PLAYING THE PICK ‘EM GAME 2011: ROBERT “THE NORDIC NIGHTMARE” HELENIUS VS. SAMUEL “THE NIGERIAN NIGHTMARE” PETER
BY PHILIP H. ANSELMO
Undefeated Robert “The Nordic Nightmare” Helenius, 14-0, 9 KO’s faces hard-punching former WBC strap holder Samuel “The Nigerian Nightmare” Peter, 34-4, 27 KO’s in Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany on April 2nd in an under-the-radar battle of heavyweights where a loss for either fighter could prove to be a true nightmare. The fight is scheduled for 12-rounds, but the odds of this match-up going the distance has to be slim. Both men have KO power and one punch could possibly end this one dramatically.
For the 6’6”1/2 Helenius, a loss would be a huge setback at this point in his career after gaining such momentum. Helenius has not taken the soft path towards contention.
Since 2009, he has bested tough Taras Bidenko (RTD 3). Stopped admittedly faded former WBO titlist Lamon Brewster in less than 8-rounds. He scored an 8-round decision over useful Gbenga Oloukun. Then he won the vacant EBU-EU (European Union) heavy trinket over undefeated, 12-0, 11 KO’s Gregory Tony, in a fight where the Frenchman hit the deck 4-times before succumbing in the 6th. And in his last go-round in November of last year he stopped one-time fringe contender Attila Levin inside 2-rounds for the vacant WBO Inter-continental bauble. Both of Helenius’ titles are on the line come fight night.
Although past his best years, Sam Peter is definitely considered a step-up-type fight for Helenius, and in truth, it is. Peter is still an experienced fighter with a KO punch in both fists. He’s battled weight issues throughout his career but looked to be in good shape in his last outing despite being stopped by the division’s best, Wladimir Klitschko, in 10-brutal rounds. But that’s the Heavyweight Champion of The World Sam lost to. Wlad is in his prime and seemingly unbeatable at this point, so there’s no shame in Peter losing the way he did. Most Wlad Klitschko opponents are eventually overwhelmed. A victory over the soaring Helenius would prove that Peter still has what it takes to fight and win at an elite level.
But there’s a catch-22 situation for Peter in this fight. If he wins, people will possibly and probably claim he beat an over-hyped prospect, and therefore his stock wouldn’t necessarily rise. But on the other hand, if he loses, Helenius’ career will take on a new level of success and Peter will completely fall into the journeyman category. This fight is a must-win for Sam without a shadow of a doubt, and as boxing fans all we can hope for is that he shows up in-shape, ready for the fight of his life. But will he? That remains to be seen.
In the other corner, a victory for the giant Swede Helenius who fights out of Stockholm Germany could and should NOT be ignored by alphabet organizations and the boxing public worldwide. Especially if he wins in style. Helenius has been brought along beautifully throughout his career, facing quality opposition whilst stepping-up competition strategically to the best of his team’s ability. Some may argue the use of the term “quality opposition”, but the proof is in the autopsy of the surgery-style of boxing he implores in the midst of opponent dissection. It’s the way Helenius wins that’s impressive. He does what he has to do to ensure victory and his KO ratio is a mounting thing. He has defeated fellow prospect David Price in the amateurs, and is miles ahead of the big Brit career-wise thus far. An impressive victory over Peter should catapult him into the Top-10, easily.
WHO WILL WIN AND HOW?
Honestly, this fight really depends on which Sam Peter shows up. Is Sam still hungry? Will he be in shape? Well, you can bet Helenius will be ready.
I expect Helenius to set the pace early with smart, controlled boxing. He uses his height to his advantage beautifully. He boxes tall very well, a la the Klitschko brothers, and he’s extremely calm about his work. Helenius can control a fight with his jab and footwork alone, so Peter will have to battle to get inside.
One thing Sam has going for him is experience fighting taller, fleet-footed fighters. He has faced both Klitschko brothers on huge stages, so there will be no initial intimidation factor. But as the rounds mount, Peter will revert to lunging tactics that’ll cost him. Helenius’ jab will land hard and often enough to make the Nigerian wary. Helenius is too smart-a-fighter to fall for any rough stuff Peter may throw at him and he counter-punches well under duress. Robert’s chin can be questioned, but to the best of my knowledge, he has never been off his feet. Peter could possibly test “The Nordic Nightmare’s” beard in this bout, which would be a very telling thing. But it won’t happen.
I expect Helenius to be victorious in what could turn out to be a one-sided contest. Helenius isn’t a murderous puncher, but his punches are thudding and accumulative. If the fight comes down to attrition, I’m going with the calmness of Helenius opposed to Peter’s desperation. Peter could possibly last until the final bell, but if history rears its head, expect him to submit, perhaps on his stool, between rounds 9-or-10.
HELENIOUS TKO 9-10 SAM PETER
If this prediction comes true, where does Helenius go from here? Will Top-10 contenders like Alexander Povetkin, Denis Boystov or even America’s Eddie Chambers avoid him like the plague?
Is he ready as a complete fighter to vie for one of the Klitschko Thrones? Perhaps, but there will still be questions about his ability at a true World Championship level. Whatever the scenario, Robert Helenius will be due a marquee type fight if he wins April 2nd.
Rumor has it that fellow undefeated prospect Tyson Fury believes he has Helenius’ number. The two have sparred numerous rounds together and Fury told yours truly that he bested the Swede every time.
“I think it’s a mental thing”, claimed the Furious One. “He’s afraid of me and I dominate him (when we spar)”.
Personally, I’d love to see this fight. If Helenius is in need of a big fight, assuming he defeats Peter, I can think of no better fight than a meeting of these two colossal, undefeated prospects. Not that I totally doubt what Fury claims, but dammit, I’d have to see the fight for myself to be convinced. Fighting under the big lights is very, very different than sparring sessions, and I suspect a different Robert Helenius would show up vs. Tyson Fury if they fought in a true situation.
So far, it’s Fury who looks to be the rawer prospect. In truth, Helenius looks miles ahead of Fury in style and composure. But I must admit, I adore Fury’s brash ways. He believes in himself, and so far he’s proven his critics wrong. If these two were to meet in the future, I believe both men could possibly put on a telling performance and intrigue fight fans worldwide.
Philip H. Anselmo is a musician, vocalist, songwriter for such groups as Pantera, Down, Super Joint Ritual and Arson Anthem. You can keep up with Phil’s latest music production and going-ons, including his video interview with former New Orleans Saints star Jeremy Shockey at www.thehousecorerecords.com
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