Live Saturday night from the Staples Center in L.A. (Showtime), James “Light Out” Toney meets Samuel “The Nigerian Nightmare” in a WBC heavyweight eliminator to determine who gets the first shot at the new WBC king Oleg Maskaev. Peter has youth, size and strength on his side, but he’s a raw, unproven work in progress. By contrast, Toney is old and overweight, but he’s probably forgotten more boxing than Peter will ever know. This is a crossroads fight for both men. The winner goes on to bigger and better things. This is how The Sweet Science writers see James Toney vs. Samuel Peter.

Conventional wisdom dictates that the 25-year-old Peter will knock out the 37-year-old veteran. He's bigger. He's stronger. And he's younger. But James Toney is no ordinary 37-year-old heavyweight and, despite a body that appears to be falling apart on him, he is still a force in a division that he's not suited for. The experience “Lights Out” has built up over a 76-fight career is staggering. However, Toney will have to be in shape to pull this one off. The guess is that he will be, and he will take a comparative pup like Peter to school. Toney looks his best against one-dimensional punchers, and Peter fits the bill. Toney by unanimous decision.
Matthew Aguilar

It is tough to bet against James Toney, even a 38-year-old Toney whose heavy weight suggests an aversion to proper training. The veteran of 77 fights is a natural in the ring, relaxed enough to go the distance even if he isn’t in the best shape. While Sam Peter may have the biggest punch in boxing, his flawed skills and low punch output won’t allow him to land a clean blow on the slick Toney. Toney will pick his spots and win enough rounds to beat Peter by decision.
David Berlin

I’ve seen James Toney scoring a unanimous decision over Dominick Guinn and I got bored after a few minutes. The two guys stayed so close to each other that a casual fan could have thought it was a sumo match. If Toney fights like that against Samuel Peter, the Nigerian will knock him out soon. Peter won’t accept a fight on the short distance because he doesn’t need to: he will have to jab for a while before launching a large hook to the face, like the one who crushed Jeremy Williams. The Nigerian Nightmare is more powerful and hungrier than Toney. I would give him a chance against everybody in the heavyweight division. On the other hand, I consider Toney overrated. He wouldn’t stand a chance against IBF champion Wladimir Klitschko. He is not fast enough to dance around WBA champion Nicolay Valuev and hit him at will, like Larry Donald did. WBO champion Sergei Liakhovich is too hungry to refuse anybody’s challenge and… to let them survive. WBC champion Oleg Maskaev KOed twice Hasim Rahman against whom Toney just got a draw. I say Peter by KO in five rounds.
Luca De Franco

How do you pick James Toney to lose? The guy has beaten the odds most of his career. Still, he hasn't faced a fighter with the heavyweight power of Peter. That includes Rahman and Holyfield. I can't see either one of these guys getting stopped, so I'm picking Peter to win by decision. I'm going with my heart instead of my head.
Rick Folstad

My original prediction was Peter by decision thinking that Toney would show up in terrible shape like he did against Rahman. After seeing Toney at the Pechanga Casino where he looked in pretty good shape, I have to change that prediction to a Toney victory by UD.
Ralph Gonzalez

Two pachyderms butting bellies on Saturday night is really an exciting thought. This could wind up on 2006's “Yawners of the Year.” The pick here is the fat heavyweight Sam Peter by unanimous decision over the fat cruiserweight, even fatter light heavyweight and obese middleweight named James Toney. This one gets TIVO'd…I'll watch it after the wife and I get back from a movie!
Randy Gordon

Toney is just too smart for Sam Peter, and will win by unanimous decision. Like it or not, Toney for all his profane ways, will come out on top.
Amy Green

James Toney, like one of my favorite writers, will not miss a meal. He shall frustrate peter until such time as gets a hankering for some good cheese Danish, at which time he will invite the Nigerian Nightmare out to his favorite snack bar. There, they will not fight over the tab and an otherwise lackluster evening will end in a Dutch treat – a draw – and everyone shall say that if Toney were only in shape….nah, Toney on points.
Michael Katz

This one shapes up as another Nightmare for the Nightmare. We'd be shocked to see Toney go down once, much less thrice, and the last guy the Nigerian put down that many times STILL won the fight. Peter is inarguably the stronger of the two, but in virtually every other aspect we can think of he's the runner-up. James might not stop him, but unless something is terribly wrong he should convincingly outpoint the Nightmare. Toney in a comfortable decision.
George Kimball

