Boxing


Sharkie’s Machine: Peter Pummels Maskaev to TKO in Six

david hayeBy Frank Gonzalez Jr, photo by David Martin Warr/DKP: Saturday night at the Plaza de Toros in Cancun Mexico, WBC Heavyweight Champion Oleg Maskaev (34-6, 26 KO’s) lost his title to the younger Sam Peter (30-1, 23 KO’s) after Peter delivered a series of power punches in the sixth round that forced Maskaev to cover up, get rocked a few times and ultimately be saved by the referee, who stepped between them and stopped the contest.

Sam Peter’s aggressiveness was the difference in this fight. Maskaev lost the first round by not punching enough. He did better in the second as he jabbed well and connected with a few scoring blows. Peter landed the bigger punches but Maskaev was starting to realize that by using simple boxing techniques, he could catch Peter with a big right hand somehow. It didn’t happen. Peter won the second by doing more damage..

Maskaev had a better showing round three and four as he used his jab proficiently and managed to crack Peter with a left hook and a few other power shots. Peter hit Maskaev a few times behind the head and did so again in the fourth round. Maskaev complained on a few occasions to no avail. Maskaev was making a big mistake looking to the ref while Peter was winding up to crack him again. Maskaev landed the cleaner punches during the late exchanges of the fourth.

In the fifth round, Peter cracked Maskaev with three consecutive shots. Maskaev scored with a nice right cross. Peter landed a right of his own. Again, Peter cracked Maskaev three times in a row. In the sixth, Peter hit Maskaev behind the head and got a warning. Both landed in spots until Peter caught him with a combination of shots forcing Maskaev backwards and covering up. Peter kept on punching, landed many and Maskaev didn’t respond with anything back, so the ref rightly stopped it at 2:56. Maskaev didn’t protest the stoppage and Peter celebrated his TKO 6 Victory.

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Maskaev got his WBC belt by beating Hasim Rahman in August of 2006 by KO 12. But Rahman didn’t exactly earn that title—he inherited it when Vitali Klitschko decided to retire earlier that same year. In spite of his vigorous training sessions in preparation for this fight, Maskaev had some ring rust. He hadn’t fought since December of 2006. Peter has been the busiest HW out there. Peter deserves credit for the forceful way he beat Maskaev, who is a smart, quality boxer with good power, although he’s a bit on the slow side. Maskaev will be 40 years old this time next year. It’s likely that he’ll retire soon. He had a good run and hopefully made enough money to enjoy the rest of his life.

I hear a lot of people say that the alphabet soups and their belts don’t mean much. That is truth. The values of all these titles are watered down by the fact that there are so many of them. It’s obvious there is no legitimate rankings system, or how in the world does Vitali Klitschko come back after a couple of years away and get a shot at a title immediately? I am sure that a tip top shape Vitali would beat the lot of HW’s out there today, including his little brother if he were so inclined to fight him. (I am not advocating that he does) But what’s right is right. The guy who fights Wladimir Klitschko next should be Peter, or Chagaev, both of whom deserve that much.

Wladimir has the IBF, IBO and WBO titles. Peter now has the WBC title. Ruslan Chagaev owns the WBA title. So, you don’t have a World Champion, you have three guys with belts. There are not a lot of quality names gracing the ranks of the HW division, so it’s pretty obvious that the top guys should all just fight each other and settle things once and for all.

Unfortunately, Wladimir’s brother Vitali is being considered to be the opponent of the winner of Maskaev vs. Peter. It sure smells bad when a guy is out of the ring for a couple of years, then comes back and suddenly, like magic, he’s the top contender. If Vitali comes in good shape, I can’t see Peter beating Vitali, but you never know and that’s why they fight the fights.

This is not fair to Wladimir because we all know the brothers have vowed they’d never fight each other. Hopefully Vitali stays out of the ring until his brother gets the opportunity to consolidate the titles. As usual, the sanctioning bodies are not interested in having a Unified Champion.

There are but two logical fights at HW; and that is Wladimir Klitschko vs. Sam Peter II or W. Klitschko vs. Ruslan Chagaev. Wladimir owes the fans a good outing after his less than entertaining win over Sultan Ibragimov sullied his marketability a bit.

If I ruled the world, Wladimir would face Chagaev in July and if he beat Chagaev, he’d face Peter in November. Can you imagine a champion fighting three times in one year? The ghosts of boxing’s past laugh in the background.

Can you imagine Chagaev beating Wladimir?

Against Wladimir, the possibility exists that Peter can win by KO because of his power and tenacity. In their fight back in 2005, Klitschko went down a couple of times from Peter punches. But Klitschko managed to out-box Peter and turned his face into pulp from all those clean jabs he landed. It’s more likely that Klitschko’s boxing skills wins him the fight by decision.

Klitschko is more a pragmatist in the ring these days. While he could probably knock Peter out if he got so inclined, its more likely he’d be satisfied to win safely by decision. If Jameel McCline could get so close to knocking Peter out, why not Wladimir, who has bigger power in both hands. Peter has a few glaring flaws. He’s often wide with his punches, his defense is questionable and McCline showed that he doesn’t take well to being clocked by power punchers. Who does? But it is a reality at HW, where one punch can end a fight at any time.

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Comments can be emailed to dshark87@hotmail.com

Article posted on 10.03.2008



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