Had you swum the length and breadth of the ocean
And seen the boundlessness out there
Still youd have seen the waves come on and on,
Even in the dread that you might disappear
-------Faust/Goethe (b 1749 Frankfurt)
FRANKFURT AM MAIN - Believe it or not, Samuel Peter was ready on Saturday night.
He just wasnt ready for Wladimir Klitschko, who looked extremely formidable inchipping away at the sturdy, repeat challenger until pulverization time arrivedfor a TKO at1:22 of the 10th round.
Peter may not have been completely rock solid, but he did hang tough a while and he showed up ready to make the Commerzbank Arena ring a very hard place.For a handful of minutes at least, Peter was a very dangerous fighter.
Maybe VKO is a better way to list the victory.
In Klitschkos case, maybe the T should stand for typical, althoughthe champion has also consistently demonstrated an excellent technical foundation for years now.Tonight once again, the conclusion came after the apparently still improving Klitschko ground Peter down,fried him up, then slapped on the finishing mustard.
Klitschko showed again that he can finish fights with plenty of explosive drama and left brave Peter flat on the floor to prove it. In this rematch Klitschko looked much stronger, slicker and maybe most important, he looked more confident than in their 2005 encounter.
I felt really great andshowed all my great fans that the Klitschkos arebestheavyweight boxersin the world, said the basically unmarked Klitschko with brotherly lovewhile a jovial Vitali was already at the victory party. Stopping Samuel required me to land a lot of good punches, and still he fought back. I delivered so many rights, which is what we worked on. And pushing andpunching in clinches. I dedicate this fight tomy fans, who always make me feel like trying to get stronger and to learn more.
Peter came out winging, and while it wasnt the most artful attack, he connected with hard thumpsall overKlitschkos arms and torso. Peter ducked low and leapt in with a pounding purpose, and a good left put some bright pink inKlitschkos slightly swollen lip. Klitschko landed cleaner shots, but only a couple. Peter was muchbusier, and probably earned the round.
Klitschko was a bit rattled, andlooked chagrined as he started round two.You could clearly hear each mans thudding connections over the noise of the crowd, and for a few fine moments it looked like we might have a real two-way battle. Then Klitschko made Peter stumble with a telephone pole straight right and the challenger looked more and more gassed from the end of the second session on.
Klitschko waited at mid-ring for the third to begin, like a coyote at dinner time. Peters right eye looked tenderized, and he reached in withmuch less behind his punches. By the fourth the fans were restless asthe big men waltzed. Peter kept trying but the only damage he caused came from lunging his head and shoulders.
In the sixth, Klitschko found the range with an uppercut hed been trying all night. It almost did the knockdown trick, but so didplenty of other blasts. Peter bobbed, weaved, heaved for the heavens and missed by a meter. The puffy-faced Peter hung on. Then he hung on some more.
Peter managed to maul his way inside the danger zone of Klitschkos most damaging crosses, until a point in the ninth round when Klitschkos left had Peter ready to go, not gently.
In round ten, Klitschko scored with short, sweeping hooks from each side. WhenPeter was sent reeling backward Klitschko came over the top with rare ferocity. Various grazing leather initiateda highlight reel series offive pitch-perfect Klitschkorights. By now Peter couldnt defy the imposed gravity and was sprawled flat on his back as referee Robert Byrd started a count, considered the damage, thenwaved it off instead.
Klitschko had his arms raisedby the time Peter slammed into the canvas.
I didnt want to back up like in the first fight, said Klitschko. This fight went exactly as Itrained for, except Samuel was even stronger than I thought. I want to thank everyone on my team, who have all helped me get better year after year.
I dont know what comes next, but I hope to have another fight this year in early December. Im tired of talk about David Haye because he offended my family, then wouldnt fight. Now hes fighting for the title of London or something like that. If a Haye fight actually happens I couldmake it short, but I will make it last and I will enjoy it, then I will knock him out in the 12th round. I hope a fight with either he or (Alexander) Povetkin happens this year, otherwise, whatever. Im not worried about it.
