Worth Waiting For??

By Francis Walker
Updated: September 8, 2008

Vitali Klitschko & Sam Peter will fight for the WBC heavyweight title on October 11. Photo credit: Francis Walker

Vitali Klitschko & Sam Peter will fight for the WBC heavyweight title on October 11. Photo credit: Francis Walker

NEW YORK — The confusion surrounding the WBC heavyweight championship finally comes to a halt when Samuel Peter (30-1, 23 KOs) defends the title against WBC “Emeritus” champion Vitali Klitschko (35-2, 34 KOs). The bout will commence on October 11, at the brand new O2 Arena in Berlin, Germany.

Peter vs. Klitschko will be aired on tape-delay to coincide with a Showtime Championship Boxing doubleheader headlined by an IBF light heavyweight championship bout between Antonio Tarver and challenger Chad Dawson beginning at 9 PM/EST.

The big question is whether Klitschko, who retired in 2005 because of injuries and hasn’t fought since, will show up to fight Peter. Klitschko has had a well-documented history of pulling out of fights. Klitschko gave every indication that he’s determined to go through his fight with Peter.

“I am very happy to say that I am back,” Klitschko told members of the media at a recent New York City press conference. “I am very happy to be back into the ring on October 11th to fight for my title. I give my title freely because I had knee injury in 2005. Right now, I am happy and ready to fight against anyone who has my title.”

“I am sorry for Peter because, you have a title and I have to fight you,” Klitschko added. Peter didn’t take Klitschko’s word kindly and confronted him.

“I got a question, who did you beat to call yourself a two-time heavyweight champion,” Peter asked Klitschko directly. “Who did you beat? You never beat anybody to call yourself heavyweight champion of the world. They leave the belt on the table and you pick it up.”

“I am the true heavyweight champion of the world,” Peter explained to Klitschko. “I beat a champion to become a champion. Stop calling yourself two-time heavyweight champion of the world. I fight a champion to become a champion.”

An injury plagued, Vitali Klitschko hasn't fought in four years and coming out of retirement to challenge Sam Peter for a heavyweight title belt. Photo credit: Francis Walker

An injury plagued, Vitali Klitschko hasn't fought in four years and coming out of retirement to challenge Sam Peter for a heavyweight title belt. Photo credit: Francis Walker

Has Klitschko, who hasn’t fought in for years since his eight-round demolition of Danny Williams, overcome his physical aliments to defeat Peter?

“He’s coming out of retirement,” Peter said. “He wants me to send in retirement, so I’m ready to put him back into retirement.”

The Nigerian is known as “The Nigerian Nightmare” because of his knockout power. Klitschko understands that, but also understands that he himself can punch hard too.

“I don’t want to underestimate Sam Peter,” Klitschko added. “He’s a strong fighter, a big puncher. But Klitschko can also… punch a little bit.

Both fighters assured everyone that this fight will not last the twelve-round distance.

“I am more than sure this fight will not be by points,” Klitschko said.

Peter added: “You have to knock people out. I know it’s not easy to knock people out. It’s not every fighter that gets knocked out, but this fight I’m going to knock him out.”

Will Klitschko really show up? There are a lot of skeptics

“I know a lot of people are skeptical because, Klitschko was more than three years outside of the ring. Don’t worry; I haven’t lose my skills in three years.”

People are skeptical as to whether the fight between Klitschko and Peter will actually happen because of Vitali’s injury prone physique. Skeptics include members of the media and Peter’s manager Ivaylo Gotzev.

“I’m personally skeptical as to whether he’s going to make the fight or not,” Gotzev said. “He pulled out of so many occasions it’s not even funny. Just train proper for the fight and be ready. No excuses – my elbow hurt, my knee hurt. We don’t want to hear that. “

“Get in, or get out,” Gotzev added. “Once you get out, don’t comeback. This is the heavyweight championship of the world is Samuel Perer’s business, no please just be there.”

The story between the Peter and Klitschko ends on October 11

It all started when Klitschko, citing many injuries to his back, knees, and shoulders which required surgery, retired after fights with Hasim Rahman had been postponed on three separate occasions. Klitschko announced his retirement in 2005, but was named WBC “emeritus” under the condition that when Klitschko’s injuries had healed, he could return to boxing and fight for the WBC heavyweight championship upon his return.

Klitschko was all, but forgotten having lost a second bid to become mayor of Kiev, Ukraine and helping to restructure his younger brother Wladimir’s career.

In 2006, Peter twice defeated James Toney to become the official WBC mandatory contender to former champion Oleg Maskaev. Suddenly, the fight was blocked when Klitschko announced last year that he would return to fight Maskaev for the WBC title, not Peter.

Vitali’s back? What?

Klitschko and Maskaev couldn’t make a deal and went Peter-Maskaev went into a messy negotiation period that went into purse bid. Finally, Peter was to have received his long overdue title shot against Maskaev in October at Madison Square Garden last year. However, a back injury that required surgery forced a cancellation to the contest less than three weeks before their scheduled fight.

Peter fought late-sub Jameel McCline for the “interim” WBC title with the winner to face Maskaev within a certain time frame. Peter survived three total knockdowns in rounds two and three and came back to win a unanimous 12-round decision.

At the beginning of 2008, the WBC labeled Maskaev as their champion, Peter had the “interim” tag, and Klitschko was their “emeritus” champion.

An injury plagued, Vitali Klitschko hasn't fought in four years and coming out of retirement to challenge Sam Peter for a heavyweight title belt. Photo credit: Francis Walker

An injury plagued, Vitali Klitschko hasn't fought in four years and coming out of retirement to challenge Sam Peter for a heavyweight title belt. Photo credit: Francis Walker

Peter, as expected stopped Maskaev in an anxiously anticipated WBC heavyweight title fight in March. The final chapter in the WBC heavyweight title saga ends with Klitschko.

Should Peter lose to Klitschko, a man who has not fought in four years, a former heavyweight champion who retired because of various physical ailments that have plagued his career, then Peter would have lost just about every credential that he has earned in his career.

Klitschko, therefore, would join his younger brother Wladimir as the only brother duo to simultaneously split the world heavyweight championship. That’s something that has never happened in boxing history.

“We have a dream; been a long time. We say we want to be heavyweight champion at the same time, but injury stopped me,” Klitschko said.

The Klitschko’s would control the IBF, WBO, WBC, and unrecognized IBO titles should Vitali beat Peter. Only the WBA title held by Nikolai Valuev would evade K2.

“I’ve heard that for the last seven or eight years,” Gotzev said. “I believe we’re going to shatter that dream once and for all into a thousand pieces. We’re glad the Klitschko’s come in K2. We’ll take K1 and take K2 afterwards.”