Peter Splits His Way to Victory
Samuel Peter became the mandatory challenger to WBC champion Oleg Maskaev by winning a disputed 12-round split decision over James Toney in a WBC heavyweight elimination bout. Photo: Tom Casino/Showtime
LOS ANGELES – Samuel Peter proved to be James Toney’s worst nightmare Saturday on Showtime. In a hard-fought heavyweight brawl that featured excellent exchanges and few clinches, Peter registered a hotly disputed, 12-round split decision over Toney in a World Boxing Council (WBC) elimination bout at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.
In the Showtime Championship Boxing co-feature, Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero dominated defending champion Eric “Mighty Mouse” Aiken to win the International Boxing Federation (IBF) featherweight title. The champion’s corner stopped the fight after the eighth round and the bout was declared a technical knockout.
The Toney-Peter WBC eliminator was presented by Goossen Tutor Promotions, Don King Productions and Duva Boxing. The Guerrero-Aiken championship bout was promoted by Goossen Tutor Promotions in association with Art Pellulo’s Banner Promotions. Both bouts aired on Showtime at 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast).
By triumphing 116-111 twice and 112-115, Peter, of Las Vegas, Nev., by way of Akwaibom, Nigeria, becomes the mandatory challenger to WBC heavyweight champion Oleg Maskaev. Peter’s biggest victory in the most important fight of his career came four days shy of his 26th birthday.
“I want Oleg,” said a jubilant Peter (27-1, 22 KOs), who entered the ring as the WBC No. 3 contender. “Toney never hurt me. I am solid like a rock. My game plan was to stick the jab. He picked some off, but it was working all night long. The trash talking before didn’t affect me at all.”
Toney (69-5-2, 43 KOs), a former three-time world champion of Los Angeles, by way of Grand Rapids, Mich., was incredulous about the decision.
“Peter didn’t do (expletive withheld),” said Toney, 38, the WBC No. 2 contender going in. “I’m not done with him. Hey, this is a joke. I didn’t lose the fight. I took everything away from him.
“I am not old. I am not fat and out of shape like Larry Holmes. This is not over. We are going to protest.”
Guerrero (19-1-1, 12 KOs) of Gilroy, Calif., outclassed and outhustled Aiken and won nearly every round on each of the scorecards in the first world title fight between “ShoBox: The New Generation” alums.
“I was in control the whole time,” said Guerrero, who led 80-71 twice and 79-72 when the match was stopped after the eighth round by the referee at the request of Aiken’s corner. “To say I am happy would be an understatement. We executed everything we worked on in camp.
“I want to fight the best guys. That is what the fans want.”
Aiken (16-5, 12 KOs), of Marysville, Ohio, had a two-fight winning streak snapped. The champion made his first IBF defense since scoring a shocking victory over previously unbeaten titleholder Valdemir Pereira on May 13, 2006.
“Everything Guerrero did affected me,” Aiken said. “I broke my fight hand. (But) I am not taking anything away from him.”
WBC Lightweight Champion Diego “Chico” Corrales joined Showtime Championship Boxing’s Steve Albert and Al Bernstein from ringside as special guest analyst. Jim Gray was the roving reporter and Karyn Bryant was special correspondent. The executive producer of the Showtime telecast was David Dinkins, Jr., with Bob Dunphy directing
Corrales offered his unique insight to the Aiken-Guerrero co-feature, having sparred with Guerrero in the past, and an overall knowledge of the lighter weight divisions. It was Corrales’ debut behind the microphone. The network has used fighters in this role before, notably Mike Tyson, Bobby Czyz and Sugar Ray Leonard.
“It was a blast,” Corrales said. “To be honest, it was more work than I expected …. between rehearsals, notes and reviewing video tapes. I think I added something to the show, things that come only with in-ring experience.”
In addition to Monday night, Saturday’s fight also will be replayed in its entirety on Showtime TOO at 11 p.m. ET/PT on Tuesday, June 6.
Corrales will return to his more familiar role as prizefighter when the 20th anniversary celebration of Showtime Championship Boxing continues on Saturday, Oct. 7 (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast). In the main event, Corrales will defend his WBC belt in a grudge rubber match against heated rival, former 130-pound world champion Joel Casamayor.
A pint-sized powerhouse with heavyweight power in either fist, unbeaten Vic “The Raging Bull” Darchinyan will risk his IBF and IBO flyweight belts against Glenn “The Filipino Bomber” Donaire in the co-feature at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.
Fight Results • Featherweight • Heavyweight • Eric Aiken • James Toney • Robert Guerrero • Samuel Peter