Peter versus Klitschko: Who will taste the dreaded defeat?
By "Big Dog" Benny Henderson Jr. (September 22, 2005)  
Photo © HBO
Defeat can leave a nasty taste in the mouth of many fighters. Some never recover while others chalk it up to a learning experience and move on ahead. It is just a part of this continuous reality series we call BOXING.

With a late September match-up on HBO’s fight schedule two hard-hitting heavyweights will face off in a match-up that could very well shape one up and ship one out of the division's elite. Two men who have walked down entirely different pathways will face off in the IBF and WBO heavyweight title eliminator on HBO’s Boxing After Dark this Saturday, September 24th at 10:00 PM ET/PT. Towering Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko, 44-3 (40), who has stumbled on sharp curves and hit some roadblocks in the heavyweight highway, will step in with highly touted undefeated Nigerian Samuel Peter, 24-0 (21), who at this stage has not tasted the nasty D word. But will that all change for the twenty-four year old?

We have all heard about Klitschko’s many faults – he has a glass jaw, he isn’t mentally sound, he is on his way out the door and he should have already retired. On the flipside we have listened to Peter’s fans tout him like a young George Foreman with the power to stop a moving train. Now while I am not counting Sam out in this match-up – I would be crazy to even make such a statement – it would be equally crazy to count out Wladimir as so many have done already.

The younger Klitschko was on a twenty-four win streak role when he ran out of gas against tough journeyman Ross Purity in December of ’98. Picking up his bags and moving on, he accepted defeat and continued on to punish what the heavyweight division had to offer. The 6’6” giant crushed the likes of Monte Barrett, who hit the canvas five times in a seven round TKO loss, and three months later Klitschko would spank slick American southpaw Chris Byrd for twelve rounds, dropping Byrd twice in the bout and taking away the WBO title Byrd had won from Wlad’s older brother Vitali just six months prior. With more impressive TKO victories over Ray Mercer, Frans Botha and Jameel McCline, it would appear that South African Corrie Sanders, who had already crumpled to Nate Tubbs and Hasim Rahman, wouldn’t be able to weather the storm against Klitschko, but oh how wrong we were.

In a shocking defeat to Sanders, Klitschko would taste the canvas a total of four times in a two round span, not only losing his title in the crushing loss but also earning the unwanted title of ‘glass jaw’ from many boxing fans and media. Just over a year later and after two tune-ups a rejuvenated Klitschko was back in the ring battling it out for the vacant WBO title, this time against often overlooked Indianapolis native Lamon Brewster. What would transpire in this fight would be a major upset with Brewster rallying back from the brink of defeat to stop Klitschko in the fifth round and leaving most Klitschko fans wondering what the hell happened to Wladimir. The once highly touted heavyweight who was the heir apparent to the heavyweight throne was now a washed-up jawless wonder. Despite his obvious athletic ability, it seemed that he lacked the mental conditioning to win the most coveted prize in sports. To add injury to insult Wladimir was dropped by a counter right hand from DaVarryl Williamson six months later but was spared when he received a massive gash on his forehead from a clash of heads in the fifth round, ruling the bout a TD. And after an easy disposal of Eliseo Castillo five months back here we are today, still asking the question, can Wladimir shake the monkey from his back and reestablish himself enough to make a run for the top?

One man stands in his way for another shot at the top. He is the undefeated hard hitting, highly touted, but untested Samuel Peter. The ‘Nigerian Nightmare’ plans on haunting Klitschko by putting him to sleep on September 24th in Atlantic City, but is Peter the one actually dreaming?

Twenty-four wins, twenty-one knocks and seven in the opening round, this man is a beast in the ring, especially when the opposition is limited. Peter has taken the division by storm; knocking out almost 90% of his opponents, the Nigerian has proven to be a brute in the division. Turning pro in ’01 Peter immediately began to bring his own brand of wear and tear to the opposition. His first seven bouts were all knockouts, six in the opening round before going to the cards with fight veteran Marion Wilson. In the summer of ’03 Peter defeated his toughest opponent to date, Dale Crowe for the vacant WBC Youth heavyweight title, and although ‘The Crow’ had six losses on his register they were all to decent opposition and only once was he stopped, by DaVarryl Williamson in the 3rd. Peter dropped and stopped Crowe in the 4th.

