Simms Regains WBA Super Welterweight Title, Peter Wins Explosive Rematch by Clear Decision
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (January 6, 2007) — Photo: TOM CASINO/SHOWTIME - A busier, more precise and determined Samuel Peter showed up to Saturday night’s World Boxing Council (WBC)-mandated heavyweight rematch and that meant trouble for James Toney.
Article posted on 07.01.2007
In a spectacular and brutal battle of big men, Peter and Toney met at Hard Rock Live at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino to determine once and for all the No. 1-ranked, mandatory challenger to WBC Champion Oleg Maskaev. Peter won the unanimous decision by scores of 118-110 twice and 119-108.
In the co-feature, super welterweight Travis Simms regained the World Boxing Association (WBA) title in devastating fashion with a ninth round TKO of Jose Antonio Rivera.
The night was promoted by Duva Boxing, Goossen Tutor Promotions, Warriors Boxing Promotions, and Don King Productions and televised live on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING. A star-studded, capacity crowd filled the Hard Rock Live, a 5,000 seat arena. Among those in attendance were Shaquille O’Neal, model and actress Anna Nicole Smith, wrestling and television star Hulk Hogan, actor Mickey Rourke and professional fighters Bernard Hopkins, Cruiserweight World Champion O’Neil Bell, Glen Johnson, Steve Cunningham and others. In a rare treat, fans in attendance and those watching on SHOWTIME listened as the Star Spangled Banner was performed live by the late James Brown’s band, The Soul Generals.
As with their first match, Peter-Toney 2 featured thunderous exchanges and nearly non-stop action.
In the first round, Peter stunned Toney with an overhand right and the Nigerian followed up with a flurry of punches and caught Toney on the back of the head, drawing an early warning from referee Jorge Alonso.
In the second Peter sent Toney to the canvas with a short jab that landed squarely on the chin of an out-of-balance Toney. It was the first time Toney had been down in nearly 13 years and just the second time in his professional career. It was clear from that point that Peter intended to carve out a clear and decisive victory.
In the middle rounds, Toney seemed to shake off the slow start and began landing patented counter left hands and combinations. But nothing seemed to hurt the bigger and more powerful Peter as he continued to win round after round.
“Sam Peter just can’t be hurt by James Toney,” said Al Bernstein in the telecast.
“Every time we see him, he adds more to his arsenal,” said Steve Albert. “Tonight, Peter has the upper cut and is working the jab very effectively.”
At the final bell, Peter danced in a wide circle in celebration, knowing there was no chance he would be denied the points victory.
The first meeting between Peter and Toney on Sept. 2, 2006 was another action-packed affair that ended in controversial split decision. As a result, the WBC Board of Governors voted 21 to 10 on Sept. 26 in favor of an immediate re-match.
“I fought my best fight and I thank God for this night,” said Peter, who improves to 27-1, 22 KOs. “I trained very hard for four months for this fight. I have never run in my life, but I ran hard for this fight.
“I am not the best in the heavyweight division,” a humble Peter told reporter Jim Gray in the ring. “I am not the best, but I will be. The champions with the belts right now are the best. When I take the belt, I will be the best.”
Toney, who drops to 69-6-3, 43 KOs, said that he’d continue to fight all comers. “I have done what no one has ever done in boxing. With Dan (Goossen, Toney’s promoter), I will be back.”
Rivera, in his first WBA super welterweight title defense, was outclassed by Simms, a swift and strong southpaw.
Both having grown up in New England—Rivera of Worcester, Mass., and Simms of Norwalk, Conn.,—the fighters had known each other from the amateurs but had never met.
Simms was coming off a layoff of more than two years and wasted no time in jumping on the champion.
In the second, Simms rocked Rivera with a powerful straight left hand that bloodied Rivera’s nose and eventually lead to the fight’s first knockdown. When Rivera got up, Simms switched his stance to right-handed in order to utilize his effective left hook as he attempted to finish the fight early. But Rivera showed tremendous heart and weathered a relentless attack.
As the fight wore on, Rivera was troubled by the bloody nose and Simms’ effective movement. Simms utilized distance well and kept the champion, an inside fighter, at bay.
In the ninth, another solid left from Simms caught Rivera flush and he went down for the second time. When Rivera got up, referee Frank Santore, Jr., warned him that he’d have to fight or it would be over.
Rivera subsequently absorbed five or six punishing blows to the head and Santore stopped the contest at 2:00 of the round.
“I knew he was tough,” said Simms. “We have a history from the amateur days. I relied on my speed and, tonight, that left hook just came to me.”
Through eight rounds, the three judges collectively gave just one round to Rivera.
“I persevered,” said Simms of his long layoff. “I stayed in the gym, worked hard. I was determined. Don’t ever doubt my determination.
“I am looking at the top guys now,” said Simms, who at 35 years old is 25-0, 19 KOs. “Mayweather, De La Hoya, Spinks.”
The 33-year-old Rivera drops to 38-5-1, 24 KOs and will return to his ‘day job’ as a court officer for Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
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