Saturday from the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Samuel “The Nigerian Nightmare" tries to turn out the lights on the once-promising career of Wladimir Klitschko. Many people feel the hopes of the heavyweight division lie in the heavy hands of Peter, who is still very young, raw and untested in the upper echelon of the division.
While Sam Peter has beaten all 24 fighters he has faced, winning 21 times by knockout, the best opposition he has faced is Taurus Sykes, himself very unproven. On the other side of the ring is the giant Wladimir Klitschko, former WBO Heavyweight Champion and a fighter who has beaten the likes of current IBF titleholder Chris Byrd, title-challengers Monte Barrett, Ray Mercer and Jameel McCline, among others. Klitschko certainly has the resume of a heavyweight champion, whereas Peter carries the hopes of the future with him as they square off Saturday night.
HBO will broadcast this intriguing heavyweight fight as questions abound as to whether Peter will be able to pass his first major test, and how he holds up to the heavy shots that Wladimir is sure to land. Looking at Klitschko, it will either be a career ending bout or the rebirth of his championship form as Emanuel Steward continues in his attempts to rebuild the former champ.
From a wagering perspective we have looked at this fight in terms of whether there is an opportunity to make some money. I think there is.
When the bout was first announced my knee-jerk reaction was that somebody was going to get stopped and the fight wouldn’t go the 12-round distance (it is scheduled for 12 rounds, as it is a title eliminator for both the IBF and WBO). Apparently the odds-makers thought the same thing as the total rounds posted for the fight is:
Over 6.5 Rounds +125
Under 6.5 Rounds -145
Clearly the thinking is that someone is going to get knocked out – it could be early or late – and thus the number is just over the midway point of the scheduled rounds, but you pay a higher price to bet Under. Remember that for wagering purposes 6.5 seconds represents 6 completed rounds and 1 minute 30 seconds of the 7th round. The number does seem “right” so we won’t be taking a position on the Total rounds.
The odds for winning the bout have 25-year-old Samuel Peter a -160 favorite (you must risk $160 to profit $100) to defeat Wladimir Klitschko, while backing Klitschko could earn you $140 for every $100 put at risk. Considering the great difference in competition the line may seem a tad on the high side for the “Nigerian Nightmare”; then again, when you consider the recent form of “Steelhammer” Klitschko one could argue the line is low. That is why we must assess whether there is any value in wagering on either side, and then shop around the best price in the market.
Besides the shattering defeats suffered by Wladimir Klitschko, and more importantly the manner in which he has lost, we find much to suggest that Samuel Peter is the way the play this fight. At least twice now the big little brother Klitschko he has run out of gas during a bout – the first time in 1998 against Ross Puritty and then again versus Lamon Brewster in April of last year. In losing to Corrie Sander in 2003, Klitschko seemed like he had no idea what to do once hurt, and ended up being dropped four times in fewer than four minutes of action. More recently against DaVarryl Williamson, Wlad looked like he again was running out of gas and appeared to be in trouble trying to handle the power of Williams.
Facing a stocky stout fireplug like Samuel Peter, Klitschko will have to contend with heavy punches coming from awkward angles, and then be able to absorb them and labor on. As noted, Peter seems built to last the distance with his 6’1”, 245-pound frame designed to take punishment and keep on. His legs are big, neck thick, and he has never been in trouble so far in his career. Assuming that Peter won’t be stopped, the 6’6”, 245-pound Wlad will have to use his reach to keep the Nigerian off him, but doing so for the distance of the fight is a tall order.
Looking at the way the giant Klitschko has crumbled in his previous fights, I simply cannot see him lasting twelve rounds without his chin and will being tested, and feel he will fall short once more.
Samuel Peter isn’t the savior that the heavyweight division needs, but he will be my favorite fighter after I cash a winning ticket on him as a -160 favorite this Saturday . . . until my next wager.
(All information is presented for entertainment purposes only.)