Peter Survives Three Knockdowns, Decisions McCline

By Francis Walker
Updated: October 8, 2007

NEW YORK — Samuel Peter found out first hand that pursuing a world championship is very different from actually having a title handed to you and having to defend it.

More than 7,100 scattered Madison Square Garden on Saturday to watch Peter (29-1, 22 KOs) shockingly survive three knockdowns in the early rounds against Jameel McCline (38-8-3, 23 KOs). Peter heartily fought his way back into the fight to win a 12-round unanimous decision.

All three judges scored the bout 115-110, 115-111, and closer at 113-112. Considering that Peter was dropped three times within the first three rounds of the contest, the two scores of 115 indicate that had it not been for the knockdowns Peter would have perhaps been awarded nine or 10 rounds. BASN had Peter winning 113-112.

Peter, because of his unbeaten record and punching power, was predicted to knock McCline out early. The “Nigerian Nightmare,” who himself knocked down current IBF heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko and James Toney (whom Peter defeated twice) wasn’t suppose to have problems with McCline.

McCline, originally born in Harlem, has more than a half-dozen losses with three previous failed world title bids. During a challenge for the WBA heavyweight title in January, McCline suffered a torn knee cap 10 months ago during a third-round TKO loss to Nikolai Valuev.

To the surprise of nearly everyone at the Garden, the 6-foot-7, 266-pound McCline tattooed the 6-foot, 250-pound Peter against the canvas in stunning fashion in rounds two and three.

“When I was knocked down I knew I had to stand up and defend my belt,” said Peter. “I’m a champion.”

Just when the bell had sounded to end the second round, McCline floored Peter with a short right hand his chin in round two. Peter was saved by the bell, but was clearly wobbly as the returned to his corner.

In the third round, McCline turned Peter into a corner and unloaded with a solid left hook-overhand right combination that sent him crawling on the canvas. Peter returned to his feet, but was dropped once again after McCline landed a barrage of punches upside the champion’s head.

McCline had plenty of time to finish the champion in round three, but simply couldn’t do it. Peter fought his way back into the fight in round four by jabbing and clinching. He noticeably held his hands up higher on the sides of his face and boxed.

The more Peter boxed behind his double-left jabs, the more fluent his right hand follow was. He was able to keep McCline moving backward. McCline occasionally would throw a three-four punch combination, but he automatically clinched Peter when he came inside. Peter managed to take more risks, especially during the late rounds.

Peter was very aggressive in the final round, as it appeared as though he was seeking to stun McCline with something big to knock him out.

Meaning, McCline’s best chance to beat Peter was to have knocked him out. When the golden opportunity presented itself, McCline let it slip away.

Maskaev next for Peter in 90-120 days

According to WBC President Jose Suliman, Peter’s next fight will be against Oleg Maskaev. McCline was brought in to face Peter after Maskaev injured his back in training camp a few weeks ago.

Maskaev will have between 90-120 days to fight Peter for the WBC heavyweight championship. If Maskaev does not fight Peter within that time, the “interim” label will be removed and Peter will be declared champion.

“Immediately, on Monday the time starts counting,” Suliman said. “They say [Masakev] will start training in four weeks and will be ready. The winner of that fight must next fight Vitali. This has been boiling down from since January of this year.”

Golota Stops McBride

The non-televised undercard of Peter vs. McCline was pretty entertaining. Andrew Golota’s bout with Kevin McBride was a slugfest from round one. Golota (40-6-1, 33 KOs), who was at least 40 pounds and four-inches less than the 288-pound McBride (34-6-1, 29 KOs), was the more experienced and better boxer. Golota sustained some pretty strong, but slow bombs to earn a stoppage at 2:42 of the sixth round.

“Kevin surprised me,” Golota said. “Kevin was faster than I thought he would be and he didn’t get tired. I proved tonight that I can still fight with anyone.”

Golota has fought at the Garden on several occasions through the years. Whenever he fights in the famed arena, he gets a lift from the Polish-European community. Perhaps Golota’s best performances and most memorable occurred at the Garden.

In July 2006, Golota was out-boxing Riddick Bowe before he was DQ’d for throwing nearly a half-dozen low blows through seven rounds.

In 2004, Golota twice dropped John Ruiz and out-boxed him through 12 rounds for the WBA heavyweight title. However, Golota lost a controversial 12-round decision. Golota nearly won the IBF heavyweight championship from Chris Byrd that same year, but their bout was ruled a 12-round draw.

Meehan KOs Williamson

Kali Meehan ended the dreams of DaVarryl Williamson fighting for a world title. Fighting in memory of his father-in-law who died of liver cancer on Thursday, Meehan (33-3, 27 KOs) scored a one-punch knockout of Williamson (24-5, 20 KOs) at the end of round six.

“To be honest, it is the fifth anniversary of my auntie’s death, a good friend of mine died in an accident in September, and my father-in-law died on Friday. Sometimes these things make a difference,” Meehan said.

Meehan, who last fought at the Garden losing a fifth-round TKO to former heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman, is three years removed from losing a WBO heavyweight title bid against then champion Lamon Brewster, via split-decision. Meehan has knocked out his last four opponents and appeared to be in a zone against Williamson.

“When I fought Hasim Rahman at Madison Square Garden, I was fighting injured and I was intimidated,” Meehan said. “I was not intimidated at all tonight. I just knew what to do.”

Williamson, who dropped Wladimir Klitschko, but lost a technical decision to him in 2003, lost a 12-round unanimous decision to Chris Byrd in a bid to win the IBF heavyweight crown. Williamson, who suffered a one-round KO loss to Joe Mesi, is 39 years old and his career may soon be over.

Santos TKOs Rivera

In a WBA No. 1-contender elimination bout, Daniel Santos proved to be the more superior boxer and better puncher against Jose Antonio Rivera. Santos (31-3-1, 22 KOs) and his southpaw style eventually became too much, as he knocked out Rivera (38-6-1, 24 KOs) at 2:50 into the eighth round.

The victory allows Santos to become the No. 1-ranked contender for WBA junior middleweight champion Joachim Alcine