On a big fight weekend, Vitali Klitschko "showed up" and Chad Dawson shut up...
[C] Vitali Klitschko RTD8 WBC Heavyweight Champion Samuel Peter [Showtime]
--I was looking forward to doing a nice write-up on this particular fight, given the history and the heat around the bout and the ones involved...but then I completely forgot about the time difference between the U.S. and Germany, and thus inadvertently found out the results via ESPNews' ticker. Spoiled, I tried to watch the fight anyway with a clear memory. The outcome wasn't too shocking, but what was was how it came about.
V. Klitschko looked like he picked up where he left off four years ago and boxed well within his range of physical skills. The champion and former "angry man" Sam Peter looked pathetically listless and out-of-the-loop for nearly the entire match, serving as a punching bag for the supposed bane of his existence. Prior to the fight, Peter had been steaming and brewing in bloodthirsty rage and vowed to wipe the Brothers Klitschko out, especially the elder and his "Champion Emeritus" "title" which he took great umbrage to. Yet, somewhere between those contentious press conferences and fight time, the "Nigerian Nightmare" became the "Dream Sparing Partner", as he did very little to mount any sort of offense or change up his game plan. Klitschko simply had to jab his way through while Peter just ate it until he quit on his stool.
While some have given Klitschko a great deal of credit for "befuddling" Peter, the latter's inactivity and lack of aggression were the biggest reasons for his (self-) defeat. Klitschko's stance gave away his height and his guard was constantly down, but Peter failed to push himself and dictate the action, taking advantage of him and his long absence from the ring (it also would've helped if he used his own guard every so often...). He's had trouble against taller opponents, and Vitali's perhaps the best, but there's little excuse in not at least trying. Not a bad fight as a whole, but Peter did himself no favors in getting more big fights in the future, and he would be better served if he just dumped his current trainer, who was of no help that night, and sought out a new one (Emmanuel Steward?), as he is in need of a new beginning and improved skills (he still has potential). As for the new champion, he deserved it more, though it will be interesting to see who he fights next. Personally, I do believe he will eventually hook up with his brother, Wladamir, in the ring--and it won't be pretty, one way or another...
[C] Chad Dawson UD IBF, IBO Light Heavyweight Champion Antonio Tarver [Showtime]
--In another verbose pre-fight -fueled bout, Chad Dawson finally muzzled former division king Antonio Tarver in an exciting, though mostly one-sided, rout. Dawson was very irritated by Tarver's infamous level of smack talk coming in, so it was of no surprise to see him try to stick it to the "Magic Man". He displayed an impressive amount of speed and combo work in keeping Tarver, still dangerous at 39, at bay, and was often able to work around his defense and land good shots on him. However, there were some rounds where Dawson took a breather and Tarver capitalized by landing a few good blows of his own.
Though he was constantly being outgunned, even getting knocked down in the final round, Tarver did the best that he could do against the much younger, more vigorous challenger. Ultimately, however, he looked old fighting in there and just two beats off from Dawson. Tarver doesn't have many options left outside of a rematch with Glen Johnson or another past opponent, and a move up to cruiserweight isn't a wise one based on his age. Dawson, on the other hand, has a rematch with Johnson and fights with other division stalwarts to look forward to, though it would be good if he improved his stamina before taking on any of them.