleg here as well.
BOXER'S IQ: Maskaev's is decent, Peter's is getting better. While Peter still is a bit amateurish with his tendency to get frustrated and clubbing over- the-head shots (which can get him disqualified), these are shortcoming that can be corrected before his next fight. Being able to hold his own with the likes of a boxing professor like James Toney speaks volumes. However, Samuel still needs a simonize job on his offensive and defensive fundamentals. Oleg gets the edge here, but again the gap is being closed by the "Nightmare".
CONDITIONING: Not as important a factor as in the Toney vs. Peter fight. Samuel carried 257 pounds for 12 competitive rounds and still threw decent punches with bad intentions at the end. Oleg can go the distance as well as he demonstrated in the Rahman fight. This one is a wash.
CHIN: Peter's is like granite; Maskaev's is highly questionable and that was plainly evident in his knockout losses to McCall, Tua, Johnson, Whitaker and Corey Sanders. Peter has a strong, if not compelling advantage in this important category.
POWER: Oleg is known for a powerful punch, but Peter's has more pop. His awesome power can make everything academic with one hook ala Jeremy Williams or one right down the pipe. And both have late round power. Finally, unlike James Toney, Maskaev may have the power to hurt the young Nigerian. But unlike Rahman, if Peter lands flush on Oleg, things could end right there and then. After all is said and done, this might boil down to a suspicious chin vs. a non-suspicious punch. Peter with the clear edge here.
INTANGIBLES: Has Oleg regrouped after being concussed in the Kirk Johnson fight? Can he fight to a new level now that he is a world heavyweight champion? Will the opportunity to become the first Nigerian Heavyweight Champion of the World provide incentive for Peter to take his game to a new level?
There it is, but this time you decide whom you think will prevail, and hopefully this analysis will help you make the correct decision.
Ted Sares is a syndicated writer who can be reached at email@example.com
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