Kubrat Pulev vs. Samuel Peter – Official weights
By Jeff Aranow: Heavyweight contender Kubrat Pulev (23-1, 12 KOs) weighed in on Friday in coming in at 251 pounds for his scheduled 12 round fight against former world title challenger Samuel Peter (36-5, 29 KOs) this Saturday night at the Arena Armeec in Sofia, Bulgaria. The two fighters will be battling for the vacant their WBA Intercontinental Heavyweight title.
Peter looked pretty out of condition in weighing in. This isn’t the well-conditioned looking Samuel Peter we saw in his first fight against former heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko 11 years ago in 2005.
Peter weighed 243lbs for the first Klitschko fight. But ever since then, Peter’s weight has slowly been creeping upwards to the point where he weighed an incredible 291lbs just two fights ago against Ron Aubrey in September 2014. Sadly, Peter didn’t look much better at today’s weigh-in.
The 35-year-Pulev’s weight was the highest for him since his match against journeyman Joey Abell three years ago in December 2013. Pulev weighed in at 253lbs for that fight, and ended up stopping Abell in the 4th round.
Peter, 36, weighed in 10 pounds heavier than in his previous fight against Juan Carlos Salas last October. You would assume that Peter would have worked harder on his weight for the Pulev fight, given that this is a much tougher and important fight than his last match. But it’s unclear how much time Peter was given to prepare for the contest. Peter’s fight against Salas was last October. It’s hard to believe he’s put on so much weight in such a short period of time.
15,000 of Pulev’s fans are expected to be showing up on Saturday night to cheer him on. He’s going to need to be careful against Peter in the early rounds. Peter is still a very dangerous fighter in the first four rounds of his fights nowadays. In his last defeat against Robert Helenius five years ago, Peter looked powerful early on, but he quickly gassed out and was stopped by the 6’6” Helenius. An in shape Peter is a much more of a threat for anybody in the heavyweight division. Unfortunately, Peter hasn’t been in really great shape for the last six years of his career, and today is no exception.
Pulev doesn’t look as good as he did when he fought Wladimir Klitschko two years ago and lost by a 5th round knockout. Pulev has put on a little weight, and he looks like he’s aged a little. Pulev has fought just three times since his loss to Wladimir in beating 42-year-old George Arias, 40-year-old Maurice Harris and Dereck Chisora. Pulev looked decent against Chisora, but far from exceptional.
Pulev was getting hit in the fight, and won the match based on his superior jab and reach. Chisora did not fight with the confidence of old that we’d seen him in many of his past fights. It appears that Chisora’s second defeat at the hands of Tyson Fury in 2014 might have taken some of his confidence away. That was good news for Pulev, because a prime version of Chisora would have been a problem for him.
This fight is a big deal for the 35-year-old Pulev, because it’ll be the first fight of his seven-year pro career in which he’s fought in front of his own hometown fans in his native Bulgaria. Up until now, the 6’4 ½” Pulev has largely fought in Germany, where he’s promoted by Sauerland Events. It’s unknown why Sauerland has brought Pulev back to Bulgaria to fight.
Is Pulev no longer bringing in the German boxing fans for his fights in Germany or what? Whatever the case, Pulev is ranked high with the IBF at #2 and WBC at #3. He cannot afford to have any slipups against Peter, because it would dash his chances of getting a world title shot in the future. Even if Pulev keeps winning, he likely won’t get a world title shot until 2018. The current champions Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua appear to have other fighters they’re targeting for 2017 rather than Pulev.
There’s little chance of Pulev losing before he gets another crack at a world title with the way Sauerland is matching him. Pulev is mainly fighting old timers now. Peter has to be seen as an old timer as well, because he’s no longer a relevant fighter ranked in the top 15 in the heavyweight division, and he’s roughly 30 pounds over his prime fighting weight.
Pulev didn’t do a great job in his only title shot of his career two years ago against Wladimir Klitschko. Pulev was knocked down repeatedly in getting stopped in the 5th round. Pulev had no defense for Wladimir’s left hook. Once Wladimir realized that Pulev was a sucker for a left hook, he kept nailing him with that punch over and over again with great success.
Sauerland can probably speed up the process of Pulev getting another world title shot if they would match him against a contender like Luis Ortiz, Alexander Povetkin, Dillian Whyte, Bermane Stiverne or Jarrell Miller. That’s not likely to happen though. They appear to be more interested in matching Pulev carefully by putting him in with weaker old guys. The method that Sauerland is using to get Pulev a title shot is a safe one, but it’s also a route that is going to wind up taking a lot longer. When Pulev eventually gets his title shot and possibly loses, Sauerland might want to consider pushing a faster pace of rebuilding him for his next title shot, because it might take too many years if they use the current method. If Pulev doesn’t fight for a world title until 2018, then it’ll have taken him four years from his last title shot in 2014. That’s not good when you’re 35 like Pulev. He needs to be moved faster the way that Alexander Povetkin is being moved.
Official weights on the Pulev vs. Peter card:
Otto Wallin: 249 ½ pounds vs. Raphael Zumbano Love: 255lbs
Tervel Pulev: 204 1/2lbs vs. Tomislav Rundan: TBC*
Tim-Robin Lihaug: 174lbs vs. Gergo Horvath: 170lbs
Leon Bunn: 178 1/2lbs vs. Gordan Glisic: TBC*
Plamena Dimova: 113lbs vs. Ana Simeonova: 113lbs