GUTCHECK CITY - Ready and able are still question marks for Samuel Peter against heavyweight honcho Wladimir Klitschko, but theres no doubt about the willing factor.
Its been announced that Peter will be Klitschkos fill-in opponent for a September 11th Deutschland hoedown at Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt, a rematch of a good contest between the two on 9-24-05. Peter scored three walloping knockdowns in that fight, but they were just about the only real bright spots in his overall assault as Klitschko managed to hold him off otherwise and score more than enough less spectacular, just as valuable points of his own to earn a decision by scores of 114-111 from all judges.
Whether Peter will ever be able to beat one of the Klitschkos, hes proved he wants to keep trying, any chance he might get.
Peter, 34-3-1 (27), replaces Alexander Povetkin, who is said to have listened to Teddy Atlas and wanted more preparation time. Are we talking months or years?
The minimal amount of time it took to reach an agreement for another engagement says tons about the mindset of the repeat challenger, who stayed busy enough to maintain an IBF ranking right behind Povetkin. Peter actually walks the walk more than he just talks the talk. Apparently, the same type mindset that immediately cast aside cautious Povetkin subsequently calculated the Peter factor and found that he was the type contender to gladly accept any fair opportunity.
It looked like K2 Promotions made a reasonable offer, and Peter accepted. That wouldnt be so remarkable if not for the piles of putrid postponement that have gone on during the process of finalizing too many major matches.
Good for Peter, who has tried to rebound from his debacle against Vitali Klitschko in October of 2008 and a potentially career and image changing majority decision loss against Eddie Chambers the following March.
Whats not good for Peter is that his most recent win, a TKO 2 over Nagy Aguilera last March, and previous trifecta of early stoppages against usual heavy suspects before that falls far short of measuring up to the level Klitschko has been reaching lately. Peter may or may not be any better than he was at the time of his first Klitschko fight. Klitschko is definitely much, much better.
Peters fight against Aguilera was billed as an IBF eliminator, but the real eliminator is Klitschko.
So does Peter deserve the fight? He better. He got it.
Klitschko,54-3 (38), is achieving stats that are hard to ignore outside the USA. He moves and sets punches better than before, but can still get his feathers ruffled when the textbook gets tossed. Peter needs to charge like a crazy rhino, let his big hands go, and keep doing it until something gives.one way or the other.
Manager Ivaylo Gotzev sounds convincing when he swears both he and Peter believe Klitschkos target shattered chin is still there for the taking. You almost have to believe them, though the most likely scenario is that Wladimir improves on Vitalis performance with a quicker than 8 round stoppage.
Still, Peters previous knockdowns are better for the prefight hype machine than anything most recent challengers have had. They also probably played a part in Klitschko getting a rematch clause for the rematch.
The Peter camp could have tried to be cute with limit stretching demands based on tickets already being sold, or been counting on desperation from the date approaching relatively soon, the venue being secured, time of year and a substantial marketing campaign that was already in swing.
Instead, they took the fight. That simple? If so, its quite a contrast with Peter promoter Bob Arums documented headaches regarding an ever-elusive Manny Pacquiao - Floyd Mayweather contract, where each involved party seems to have an unverifiable stance on evolving issues. This time there were none of the he said, he said curveballs flying, with new sources saying new things at every turn while negotiations hit the quicksand of personal interest.
Youll notice the name Nikolai Valuev didnt come up.
In the situation of Klitschko-Peter, Arums reported summary of how things were going went from something like It should be pretty easy to get done to Its done seemingly quite smoothly, in a matter of days. It was said to remain merely a matter of formalizing the paperwork.
Fans might wince at the thought of Peter as the only viable substitute, but at least he and his team stepped up.
Bernd Boente of K2 pointed out that over 15,000 tickets had been purchased without a designated opponent. Fill in your own blanks about appropriate symbolism.
For the fans in Germany, the important thing is that the show will go on.
Count on Peter to show.
Trying to fan the flames of future finances, Klitschko trainer Emanual Steward has made repeated wisecracks about both David Haye and Alexander Povetkin remaining too intimidated and worried to ever actually face a Klitschko in the ring. So far, absolutely nothing has occurred in either Hayes or Povetkins camp to prove Stewart incorrect. Even the echo of Hayes once-inflammatory yelping has faded to the point that hes been criticized in his homeland UK fan base.
Peter may not be the ideal opponent, but at least hes ready to fight. Hes felt punches from both Klitschko brothers and hes not shy about facing more.
That brings up another questions in the division regarding Peters clout.
Would either Haye or Povetkin, who admittedly have much more potential payoff to lose in the current landscape, be willing to fight Peter at this point? Probably not without a pile of cash and concessions that went their respective ways.
The proof is probably in the punchstat pudding.
So far, despite the odds and accumulated lumps, Peter has stepped up again for better or worse. Its been all worse with no better for contenders against the Klitschkos for more than a couple years now.
At least Peter is willing to try.
How long before Haye or Povetkin can say that?
Who wins the WBO Middleweight title fight Dec. 19th?