Conventional wisdom whispered loudly at the weigh in on Friday. Samuel Peter stepped on the scale, and the scale groaned, and asked the Nigerian politely to step the heck off, after it registered 265 pounds, the highest of Peters’ pro career.
The CW said at that moment that Peter would likely have a tough time with “Fast” Eddie Chambers, one of the better American fighters in the depressingly weak heavyweight ranks.
But CW is often bass ackwards. One hellacious left hook, one booming right hand from the hefty Nigerian could put Chambers in la-la land, and give Peter a potent comeback to that wiseacre scale, and all us snide keyboard tappers who bust on fighters for not showing discipline at the dinner table.
On this occasion, the CW stood tall. No, the scale didn’t lie on Friday, as Peter was unable to mount an effective, sustained attack on his faster, slimmer foe, and he dropped a majority decision (95-95 (Max DeLuca) 96-94 (Marty Denkin) 99-91 (Ray Corona)) to Chambers after ten rounds in the main event of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles.
TSS repeats what it said last weekend; it was no Thrilla in Manilla, not even close, but we take what we can get in this sad era of heavyweights. The win looks good on Chambers’ record, but with his less than prolific output, and continued propensity to slip into cruise control when he should be gassing it, his stock doesn’t rise as much as it could, or should. For the Nigerian, he was AIG after he quit against Vitali Klitschko. His stock is now at Sirius level. He needs to ask himself if he wants to do the kind of work in training that gives him the ammo he needs against Chambers-level foes, or not. If not, then perhaps he should savor his run, his memories, and his leftover purse money, and consider hanging ‘em up.
Chambers landed more, 193-447, to 129-679. Atlas scored it 97-93, Chambers, while TSS saw it 99-91, for “Fast” Eddie. Atlas and play by play caller Joe Tessitore scoffed at the 99-91, but I stand by it, proudly. You and me, Corona!
Peter (from Nigeria; age 28; 30-2 coming in; living in Las Vegas), the former WBC heavyweight champion who dropped his belt to Vitali Klitschko in October 2008, weighed 265 pounds on Friday, while Chambers (from Philadelphia; age 26; 33-1 coming in) was 223 pounds.
In the first, we saw that neither man entered the ring with the sort of midsection that screamed “hungry fighter.” Or, shall I say, each had a midsection that yelled “overly hungry fighter.” But, we’ve all seen fighters with less than taut physiques who can still ply their trade effectively. Chambers moved well, but mostly he slips with the upper body, rather than take himself out of range with his legs. Peter started slow. In the second, Chambers popped a sharp jab early. He was aiming for Peters’ right eye. The Nigerian targeted the body from the start, never a bad tactic. In round three, Eddie got caught on the ropes, but fought off with the aplomb of a Philly fighter. He smashed home a clean right that told Peter he wasn’t simply in with a cutey. We learned in the third that analyst Teddy Atlas almost trained Peter, about two years ago, but he didn’t want to move to Las Vegas, and Peter didn’t want to come to New York. Eddie potshotted Sam at the end of the round. Eddie’s corner complained about hip shots after the round.
In the fourth, Eddie smiled and shook his head after a Peter toss. Eddie was slipping, and blocking, quite well to this point. I could see the judges liking Eddie’s slightly higher workrate if this went the distance. Peter scored with..you guessed it… a hip shot. Peter ate another stiff right, and found himself down on the TSS card, big time. In the fifth, we saw Peter getting off balance as he tried to close the distance. Chambers didn’t throw enough to help the puffy Peter huff himself to the point of exhaustion. Atlas said at the start of the six that his report a week ago that the Nigerian hadn’t looked sharp in training was playing out, and that Chambers could take over if he stepped it up. Eddie pepped up some, and landed three right jabs, showing his confidence level. Peter’s heft didn’t help as he tried to get close to Chambers. I could see a shutout card for Eddie to this point.
In the seventh, Samuel’s shots didn’t mean business. He jabbed quarter-heartedly, but Chambers didn’t exactly exploit his condition. Eddie probably won the round with a clean right hand at the close.
Peters’ cornerman Pops Anderson told him after that he needed the last three rounds. “Huh?” the Nigerian answered.
In the eighth, Chambers played it smart. He kept moving, his feet and head, and stayed away from a hail mary bomb. But why didn’t he step on the gas, look to close the show on the immobile Nigerian. In the ninth, Eddie pumped the jab. The ex champ’s jab paled in comparison. But..who knows what the judges were seeing? Peter did try and finish the round with zest. His corner liked his effort. “One more round like that,” Anderson said. “Work!” In the tenth, Peter came out aggressively. He threw a five punch combo at the 1:55 mark. Chambers was not closing the show, and was giving away the last round. Did he think he had so many rounds in the bag? We’d let the judges decide.
After, Chambers said he thought he could've done a lot more. This is what he says after every fight, sadly. Atlas called him on it. Teddy told him not to eat too much cake on his birthday, which is Sunday. Chambers said he'd get right back into the gym, and would work on not just using the jab, and making the fight more fun for the fans.