Maskaev and Peter: Two bangers with a big chip

sam peter11.08.07 - By Mike Cassell/Philadelphia Boxing Report - WBC Champion Oleg Maskaev (34-5-26 KO’s) and upcoming challenger Sam Peter (28-1-22 KO’s) have a combined 62 victories, with 48 ending in knockout.

Both of these guys can hit, and both of them have a serious bone to pick with a division that is selling more “bull’ than tickets.

Peter had a shot at beating the man regarded as the “real” Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko, but fell short in later rounds where conditioning means everything and Klitschko easily proved that fact.

Peter twice had to fight a mandatory WBC Heavyweight eliminator against the blown up Middleweight James Toney. He beat Toney by what some called a questionable split decision, but the WBC wanted to see them fight again as soon as possible. In the second match, Peter did pretty much what he did to Toney in the first - he just did it with less weight and more stamina. I think Toney is a character that sells tickets, but did he deserve to be given a shot at the title, not once, but twice?

If Peter seems a tad bit anxious, he should be. He has been to the big game and, although he lost, he showed many in the boxing world that he can fight when he is in shape.

His last few fights have been “A Tale of Two Peters.’ In some, he looked great; in a few others, he looked lethargic and awkward. Which Sam Peter is going to show up against Maskaev? It better be the conditioned one, because Maskaev has done nothing in the past five years but win.

In 12 fights, only three ended in a decision. Nobody seems to take Maskaev seriously. Rahman didn’t, and it cost him his title.

Most boxing experts think this is the easier fight for Peter. It is an advantage Maskaev has had for the past five years. Maskaev has a great personal story, but as a professional he doesn’t do draws. He fights to win or get knocked out. It is purely that simple. He was a throw-away fighter in an era when blown-up middleweights could actually get title consideration.

In 2002, he was alone. His career seemed over and he considered retirement. He decided he had the ability, but lacked the true “American” boxing knowledge. He changed management, trainer and promoter. He learned how to slip a few punches and, most importantly, he learned how to throw something other than a right hand.

He always hit hard, but he very rarely hit smart. He was out of position and, when that happens, a good opponent will put you to sleep.

Peter is big and can hit, but ironically he is more like a younger Maskaev. He gets out of position and Maskaev will capitalize on that weakness. Most think this will be a cakewalk for Peter and that’s okay as long as he doesn’t think it.

Maskaev’s shear will carried him until 2002 and his fifth loss. His skill has gotten him to 2007 and this second WBC title defense. He has something prove and this may be his last best chance to do it. He could turn Peters dream into a true Nigerian nightmare.

Article posted on 12.08.2007

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