Five years ago, Wladimir Klitschko received three scares in the forms of knockdowns against slugger Samuel Peter. But tonight (September 11), Klitschko proved his has significantly improved by administering a methodical, late TKO beating in their championship rematch.
Peter ventured to ring first under blue lights with 2Pac’s ominous “Hail Mary” blaring throughout the arena. Klitschko improved on Peter’s intro with a creative viral clip that spliced his image into a press conference with Muhammad Ali, and also playing Drew “Bundini” Brown’s part for The Greatest’s signature phrase “Float like butterfly, sting like bee…”
From round one, Wladimir Klitschko controlled the pace and distance with his jab much like Ali did in his early 70s career. Peter’s hard but wild hooks were nothing but flailing shots, and he caught a jolting straight right hand that would be a harbinger for the punishment to come.
Wladimir opened up round two by smacking Peter repeatedly with short, clubbing left hooks. Even this early, the Ukrainian already had Peter timed. Klitschko would reflexively dip out of range whenever the Nigerian challenger winged his desperation hooks. Peter’s right eye began to swell, and his demeanor showed a fighter who knew his chances to win this bout were slowly ebbing away.
Before the third, a confident Emmanuel Steward informed Klitschko to maintain his pace and expect a stoppage in the later rounds.
“All you have to do is watch for the hooks,” he said. “You’re breaking him down very slowly. He’s like a drunk man now.”
The champion favored the straight right in the early rounds. As the bout progressed, Klitschko now looked to the land the right uppercut with regularity. At times Samuel Peter was able to avoid the shot or stifle his opponent’s power. But several times in the sixth Peter fell victim to the punch. The full extent of the beating showed on his face, most notably in the large mouse under his right eye.
After seven rounds of one-sided punishment, Peter’s trainer Abel Sanchez gave him a ultamatum.
“You don’t look like you want to fight to me. I’ll stop it,” he warned.
The eighth nor the ninth round proved any better for the Nigerian Nightmare. The pace had slowed considerably due to clinching from both men. But while Klitschko rested, Peter was still receiving debilitating shots four to five times a round. Although Wladimir was pitching a shutout, Steward was not content with a routine decision. Much like his chastisement to Lennox Lewis for being passive with a spent Mike Tyson in 2002, Steward implored Klitschko to not allow himself to get clinched and finish Peter.
“If you put punches together you’ll stop this guy,” Steward promised. “Take a step back.It’s getting to be an ugly fight and you’ll go 12 rounds.”
On the other end of the spectrum, Peter trainer Abel Sanchez vowed to give his fighter three minutes to show improvement.
“I’m going to give you one more round,” he said with the concern for Sam Peter’s health etched on his face.
One more round was all Wladimir Klitschko needed. For the first time in the fight, Klitschko used his strength to push Peter off and rained down combinations in the form of straight rights, left hooks and right uppercuts. Peter was too drained from the rounds of abuse, and floundered around the ring before collapsing as the referee stopped the massacre.
“I feel I boxed well tonight,” Klitschko explained in the post fight interview. “He tried to put on pressure early with that left hand. In the end it was a comfortable victory and I enjoyed it…I have a lot of respect for Samuel Peter and I think he deserves a round of applause. He was very tough and very game.”
With the win, Wladimir Klitschko retains his IBF and WBO titles, and improves to 55-3 with 49 KOs. Samuel Peter falls to 34-4 with 27 KOs.