Peter Dominates Toney In Highly Anticipated Rematch, Earns First Heavyweight Title Shot

By Francis Walker
Updated: January 9, 2007

NEW YORK — Samuel Peter’s game plan was simple – attack James Toney, but box. Peter (28-1, 22 KOs) erased all of the controversy from his split decision win over Toney (69-6-3, 43 KOs) by earning a second, more decisive, and dominant unanimous decision win in a rematch on Saturday at the Hard Rock Hotel in Hollywood, FL.

Peter is officially (and convincingly) the mandatory challenger to WBC heavyweight champion Oleg Maskaev. Unlike the first encounter, all three official judges at ringside scored the rematch in Peter’s favor: 119-108, and 118-110 (twice).
Peter’s performance was perhaps his finest since turning professional in February 2001. Both Toney and Peter were both scrutinized for coming into a world heavyweight title elimination bout in poor shape.
When the two fought in September, Toney weighed 233, while Peter tipped the scales at a career-high, 257. Peter was victorious, but many felt that Toney won their first fight.
Nearly everyone believed that if Toney was in better shape, he would have boxed circles around Peter and the decision would have been decisive.
Toney hired Tae Bo creator and martial arts expert Billy Blanks to help train him. Blanks was responsible for reshaping Toney’s appearance, strength, conditioning, and diet.
Although Toney’s arms and chest were more “ripped and cut,” his stomach was still oval-shaped and weighed in one pound more at 234.
Peter weighed eight pounds less at 249 and everyone saw a dramatic difference in his performance during the rematch.
In the opening round, Peter threw combinations, doubled-up with his left jab, and landed his right hand with consistency. Peter stunned Toney in the opening round before knocking the former middleweight, super middleweight, and cruiserweight champion on his back with a left jab to his chin in round two.
The last time Toney was officially knocked down in a fight was the third round of his IBF super middleweight title loss to Roy Jones, Jr. in November 1994.
Toney has fought in five different weight classes during his 18-year professional career and in 79 pro bouts, has never been knocked out.
Toney was such a big target, it didn’t matter where Peter threw his punches. The 26-year-old Nigerian threw punches at Toney’s 38-year-old’s head, shoulders, arms, chest, and stomach. Peter landed with power and consistency.
Peter didn’t move his head a lot, which allowed Toney to land left jabs and straight-rights, but his punches had to affect on Peter. He was able to walk through Toney’s power, pressure him against the ropes, and unload with a series of left jabs and overhand rights.
A Different Fighter
Peter’s only loss was a 12-round unanimous decision against Wladimir Klitschko in November 2005. Peter knocked Klitschko down on three separate occasions, but was being out-boxed.
Had Peter developed any boxing ability, he would have either won the decision or had the skills to stop Klitschko, who went on to knockout Chris Byrd to win the IBF heavyweight title in April 2006.
Peter is no longer the same one punch fighter that fought Klitschko. Peter, in his 24 rounds against Toney has improved as a boxer. One reason why Peter was more dominant against Toney in the rematch is because, he worked hard in the gym on using his left jab as a weapon to open his arsenal. Peter has knockout power in both hands.
Simms KOs Rivera, Regains 154-Pound Title
Travis Simms was the undefeated WBA super welterweight champion who never lost his belt inside a boxing ring. Simms (25-0, 19 KOs) regained the WBA 154-pound title with a decisive ninth round knockout of Jose Antonio Rivera (38-5-1, 44 KOs).
Simms was supposed to have fought the winner of a March 2003 world junior middleweight unification match between Winky Wright-Shane Mosley. Instead, Mosley and Wright fought each other in a rematch and made millions of dollars, while Simms was simply out of the mix.
Still searching for a big fight, Simms sued the WBA for failing to enforce Wright-Mosley winner to face Simms next. After a series of court battles, Simms was then stripped of his title and was later named a “champion in recess,” in August 2006.
Jose Antonio Rivera was making the second defense of the WBA 154-pound title. Rivera appeared to be no match for the undefeated “champion in recess.”
Simms’ game plane was simple. As a southpaw (left-handed) fighter, Simms fought going backward which made it difficult for the conventional (right-handed) Rivera to land left jabs and right hands.
Simms’ strategy worked, as he was able to see nearly all of Rivera’s punches and attacked the champion with counter punches.
In the second round, Simms wobbled Rivera with a straight left to his face. Simms continued attacking with straight-lefts and knocked the champion down in the second round.
Simms kept jabbing and landing his left hand at will. Simms dominated the contest, especially in the ninth round when Simms scored another knockdown off his powerful left hand.
Rivera simply sat on the mat leaning against the ropes while staring at his blood trickling down his chest. Rivera wiped the blood away and continued to fight.
The fight was topped at 2:00 of the ninth when Simms punches began jerking Rivera’s head backward uncontrollably.