Boxing


Why Wladimir Klitschko must step up and face Samuel Peters

25.07.05 - By Andy Meacock: Whatís in a name? Itís a good question. Itís a very good question if that name happens to be Klitschko. Klitschko is a name that tends to either provoke very positive or very negative reactions from boxing fans and journalists alike. The two brothers from Ukraine named Wladimir and Vitali have kept us all attentive and (in my case) amused for the past couple of months with their individual struggles to gain preferential treatment with the WBC and in Wladimirís case the IBF.

Most of the articles Iím reading at the moment seem to be about big brother Vitali, so Iíll focus my attention on the younger sibling Wladimir.

Wladimir Klitschkoís current standing in the boxing world varies greatly depending on who you speak to. Some would say that heís a young, talented heavyweight who is on the road to recovery after a learning curve that involved couple of unexpected losses and some would say that he is washed up, weak chinned and was over-rated to begin with.

One thing that is undeniable is that just two years ago he was the young star of the heavyweight divison. He had a record of 37 wins, 1 loss and a very high ratio of knockouts but then on the 3rd August 2003 things began to changeÖ

He would meet veteran South African fighter Corrie Sanders in a fight that would send both him and his career to the canvass. Sanders, a heavy handed southpaw, floored Wladimir four times in the first two rounds leaving referee Genaro Rodriguez no choice but to waive the fight off. The man considered by many to take over from Lennox Lewis as the heavyweight monarch had been dramatically humbled in his adopted country of Germany.

He fought two more times in 2003 against the lightly regarded Fabio Eduardo Moli and Danell Nicholson, winning both fights in impressive fashion by knockout.

These wins lead to the opportunity to challenge Lamon Brewster for the vacant WBO title on the 30th August 2004. Like with the Sanders fight, Wladimir would enter the contest as a strong favourite and the fight was considered as the completion of his rehab after the Sanders fight. Once again we all got it wrong. Wladimir was knocked down in round five and struggled back to his corner in bizzare fashion!. The fight was over and Brewster was crowned the new WBO heavyweight champion.

Post-fight tests found that Wladimir had irregular sugar levels during the fight which may or may not have contributed to his loss. This started all kinds of varied allegations and in some cases ridiculous allegations that Wladimir Klitschko was doped. It was hilarious hearing some of the allegations that were made about doping. Some of these theories that would have been better suited to an Oliver Stone film or John Grisham novel. The undeniable truth was that he had been knocked out twice in his last four bouts.

The Brewster loss would lead Wladimir to consider which path to take next in his quest to regain a heavyweight title. With big brother Vitali holding the WBC belt and Brewster the WBO title this left Wladimir two targets John Ruiz or Chris Byrd. Wladimir fought and beat Chris Byrd convincingly when they fought in the year 2000 and this would seem to be the natural choice for a heavyweight lacking confidence after two tough losses.

Wladimirís comeback fight was against Davarryl Williamson. After five rounds the fight had to be stopped due to an injury, the fight went to the judgeís score cards. Wladimir struggled in this fight, was floored but was judged to have done enough to get the decision. He then fought and beat Eliseo Castillo in 4 rounds which pretty much leads us up to where we are nowÖ

An offer was made to Chris Byrd to travel to Germany to fight Wladimir for a lucrative purse, the best offer available to him at this time. Byrd refused the offer and got a lot of criticism from journalists and fans alike who have branded him a coward. Byrdís mandatory challenger is non-other than Davarryl Williamson who recently lost to that technical decision to Wladimir. Unhappy at this, Wladimirís representatives lodged an appeal against the IBF requesting that Wladimir be made the mandatory instead of Williamson. Whilst there is some sense to that, Wladimirís appeal was widely considered to be arrogant and the judges ruled in favour of the IBF.

The IBF showed that they were not prepared to be bullied by Wladimir Klitschko and to prove that they decided that Wladimir must fight promising heavyweight Samuel Peter to earn his shot at Byrd.

So who is Samuel Peter ?

He is 24 year old Nigerian who undefeated with a record of 24 wins, no losses with 21 knockouts. Samuel Peter in my opinion the most promising new prospect in the heavyweight division, although that doesnít mean much at this point in time as the division is fairly poor. An interesting thing to consider about Samuel Peter is that he was a sparring partner for Wladimir Klitschko. The rumour is that Wladimir was dominant in these sessions but sparring in the gym and fighting for real are two very different things. I donít think too many conclusions can be made from the sparring sessions.

So will Wladimir be a man and accept the Samuel Peter fight ?

This is the million dollar question. Given the lengths he went to recently trying to persuade the IBF to change their position regarding Byrdís mandatory it would be hard to have any respect for Wladimir if he didnít accept. This would expose him as a coward and damage his reputation considerably. Wladimir is advised/managed by Shelley Finkel and trained by Emanuel Steward these days. Finkel and Steward are not fools, they are aware of the potential danger that a heavy handed Samuel Peter poses and they will look to protect there fighter from any unnecessary risks.

Boxing is a business and I have a horrible feeling that Wladimir will avoid this challenge and look for other opportunities. It will be a shame as well as Wladimir Klitschko v Samuel Peter is a great fight! Itís a fight that raises many questions like, can Samuel Peter can take a big punch from a hitter like Wladimir?, has Wladimir managed to improve the suspect conditioning we saw in the Brewster fight?, is Samuel Peter the next big thing?

This is a great fight and the heavyweight needs great fights at this point in time. Letís cross our fingers that Iím wrong about Wladimir Klitschko and that this fight happens.

If you have any views on this article or Klitschko saga then please leave in the comments section, thanksÖ

Article posted on 25.07.2005



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