Samuel Peter-James Toney: Peter In Total Command Becomes A Boxer

06.01.07 - By Wray Edwards: Photo: TOM CASINO/SHOWTIME - James Toney (WBC #2), in a post fight interview with Showtime's Jim Gray was having great difficulty connecting with reality. His protest that he had won the fight was remarkably lame. Samuel Peter (WBC #1), having made the most of his training with Pops Anderson and sparring with Eliseo Castillo, dominated Toney in ten of the twelve rounds they fought in a WBC title eliminator. Gone are the days when Peter lurched around the ring looking to throw home-run KO punches like the one that slaughtered Jeremy Williams back in '04..

Peter/ToneyFrom round one it was obvious that Sam had greatly expanded his ability to fight tall, use classical skills and come to the ring leaner and in much better condition than ever before. Toney was unable to build any momentum as a result of Peter's numerous, accurate left jabs which kept Toney out of range. James' five inch reach deficit was thus amplified to the point that his only option was to lunge in risking counters which came in bunches.

The pattern of the rounds had Peter controlling the time and place of most of the action. Unable to make progress in the center of the ring, Toney often invited Sam to the ropes where James hoped to make effective stands. Instead Peter began to flurry at the bobbing and weaving Toney. James' habit of bending half down at the waist and often turning away was IMO the primary cause of the three or four incidents where Peter hit him in the back of the head.

So what's Peter supposed to do when James bends clear over…step back and say, "Gee I didn't know you needed a rest…take your time bud"? Many times Toney had his head down near Peter's belt during his duck-and-cover antics. Hopefully he was just trying to avoid getting hit or…naw, that would be TMI. New Rule: If a guy turns his back on his opponent or bends over like that, he should be warned and lose points just as for any other inappropriate actions.

I scored the fight (Peter's score first) 10/9, 10/8 (20/17), 10/10 (30/27), 10/9 (40/36), 10/9 (50/45), 10/9 (60/54), 10/9 (70/63), 10/9 (80/72), 9/10 (89/82), 10/9 (99/91), 10/9 (109/100), 10/9 (119/109). Toney was caught with a light left in Round Two which, added to his being a bit off balance, caused him to sit down before the end of the round (10/8). James did just enough to carry Round Nine.

The fight demonstrated that Peter's better punches visibly staggered James. Toney's best punches were ineffective against Sam and, more often than not, resulted in Peter unleashing clusters of counters which drove James back. About half way through the fight a pattern developed in which, during the last fifteen or twenty seconds, both fighters tried to steal the round. Samuel won most of these punch-cluster episodes.

At one point Samuel showboated a bit in a mimic of Toney reeling back. He also briefly took a page from Toney's book when, near the ropes with Toney boring in, he bent low and swept under and out of range. It was obvious he was saying, "I'm even better at that than you are." He did do it pretty well.

Toney, throughout the fight, seemed unsteady on his feet, and a bit off-balance when he stepped back or was bumped back by Samuel's much improved work rate. He even, at times, appeared almost unsure if he even wanted to steady up and stand in. He almost looked half-hearted when standing flat-footed and disengaged.

It was a pretty good fight, but the outcome was obvious from Round Five to the end. Peter is improving as a boxer and might even benefit from dropping another eight or ten pounds. This might help his speed which will be necessary for belt-holding in the next five years. There are some really quick hands in the pipe.

Roman Greenberg, Mike Marrone, Klitschko, and others have quick mitts and Sam will need the same with them. No doubt he's got a good chin and should be able to best Maskaev and Briggs. Ibragimov may have something to say about that. See you at the fights.

Article posted on 07.01.2007

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