Wladimir Klitschko - Samuel Peter: Where Do They Go From Here?
26.09.05 - By Geoff McKay: It would be an understatement to say that the outcome of the Klitschko Peter fight this Saturday surprised a few people. Before the bout I read very few predictions that called for the fight to go the distance. I myself thought Wlad would wear Peter down, and connect with a big punch sometime around the seventh round, scoring a TKO.
Article posted on 26.09.2005
As it turned out, I severely underestimated Samuel Peter’s ability to absorb big punishment. I thought I had seen him stung a couple of times by lesser opponents, so I assumed hard punching Wlad would tag him and expose a china chin. Was I ever wrong about Peter. Wlad also surprised me with his stamina, and truthfully, although he was knocked down three times, he really wasn’t deeply hurt by any of them. I liked seeing him smile on his way to his corner at the end of the eleventh round. He was enjoying himself, and said as much after the fight. I was also very surprised to see him up on his toes and dancing around in the final round. He was moving well, and still had power in his shots as evidenced by the huge hook he wobbled Peter with.
So where do they go from here? Let’s start with Peter. Although he lost, he answered the two main questions we had about him. We knew how he punched, but how did he catch, and could he last twelve rounds? He answered these definitively, and showed that he will be a very dangerous opponent for anyone in the division. He has huge power, and the ability to stick around until he gets the chance to use it.
All Peter needs to do is gain some experience, and this fight is a big step in the right direction. He will see many opportunities he had to work Wlad’s exposed body, and he should be able to put this knowledge to work in future fights. Peter is never going to be fast, he will never show good movement. His strength is just that, his strength. He will beat better fighters by stalking them down, and knocking them out. His management team needs to keep that in mind, and not try and make major style changes. He has the tools; he just needs to work on his “ring generalship”. I see Peter hanging around, taking out some top contenders, and getting a shot at a title down the road.
Klitschko is a whole different kettle of fish, and let me say right away that I believe it is a mistake to have Klitschko hold so much. Yes, clinching is a useful tool, but it should only be used when necessary. If you look closely at the first knockdown, you will see that just before it happens, Wlad is in close, thinks about punching, and then hesitantly clinches. He doesn’t get Peters arms pinned and gets hit with a Rabbit punch.
Klitschko should look to unleash his short left hook when he is in close; it is an incredibly potent weapon. Watch his fight with Monte Barrett. You will see Klitschko look like he is going to clinch, then unload his short hook. Barrett’s brain short circuits and he folds up like an accordion.
Klitschko doesn’t use this short hook nearly enough and it is because he is too busy worrying about tying his opponent up. When he finally started to relax, and enjoy himself in the 12th, he unleashed a hook that almost put Peter too sleep. Peter has a chin on the order of Tua, but he was very badly hurt. It is one thing to see a man get knocked off balance and go down. It is quite another to see a boxer take a big punch, then back up and begin wobbling on rubber legs. When this happens, the fighter has been rocked seriously. Fighters who know how to use the hook effectively can generate tremendous power with it. I remember watching Razor Ruddock fight Michael Dokes. Ruddock was fighting poorly, and the announcer was just starting to say how this wasn’t the kind of fight Ruddock wanted, when Razor ripped Dokes with a massive short left hook. Dokes crumpled to the canvas and stayed there for twenty minutes. Klitschko’s hook is a devastating weapon, he can use it well off the jab and no man in boxing is safe from it.
Wladimir needs to fight more offensively, that is the key to keeping aggressive opponents at bay. Once Wladimir gets an opponent to respect his power, he can relax and enjoy himself, and put his boxing skills to use.
Another thing that absolutely must be worked on is Wlad’s poor balance. I didn’t think he was seriously hurt during any of the knockdowns, but he seems perpetually off balance, and falls around the ring when backpedaling away from an opponent. I was sure I saw cleaner, better punches land on Wlad’s chin than the ones that actually put him down.
It seems as though I am being quite unkind to a man who just won the biggest fight of his life, but that is only because I believe he has tremendous potential. He has lethal power in both hands, and the smarts to know how to use it. This win is a huge step forward for Wladimir, and the statement he made at the end of the fight, “this is fun”, is music to the ears of his management team.
Wladimir needs to use the momentum from this victory. He needs to start enjoying himself again. He knows he can come of the canvas to win a fight, and he will be far more dangerous because of it. When Floyd Patterson rematched Ingemmar Johansson he fought pensively, and was knocked down twice in the first round, but he got up. He had experienced a revelation. He knew he could come back from adversity, he had found his inner strength, and he went on to brutally knock Johansson out.
Wladimir Klitschko experienced his own revelation on Saturday night, and if he has found his inner strength, men like Chris Byrd and Lamon Brewster stand no chance of beating him.
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