Confirmation the clash between Oleg Maskaev and Samuel Peter for the WBC Heavyweight championship will take place on October 6th at Madison Square Garden was announced this week. A solid fight between two punchers, one with a chin, one without. The winner is expected to be forced to accommodate returning champion Vitaly Klitschko next time out. Its easy to see why Maskaev was eager to snatch a soft defence versus Peter Okhello, a fighter for whom world-title fights should be a spectator sport, in his most recent outing. Peter then Klitschko is a tough run.
The fight could prove an exciting one, Maskaev is rarely in a dull fight and Peter looked a far more rounded fighter in victory over James Toney – though his clubbing right hand remains his principle weapon. For the veteran Russian, a late bloomer in traditional vernacular, a puppy at 38 in the modern heavyweight division, the Peter fight offers yet another opportunity to prove his 12 fight winning streak is a truer reflection of his abilities than his erratic youth.
In the last twelve, he’s stopped Hasim Rahman to win the title, snapped the unbeaten record of David Defiagbon and outpointed game Turk Sinan Samil Sam over ten rounds. He’s gained confidence from the belt too. Fashionable though it is to suggest Peter will detonate the big right hand on Maskaev’s chin at some point, Maskaev has lost by stoppage to David Tua, Oliver McCall, Kirk Johnson and giants Corey Sanders – not that one the other one – and Lance Whittaker, I can see Maskaev causing Peter problems. Although there is no escaping the stoppage defeats that cast an unfortunate shadow across the Russian born, American citizen’s record, closer inspection suggests doubts about his chin are, to a degree, unfair.
The defeat to Tua, then 26-0, was Maskaev’s 12th fight having already lost to a 26-6 Oliver McCall in his 7th bout. Maskaev didn’t have any pampering in the early days.
On the under card, renown underachiever Andrew Golota, who could have been a heavyweight champion a decade ago ago with a little luck and a bucket or two of sanity, seeks to rejoin the heavyweight mix in a ten round bout with Kevin McBride. The giant Irishman, is himself looking to move forward having briefly threatened to emerge as a contender following victory over a shot Mike Tyson two years ago. Badly advised, or mislead, depending on your perspective the Clones Colossus held out for too much money in profile bouts and ended up knocked out by an aspiring club fighter, Mike Mollo, for chump change.
The Irish and Polish contingents will boost the gate and beer sales too.
Two more veterans, this time from the Light-Middleweight division, face off as they bid to rekindle the flame of youth. Jose Antonio Rivera and Daniel Santos will be hoping to regain a foothold following defeats in profile bouts. Rivera comes to the fight more active, and that could prove a crucial advantage; Santos has a single round to his name since defeat to Sergiy Dzinziruk cost him his WBO belt in December 2005. A defeat in part due to Santos quest to entertain and the departure from his usual fighting style that represented.
So which bout is the good, the bad and the ugly? Pretty obvious isn’t it?