Theres the Klitschkos and then theres everybody else, added trainer Emanuel Steward, who seems to be enjoying the European tour,retirement padding ride.
Im not even going to say the names of people who wont fight. This will never happen in boxing again, where there are brothers who no top contender wants to fight even for championships and big paydays. It doesnt matter whos next, theyre all the same asfar as Im concerned. The most logical fight next would be Tomasz Adamek, if possible, so we might aim for him.Hed be a good opponent for (a fight in) the US because he can fill arenas on the east coast. He beat Chris Arreola, which I didnt think hed do, and at least he really wants to fight.
Klitschko closed the show early enough for the crowd tomake the final trains for Frankfurts vibrant riverfrontpubs and clubs. The arena, which had been evacuated earlier for some sort of undisclosed emergency, seeminglyemptied like a fast forward time lapse immediately after post fight fireworks and Klitschkos brief speech to the swarm.
That may have been helped by the security team, as soon the only people left in the place were technicians and afew hundred partiersin the sweet,makeshift VIP section on the arena floor. Time for Klitschko Promotions version of the walk out bout. Re-que the buffets, refill the glass. Try a little Peach Melba with that Sherry-basted slab.Stadium lightsbecame part of the DJ set. At first, Vitalis wife and son were the only ones on the dance floor.
With various high-end liquor stations staffed by formally festive troops happy hosts and hostesses, folks got loose quicker than Peter lost two-armedammo. It was Ukranian vodka hangover prep time for some who aimed to drink their euros worth, but still a family type scene with no visible fools.
For now,it seems like the Klitschkos privateparty in the heavyweight division could go on indefinitely. There are a lot of football stadiums in Germany, and the K2 fight night road show is a proven success. The biggest question could be how long even minimally qualified opponents will be available.
Cuff time critics will minimalize the victory and those critics will be wrong.
Sometimes the energy from a heavyweight fight seems so strong you get a tangible sense ofawesome power, like watching early morning stars abovea deserted Hoover Dam outside Vegasand listening to the crackling buzz of electric lines.
There was that kind of juice for some of the Larry Holmes, Mike Tyson, or Evander Holyfield fights I saw in the 80s-90s. And yes, for a couple rounds there was that kind ofaura emitting from the ring in Frankfurt.
For historical perspective, think HolmesTKO 10David Bey in 1985. Holmes arguably reached a performance peak that was the highest offistianas modern era, if not in the history of the sport. Bey took on a near primeHolmes with approximatelythe success Peter had. Peter would probably beat David Bey 10 times out of ten, and thats no insult to Bey.
Suchchronological comparisonswill always beunproven, but at timesKlitschko looked incomparable to all but the very best in history.
Just because Klitschko made beating Peter look easy doesnt mean it would have been for anyone else. Peter was in much better shape here than against Vitali in 08.
Peter looked dejected in his corner after the contest, but he had nothing to be ashamed of. He had fought hard, if ineffectively, against the best big boxer on the planet in what might have been Klitschkos best overallshowing.
Tonights pre-entrance video extravaganza featured a series of clips in which Klitschko was seamlessly inserted into old frames with Muhammad Ali in iconicfootage that presented them as contemporary equals. Though Ali was given proper prestige, it was still a bit of a presumptive stretch. Conscientiously classy Klitschko should continue to let his actions speak louder than his words.
Wellgive Klitschko, whoacted more cockythan usual during the promotion, a pass for getting a little footloose on some holy boxing ground.
Frankfurts favorite son is probably Johann Wolfgang VonGoethe, whos two-part take on the Faust saga covered many of the same philosophical issues of truth, love and perception that come up when discussing the heavyweight landscape and Klitschkos all-time place in it.
During Klitschkos early run through contention he showed flaws and paid for them.
Now hes improving on excellenceala the great Manny Pacquiao.
Klitschko isnt Ali, but inwhat probably amounts to this secondstage of Klitschkos championshipstatus, it looks like someone will have to deal with quite a devil if anybodys going to beat the worthy champ.
Go on, say it.If only for Saturday in Frankfurt witharound 40,000 witnesses.
Would you pay to see Manny Pacquiao vs Saul Alvarez?