By Danny Serratelli, ringside
The combination of Duva Boxing, K-2 Promotions and Top Rank put on a top notch boxing show on Saturday night. The talent of each of the four featured fighters was evident, but it was their flaws that created the suspense and ultimately exciting results. The Main Event featured Wladimir Klitschko, (45-3, 40 KO’s) surviving the “Nigerian Nightmare” Samuel Peter, (24-1, 21 KO’s) for 12 rounds in an IBF/WBO title eliminator. In the co-feature Miguel Cotto, (25-0, 21KO’s) again showed some vulnerability, but increased his marketability with an action packed knockout victory over Ricardo Torres (29-1, 25 KO’s) in their 140 pound WBO title fight.
Wladimir Klitschko emerged from the main event with a unanimous decision after out-boxing Samuel Peter for most of 12 rounds. Klitschko must be given credit for sticking to his game plan mapped out by his trainer Emanuel Stewart and won the fight because of his newfound ability to move and to hold when he was in trouble. It appeared that the judges and most ringside observers all scored the fight exactly the same. In fact all three ringside judges scored the fight 114-111 for Klitschko giving Peter only the 3 rd, 5th and 10th rounds. They also gave Peter a 10-7 round for the two knockdowns he scored in the 5th and 1 10-8 round for the knockdown in the 10 th.
After the fight Klitschko said he did what he had to do, “find the best position and don’t give any chances to your opponent”. Manny Stewart explained that in camp they stayed away from some of the exercises and just got Wladamir used to boxing a lot of rounds, especially when he was tired, and that was the key to victory. Peter was a very gracious loser, when questioned about the scoring he said “I’m a fighter I fight and let the judges’ judge.” When asked if he could have done anything differently to win the fight, he said, “yes, knock him out”.
At 25, this fight can be a valuable learning experience for Samuel Peter. While I think you can score a fight better watching it on television then live, from ringside I gave Sam Peter more rounds then many of my colleagues or the judges. There appeared to be several rounds where Klitschko didn’t just box and move effectively, he ran and held. While running and holding is part of the game and was the smart thing to do when he was hurt and trying to clear his head, judges often differ on how they score rounds of that nature (think DeLaHoya-Trinidad). It is true that lot of Peter’s aggressiveness may not have been effective, but there were several close rounds where neither did much of anything except Peter chasing and Klitschko running. Klitschko landed a few jabs here and there, but Peter did some work that often goes unnoticed to the body. I expected if the fight went the distance scores would be all over the place, and although it is a positive thing for boxing, it was shocking to see that all three judges scored the fight exactly the same.
In the end, Wladamir did what he had to do to win the fight. He learned something he didn’t know how to do against both Corrie Sanders and Lamont Brewster and he held and boxed his way to a decision. Peter proved he can hang in there with anyone, going 12 rounds for the first time, displaying his power and a solid chin against the most experienced and talented fighter he has faced to date. Afterwards while both men were classy at the press conference, there was bad blood between the camps as Peter’s team complained of Wladimir’s holding and Klitschko’s of Peter hitting behind the head. Peter’s manager, Ivaylo Gotzev did in fact act like a sore loser, and Emanuel Stewart told him so at the press conference when he ranted and raved about Klitschko’s “masterful art of holding”. Peter wants a rematch, but Stewart basically told them they don’t want it, and they wouldn’t have taken it either if the roles were reversed. Klitschko is looking to fight again in December and wants either Byrd or Brewster soon after that so that. Their goal is for both Klitschko brothers to be champions at the same time.
In the co-feature 140 pound WBO champion, Miguel Cotto knocked out Ricardo Torres, handing him his first loss at 1:52 of round number 7. Cotto has been over-hyped and has had a lot of pressure on him throughout his rise in the 140-pound division. Despite a few tough outings and some doubts regarding his ability lately he earned a lot of respect in this fight showing he has a champions heart to go with his talent. While critics are always looking for reasons to put down a fighter who is 26-0 with 21 KO’s or 28-1, 25 KO’s, both of these guys showed a lot of heart resiliency and determination and that is what boxing is all about. Torres, came in with a stellar record, but wasn’t well known because of the fact that he was fighting for the 1st time in the US and only 2nd time outside of his native Columbia.
In a sleeper fight of the year candidate, both men came to fight. In an action packed fight in which the momentum changes several times Torres was down in round 1, and Cotto was down in round 2. Cotto regained control in the 3rd and dropped Torres again in the 4th, when it appeared Torres was ready to go. However, just when it looked over again Torres hurt Cotto again in the 5th round. Torres hurt Cotto enough in the 5th to get a 10-8 from one judge and win the round on the other two judge’s cards. Miguel Cotto did not choose to play it safe and outbox his opponent like Klitschko later and Kendall Holt did earlier in the evening, Cotto went for broke and finally stopped Torres at 1:52 of round number 7. Cotto has a lot of options at 140-pounds and as an extremely marketable fighter it will be interesting to see who he is matched with next.
Junior Welterweights, 10 rounds- Paterson, New Jersey’s Kendell Holt, 20-1, 12 KO’s (Unanimous Decision) over Vladimir Khodokovski, 12-8-2, 4 KO’s
Heavyweights – Michael Marrone (W, by DQ :45 of round 4) for excessive holding over Adam Smith 4-8-1, 1 KO
Heavyweights- (trained by Michael Moorer) JD Chapman, 16-0, 15ko’s (TKO at 2:52 of round 3) over Robert Kooser 7-4 6 KO’s
Heavyweights-Henry Akinwande 47-2-1 (KO 2:48 of round 2) over Tipton Walker 13-12-1, 6 KO’s
Middleweight- Alexander Sipos 16-0-2 8ko’s (TKO at: 53 seconds of round 3) over Steve Walker 16-13 11KO’s