Finally, Peter Vs. Klitschko: Heavyweights Risk All

By Francis Walker
Updated: September 6, 2005

NEW YORK — A heavyweight fight no one thought could happen will occur. Wladimir Klitschko, the brother of WBC heavyweight champion, Vitali Klitschko, will meet undefeated Nigerian knockout artist, Sam Peter in a 12-round IBF/WBO heavyweight title eliminator.

The bout will occur on Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ on Saturday, Sept. 24. The winner will be the newly ranked IBF/WBO No. 1 contender.

“It’s a very significant heavyweight fight of the year,” said Dino Duva, CEO of Duva Boxing. “It’s the best pure match up of heavyweights all year.”

Klitschko (44-3, 40 KOs) vs. Peter (24-0, 21 KOs) is about between two relatively huge punchers fighting for a chance at winning a heavyweight championship. Klitschko, at 6’ 7,” 245 pounds is more experienced than the younger Peter.

Klitschko’s resume is better, as he has a victory over current IBF heavyweight champion, Chris Byrd and has knocked out former heavyweight title contenders Frans Botha (KO 8), Ray Mercer (TKO 6), Monte Barrett (KO 7), and Jameel McCline (TKO 10).

Despite Klitschko having a more impressive resume against more experienced fighters, and has a well-sculpted 6’ 7,” 245-pound physique, Duva, Peter’s boxing promoter, is unfazed and has plenty of confidence in his fighter.

“His resume is more polished,” Duva said of Klitschko’s experience. “But its not always a factor. Not many people in the world have Klitschko’s size or power. Sam has fought and sparred against guys just as big and strong.”

“It doesn’t matter,” Duva said. “When Sam catches up to him, sooner or later it’s over.”

Although Klitschko has tremendous size, power, and a good record, he has suffered a knockout loss in each of the past two years.

Wladimir blew a multi-million dollar heavyweight fight against Lennox Lewis when Klitschko was knocked out by a 37-year-old southpaw, Corrie Sanders (TKO 3) in 2003. In an attempt to win the WBO heavyweight title, Wladimir was KO’d by Lamon Brewster (KO 5) in 2004.

“Sam Peter is only 24, still young by heavyweight standards,” added Duva, considering that guys like Evander Holyield (42), Lennox Lewis (39), and Mike Tyson (39) fought past the age of 37.

The level of the quality of opposition for Peter has been questioned on many occasions, but a victory against Klitschko would perhaps silence critics and open a door toward winning a world heavyweight championship.

Inactivity Plagues Klitschko, Byrd, and Ruiz

Klitschko and Byrd has not fought in more than 10 months and Ruiz, who fought once in April, lost the WBA title to James Toney, who was stripped after testing positive for steroids. Hasim Rahman recently defeated his goof friend Monte Barrett to win the “interim” WBC crown and has a November 12 date against Vitali.

Klitschko, in the 14 months as the WBC champion, has only one defense was a lopsided encounter against an undeserving Danny Williams, who knocked out a faded Mike Tyson in July 2004. Klitschko dominated Williams, who did not have the strength or the skills to make the bout an interesting contest.

Byrd, the longest reigning heavyweight champion at 32 months, has made only three title defenses of the IBF heavyweight title. Since his decisive 12-round decision over four-time heavyweight champion, Evander Holyfield in Dec. 2002, each of Byrd has struggled in each defense.

Byrd’s first defense did not occur until September 2003 when he struggled against Fres Oquendo in his first defense. In 2004, Byrd nearly lost the IBF title to Andrew Golota but the bout was ruled a draw. Last November, Byrd was nearly KO’d in the second round by Jameel McCline. McCline out-weighed Byrd by at least 50 pounds and was 6-inches taller than the champion. Byrd needed to win the final seven rounds to win a close, razor thin majority decision over McCline, who has since struggled to return to the top-10.

Ruiz, the first Latino to win a piece of the world heavyweight championship, began his second reign in Dec. 2003 by capturing the WBA crown. In Nov. 2004, Ruiz tasted the canvas twice but ended up winning a 12-round unanimous decision over Golota.

In his only fight in 2005, Ruiz lost the WBA heavyweight title to James Toney, who was stripped of the title after testing positive for steroid use. The result was changed to a no-contest, as Ruiz retained the WBA title.

By the time 2006 rolls around, Klitschko, Byrd, or Ruiz may no longer be champion.

The WBA has ordered a 12-round heavyweight title elimination bout between Larry Donald (42-3-3, 24 KOs) and undefeated Russian contender, Nikolay Valuev (41-0, 31 KOs) in October. The winner will be the newly ranked No. l contender for Ruiz’ WBA title.

Should Peter defeat Wladimir, he would have earned the IBF/WBO No. 1 rank. Byrd (38-2-1, 20 KOs) has a defense against No. 3 contender, Davarryl Williamson (22-3, 18KOs) sometime in the fall, while Brewster (32-2, 28KOs), the WBO champ, is scheduled to meet mandatory challenger, Luan Krasniqi (28-1-1, 14 KOs) on September 28, in Germany.

Oscar De La Hoya To Return in ’06?

There is discussion of an Oscar De La Hoya return to the junior middleweight division in May during the “Cinco de Mayo” celebration weekend. De La Hoya could meet Fernando Vargas in a rematch form their ferocious September 2002 battle. De La Hoya stopped Vargas in the eleventh round.

De La Hoya could also challenge hard-hitting, trash-talking, beer drinking, and cigarette smoking Ricardo Mayorga, a former WBA/IBF welterweight champion, who just defeated Michelle Piccirillo to win the vacant WBC 154-pound championship.