Toney Vs. Peters: What to Watch For

By Tom Donelson
Updated: August 15, 2006

NEW YORK — The upcoming James Toney vs. Samuel Peter fight has the feel of the Chris Byrd-Ike Ibeabuchi bout nearly decade ago. That bout featured an up and coming Nigerian fighter vs. a slick American boxer. Byrd’s quickness versus Ibeabuchi’s power and in that fight, power overcame the quickness.

Toney is the master boxer and is the kind of fighter who is hard to hit even when he is standing in front of you. Peter is a power-punching machine who can crack opponent body parts with sledgehammer power.

This is an intriguing match up since Toney has the ability to embarrass you and Peter can stop you with just one shot.

Toney has so far shown that he can compete with the Heavyweight elites. He beat Ruiz even though steroid use caused the result to be changed to no contest. He held on to force a draw, controversial as it was, with Hassim Rahman.

Peter’s first big fight with Wladimir Klitschko ended with Peter knocking Klitschko down three times; but losing by decision. Peter was nearly stopped in the last round and the Ukrainian out boxed the Nigerian Nightmare most of the night for an easy decision despite hitting the canvas three times.

Toney has been in big fights and won most of them but at 38, he is now on the down side of his career. Peter’s career is in its ascendancy but this bout is an important barometer on how far he has progressed.

In his last fight with Wladimir Klitschko, Klitschko out maneuvered the Nigerian slugger consistently and Peter showed no ability in cutting off the ring or producing effective bodywork. While he did have Klitschko on the rope on a couple of occasion, he could not close the show.

So how does this fight turn out? A review of the Byrd-Ibeabuchi bout may offer some clue in how this bout could go. Byrd boxing skills were offset by Ibeabuchi’s power.

Both Byrd and Toney are excellent at slipping punches but when Ibeabuchi trapped Byrd on the rope, he did not let him off. Byrd was a younger fighter with quicker foot speed and he could not handle Ibeabuchi’s power.

Toney will not have Byrd’s quickness or his leg speed. He does have a little more pop in his punch than Byrd but Toney does not have a Heavyweight punch. In his last fight, Rahman did manage to hit Toney with shots that Toney avoided in the past and there was time that Toney’s weight affected his balance.

Toney does have a good chin and never yet been stopped. When Byrd fought Ibeabuchi, he came in that never have been stopped. Both Byrd and Toney began their career as Middleweights but ended their career as Heavyweights.

There are lots of similarities between these two warriors.

Ike Ibeabuchi was a strong fighter with solid boxing skills, so his accurate power shots kept Byrd on the rope and the smaller American could not escape.

When Byrd fought Tua, he easily escaped from the New Zealand slugger. The reason was that Ibeabuchi proved better at cutting off the ring than Tua and that is why Byrd lost to Ibeabuchi and beat Tua.

Peter, like Ibeabuchi, depends upon his power and he comes in this fight as the younger fighter. In his bout with Klitshcko, he failed to cut off the ring or use his power to soften the body. He consistently went head hunting and Wladimir easily nailed Peter with combinations after combinations.

While Toney will not have Wladimir advantage in height, he is a master boxer, who knows how to avoid sledgehammer punches. If Peter is as wild with Toney as he was with Klitschko, Toney could pull off the upset.

For Toney to win, he must come in top shape. If he shows up in the same shape as he did in his last bout, this could a messy affair for the older American master boxer. Toney needs to gain Peter respect and force Peter to pay when the Nigerian slugger misses with his punches.

Toney must draw on his experience to embarrass and fluster Peter. And he needs to move from to side to side and avoid long stretches on the rope.

For Peter to win, he needs to do the following. The first is to show patience. Go to body early and often. Toney is an accurate puncher and Peter will be hit consistently but Toney’s power does not match Klitschko’s power. Peter took Klitschko best and he will take his Toney’s best.

Peter has to avoid being flustered and not throw wild punches. If he pounds the body and force Toney on the rope for long stretches, his power could eventually overwhelm the smaller Toney.

Peter looked amateurish against Klitshcko, so we will find out if Peter learned how to cut off the ring and force Toney to trade punches.

Peter should win this fight, simply because of his power and age. However, power and age doesn’t always overcome boxing smarts, properly applied.

Toney’s boxing smarts will keep him in this fight but this is Peters opportunity to get himself back among the heavyweight elites. If Peter learned his lesson from the Klitschko’s bout, then he will win.