Samuel Peter was that one heavyweight that seemed to generate excitement simply because he could knock people out with one punch and almost stopped Wladimir Klitschko in a fight that he was losing and eventually lost. When he fought Vitali Klitschko, he was hoping to use this as a jumping point to face Wladimir one more time. The stars aligned in his favor as Vitali had not fought in four years and suffered injuries that prevented past comebacks. At the age of 37, Vitali Klitschko was trying to recover lost times and in boxing; that is a rarity.
In the first round, something became obvious; Klitschko’s jab dominated the action. Peter look befuddled and had no apparent game plan to get inside and force the issue with a fighter who had not seen action in four years. Klitschko looked like he never left the ring and his jab punctured Peter’s face and when the jab wasn’t hitting Peter, the left hook was, and if the left hook wasn’t hitting Peter’s face, the right cross was. Klitschko punches rarely missed and Peter defense consisted of blocking punches with his face; hardly the kind of strategy that wins against the Klitschko brothers.
With each round, Peter’s eyes were swelling shut. His right eye swelled because of Klitschko’s left jab and Peter’s left eye swelled because of the Klitschko’s right cross. After the eighth round, Peter’s corner did not allow Peter go back in the ring and there wasn’t any purpose. Peter hardly protested and appeared to be in agreement for the only way Peter was going to win was by knockout. Klitschko’s brothers now own the heavyweight divisions.
As for Peter, his career has run into a serious obstacle. Peter own inconsistency is becoming apparent as he has yet to show that he has grown as a fighter. In the second Toney fight and against Oleg Maskaev, Peter showed improvement but against Jameel McCline and Vitali Klitschko, he showed regression. In his lost to Vitali Klitschko, Peter did not jab often and rarely found a way to penetrate Klitschko’s jab and throughout the fight, he was the slower puncher despite being nine year younger. As a fighter, Peter is what Peter is; a heavyweight with limited skills and a big punch. Against taller boxer punchers like the Klitschko’s and McCline, he has trouble. As long as the Klitschkos are at the top of the division, Peter will not become the recognized champion of the heavyweights.
Antonio Tarver looked in the mirror and what he saw was Chad Dawson. Both fighters were similar heights and both were southpaw. Dawson was the more aggressive fighter and armed with nice body shots and Tarver had the classic straight one two punch but both were boxers and both were punchers. Tarver saw across the ring and saw a younger version of himself.
In the first round, one thing became obvious; Tarver could not match Dawson for hand speed and Dawson’s punch had more pop. While the final scores was a one sided decision for Dawson; the fight was not only entertaining but many rounds were close. Tarver stayed active over the twelve rounds but he often seemed just a split second behind.
And there were times that the old veteran reminded the youngster that he still had something. In the third round, Tarver nailed Dawson with a right uppercut and a straight left to take the round. Dawson appeared shaken and this reminded Dawson that Tarver was still dangerous.
In the fourth round, Dawson returned the favor as his quick combinations stunned Tarver briefly. In the sixth round, Dawson played possum as he allowed Tarver to chase him all over the ring. Tarver connected on a few shots but for the most part; Dawson was contented to play defense.
Sixth through the tenth round, Dawson hand speed proved to be difference as he unleashed four and five punch combinations. Tarver tried but he could not match Dawson hand speed. In the eleventh, Tarver knew that he had to knock Dawson out to win the fight and he chased Dawson once again. In a close round, Tarver may have squeezed out the round in his column but going into the final round; he was too far behind to win a decision. In the opening seconds of the twelfth, a Dawson right hook sent Tarver down but Tarver was more surprised than hurt as Dawson’s punch caught Tarver off balanced. Tarver then showed why he was a three time champion. He put himself in a higher gear and started to score on Dawson but Dawson hung on and the knockdown merely put a punctuation point to his victory.
Dawson gave up his WBC championship belt to fight Tarver and while the WBC played politics with Dawson’s career, Dawson did what was right; he fought one of the best light heavyweights in the world and he got paid a lot more than what he would have received by fighting his mandatory. Which leaves us with the question, what’s next? Dawson next big money potential bout is a fight with the winner of Joe Calzaghe-Roy Jones bout in November. As for Tarver, he showed that he has the talent to be among the elites but on this night, he was just one step slower than his youthful opponent. In the Peter-Klitschko, skill and experience proved vital but in the Tarver-Dawson; youth prevailed.