Peter moved on ahead beating the usual suspects, Charles Shufford (10 round UD), Jovo Pudar (10 round UD) where Peter struggled but came on strong, and his breakthrough fight against the experienced Jeremy Williams in December of ’04 on Showtime. Williams, a forty-six-fight veteran who is known for his hard hands and soft chin, was no match for the freight train. In the second round Jeremy dropped his right hand and stepped left and in the process ate one massive looping left hand that sent the fighter senseless and limp on the canvas, and thus Samuel Peter heavyweight contender – not pretender – was born! Three more W’s, three more KO’s and here we are today…

Samuel Peter versus Wladimir Klitschko, so who will taste the dreaded defeat?

Well, for the ones who think this will be the last of Wladimir Klitschko and be the rise of Samuel Peter you very well could be right, but in my unprofessional opinion, this is a test that Samuel Peter hasn’t studied hard enough for.

Let’s break them down.

Wladimir Klitschko, although his jaw has been exposed, is no doubt one of the most physically talented athletes in the heavyweight division; he is strong, hits hard, has skill and can throw speedy combinations. Samuel Peter, he has some serious sting in his gloves but he is a plodder, he loops his punches and hasn’t faced the level of competition that Klitschko certainly offers up. Jeremy Williams, we all knew he was being brought in as a sacrificial opponent for Peter, and while on paper it was a great win for his career, we all knew that it was only a matter of time before Williams would taste canvas. Klitschko will also test Peter’s chin in a way that it has never been tested before.

Legitimacy? Compare the competition: Monte Barrett, Chris Byrd and Jameel McCline just to name a few for Wlad. Dale Crowe, Jovo Pudar and Jeremy Williams for Sam. Compare them. They both fought Charles Shufford, could we compare that bout? It was the second time Sam went the distance in 2004 when he defeated Charles, via 10 round UD. Three years prior to that about Klitschko dropped Shufford three times en route to a sixth round TKO. But let’s forget the past; let’s just say that Klitschko has the much better experience. How about the mental state? Peter is very confident; how many times do you hear him say, “You are a walking dead man”? A little cockiness never hurt anybody, it just doesn’t win over many friends. Does Klitschko have a serious confidence complex? Many would say yes, but does confidence have anything to do with the chin? That’s what this all boils down too, who can take the most punishment, right? Can Sam KO Wlad? Of course he can, as my fellow Doghouse writer Crown J would say, “Any heavyweight with a decent punch can KO any other heavyweight”. We all have seen Klitschko fall, but to crack the egg you have to get to the nest, and one pissed off mother hen is usually protecting the fragile one. Welcome to Wladimir’s jab, yep the very punch the sets up everything, a very much useful tool in Klitschko’s bag of tricks, a weapon nearly obsolete in Sam’s arsenal. Wlad throws straight punches, Sam loops everything, Wlad is much faster with his hands, Sam is much slower and telegraphs his shots.

Unless Peter simply overwhelms Klitschko I honestly see Wladimir feeding Sam a face full of fist soup. The real question is, how good is Sam’s chin? Can he take the punishment that Wladimir will offer up before he can land that fateful punch? When swinging those clubbing paws Wlad will administer the ole one-two, and keep Sam at bay with his jab. I will go out on a limb and say Wlad’s onslaught drops Sam between rounds 4-7, yes, that is a stretch but hey isn’t it fun to make crazy predictions? No, I am not hating on Sam, good guy and all, I am not drunk and I don’t drink, I am not trying to piss off the Sam Peter fans here and I am not a Wladimir Klitschko fanatic; I’m just giving my opinion.

If Peter beats Klitschko he will have passed by far his toughest test to get a well deserved W. If he loses he can still keep on keepin’ on, it certainly isn’t the end of the world. As I stated I am not counting Peter out – that would be a crazy statement – but let’s not count out Klitschko either as many already have.
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