If both men come in lighter than their previous fights then we could have an exciting bout. Toney is as crafty and talented as they come, he just loses focus sometimes as his eyes wander to the buffet. Peter too can be a bit soft in the midsection so the weigh-in might be worth watching. Assuming they come in decent condition I expect Toney to control the pace of the fight with his accurate combinations and superior boxing ability. Peter will be looking to cripple Toney with his heavy blows but Toney can smother Peter in-close and block shots so that nothing lands clean. Peter will land the harder punches but James Toney will land more often and that will give him the decision win.
Joey Knish

At this point in his career, James Toney is too old and too heavy to compete with a monster like Peter. Eventually, the cigar smoking, partying, eating, and under-training will take its toll on the “round mound of the pound for pound.” Expect Peter to wear down Toney en route to a 10th round TKO victory.
Evan Korn

I like James Toney, always have. It doesn't bother me he spews more venom than a spitting cobra but when he starts looking like “Fat Bastard” from the Austin Powers movies, I draw the line. My guess is he'll literally roll in to the weigh-in wearing a Scottish Kilt and smoking a cigar. Call me old school but a fighter needs to be fit and going from middleweight to heavyweight is not a sign of the dedication or fitness needed to engage in combat. At least not in my world. Maybe Stanley Ketchel could hang with Jack Johnson (almost) but no one was calling him “Tubby” or “The Fat Man.” Nobody doubts Tubby's skill but the gig is up and Jenny Craig's is-a-callin. Peter is younger, bigger, stronger, faster and hits harder than John Luiz or Hasim Rahman. He doesn't have the skills Toney has but it won't matter – Samuel Peter surprises everyone, including Toney and blasts him out in 6.
Scott Mallon

It doesn't seem to matter how out of shape Toney looks, he always seems to be able to outpoint even the most dangerous heavyweights. There's no reason to think he won't do that again here. Toney W 12.
Robert Mladinich

Samuel Peter means to show people what Goliath should’ve done to David. It’ll be his undoing. Not that he has a choice; it’s the only thing he knows how to do, until he doesn’t have the energy to do it. But the sight of Toney without a robe should energize him.  So, from the opening bell, he’ll press and throw a metronome jab and load-up with everything. Initially, Toney’ll give ground and look sluggish – land sporadically (nothing eye-catching), making those anxious for his come-up pence rub their hands together, tasting his annihilation. But Toney’s as lethargic as Jim Brown after a gang tackle. He’ll turn Peter’s aggression into opportunities to counter. As fatigue sets in, he’ll land more cleanly, weather and roll with in-coming, and be a clear winner after 12.
Joe Rein

James Toney is smaller, older, and far less imposing looking compared with his younger, Herculean opponent, Sam Peter. Yet, his age and his seemingly unconditioned physique hasn't stopped him before and I don't see it stopping him in this fight. Peter's a helluva puncher, but he's raw and that inexperience showed against Klitchko and will be a major factor against Toney, who knows the ropes as well as anyone. Peter will oblige to Toney's trademark inside fighting, and in doing so, throw any chances of victory away. Toney by decision.
Benn Schulberg

James Toney’s competitiveness in the heavyweight division has given hope to fat, short men everywhere. However, he is getting too old and too big to continuously counterpunch for 12 straight rounds. It was evident in his bout with Hasim Rahman and will be further apparent in his upcoming fight with Samuel Peter. However, Toney’s strong chin matched with Peter’s poor defense will allow “Lights Out” to be competitive, but lose a close fight. Peter by decision.
Aaron Tallent

Puncher's chance aside, anyone with enough technique and durability to avoid Peter's heavy hands gives Samuel real trouble. Toney certainly fits that bill, so logic points to a slow-paced, sloppy points win for Toney. Still, it could get good and wild if Peter can land two big punches in a row, or if Toney really does try for a punishing finish… It turns out Don King will have Nicolay Valuev in tow around Staples to steal some thunder, but it will also show how much relatively low risk-high reward stakes exist in the heavyweight division these days. If Toney and Peter both come out and fight like they really want further spoils, it could be the big boy brawl of the season.
Phil Woolever