Oleg Maskaev vs Samuel Peter
Dino Duva, president of Duva Boxing, the promoter of WBC no. 1 contender Samuel Peter, was very emotional about the fact that the sacred Madison Square Garden boxing ring has been retired before Peter’s October 6 World Heavyweight Title fight against Oleg Maskaev, and not after the fight. “Yesterday, I had chills the entire time during the MSG ring retirement ceremony,” said Duva.
“Anyone whose life has been boxing had to feel that way. I was always told that the plan was to retire the ring AFTER the October 6 event, meaning Samuel would be able to be the last fighter to win a world championship in this sacred ring. “It was a bush league, disrespectful manuever by Dennis Rappaport, to insist on that clause changing the size of the ring without my knowledge or approval,” added Duva. “And this was all over a one and a half foot total difference in ring size!
“Not that one and a half feet, or even ten feet, would make a difference in the outcome,” wrapped up Duva. “There will be a major victory for Samuel, but it would have been wonderful for Sam to be the last Champion in history to walk out of that ring.”
“However, there will be a sliver lining to this: Samuel Peter will now be the FIRST fighter in history to win a world title in the new MSG ring, which I’m sure over time will have an equal amount of history to it.”
Quotes From Peter and Maskaev
WBC Heavyweight World Champion Oleg Maskaev, and his impending challenger Samuel Peter joined “Smokin” Joe Frazier, Emile Griffith, Iran Barkley and a host of world-class prizefighters at Madison Square Garden today to retire the historic boxing ring that has hosted world championship title fights since 1925.
Frazier, Maskaev and Peter conducted the ceremonial 10-count to officially retire the ring by striking the Garden’s original brass bell. The bell, the one that has adorned the Garden’s ring for 82 years, will continue in service alongside the new boxing ring that will host Maskaev and Peter when they clash for the WBC heavyweight world championship on Oct. 6, 2007 (live on SHOWTIME, 10 p.m. ET/PT).
Following the ceremony, the fighters met with members of the media for one-on-one interview sessions.
Oleg Maskaev: 34-5, 26 KOs – Fighting out of Staten Island, N.Y. by way of Zambuhl, Kazakhstan
“It is a big honor to be in this ring with all these great champions today, especially here at Madison Square Garden. This is a big event for me in my life. Oct. 6 will be a big event as well. It’s a big test for me to get through.
“In my career, every fight is a special fight. If you loose the opportunity to defend your world title, then that is it, you’re out.
“It is one job to win the world title. It is another job to defend it.”
“There is much more pressure on you to defend the title. You have to be a champion in every way. You have to be a champion in training, a champion on days like today and a champion on the street. This, here today, is part of being a world champion.
“I have a big responsibility to my friends, my fans, my family and my children and all of their friends. I can’t let them down.
“This is my motivation. I put pressure on myself and that pressure has helped me prepare for this fight. It helps me keep my focus.”
Sam Peter: 28-1, 22 KOs – Fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev. by way of Akwa Ibom, Nigeria
“I am very disappointed that I could not win the heavyweight world championship in this sacred ring – in its last fight. But I am equally as excited that I will win my heavyweight championship in the very first fight in a new ring. I am honored that I will be the first world champion to bless it… the new ring.
“It is great to be around so many of these great champions. Frazier, Hopkins, Barkley, everybody. We have been in this ring for nearly an hour today and it really is an exciting experience, a special day. No one can take that from me.
“On Oct. 6, I will be making history of my own. I have waited a long time for this opportunity and I am not going to let Maskaev leave this building with the title. In 100 years, when they retire the new boxing ring, they will have to say that ‘Sam Peter was here in 2007, he knocked out Maskaev for the title. What a great night for boxing’.
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