Peter To Face Vitali Klitschko

By Boxing News - 03/12/2008 - Comments

Newly crowned WBC heavyweight champion Samuel Peter (30-1, 23 KOs) will be making his first title defense against former heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko after the WBC came forward and made Vitali the mandated opponent for Peter. This is unfortunate in that nary a soul want to see Peter take on Vitali Klitschko, mostly because of his extended inactivity which accounts for three years without one bout during that time. The fight that people want to see is Peter vs. Wladimir Klitschko, Vitali’s brother, the current IBF heavyweight champion.

Wladimir has already fought Peter once before in 2005, and the fight was a hard fought bout in which Klitschko was knocked down several times. He did outbox Peter enough to get the decision but he was close to being stopped in the 11th round after a particular bad knockdown. Over the last three years, Peter has slowly established himself as one of the top fighters, perhaps the second best heavyweight in the division after Wladimir.

As for Vitali, he’s done nothing in the ring since retiring from the sport in 2005. He’s been largely forgotten by the general public, who have moved on and adopted new favorites such as Peter and Wladimir in the heavyweight division. It seems rather odd to most fans, not to mention unsporting, to have Vitali, 36, artificially thrust to the head of the line to take on Peter in his first defense when others who have worked hard all this time, like Wladimir, arte pushed aside for the time being. I’m sure Wladimir is quite alright with Vitali getting a shot at the time, possibly knowing that this may be his only shot at a title given his advanced age and recent history of chronic injuries to both his back and his knees.

Yet it’s clearly not a fight that the fans want to see nor the cable networks, who correctly see this as a situation that doesn’t seem quite fair on the face of it. With his many injuries, many of them coming consecutively leading to multiple cancellations for defending his heavyweight title in 2005 to Hasim Rahman, it’s doubtful that Vitali will ever make it into the title bout against Peter. This could lead to a lot of disappointed fans, who got their hopes up as they waited for months for the perspective Peter vs. Vitali Klitchko bout, only to have it erased with yet another injury for Vitali. If he does actually make it to the bout in one piece, I have serious doubts that he’ll have enough skills left to beat a fighter as powerful as Peter.

Even in his prime, injury free, Peter would be a difficult opponent for Vitali to beat, but with all this time away from boxing, and with the injuries to his back and knees, Vitali will be almost a crippled fighter. This could very well end up with Vitali getting blown out quickly by Peter, who will likely come right at Vitali, knowing that he probably won’t have the power or skills to fend him off for long. In his last bout against Danny Williams in December 2004, Vitali was incredibly slow and breathing hard after the first few rounds of the fight. Though he ended up stopping Williams in the 8th, Vitali looked ragged by the fights end – hardly like a champion.

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