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Wladimir Klitschko vs. Samuel Peter Fight Preview and Prediction

When: Saturday, September 11, 2010
Where: Commerzbank Arena, Frankfurt, Germany
Weight Class: IBF/WBO World Heavyweight Championship: 12 Rounds

By Scotty L of

Wladimir Klitschko, 54-3 (48 KOs), Kiev, Ukraine, World Heavyweight Champion Vs. Samuel Peter, 34-3 (27 KOs), Nigeria/Las Vegas, Nevada

Fight Odds: Wladimir Klitschko (-1000), Samuel Peter (+600)
Over/Under: Over 9.5 (-105), Under 9.5 (-135)

Match Preview: Heavyweight Champion of the World Wladimir Klitschko defends his crown against former opponent Samuel Peter in Germany on Saturday. Germany is the second home of the Klitschko brothers, where the fans show great support. While the safety-first antics of Wladimir are not appreciated so much in the west, they really lap it up in Germany.

At some point, however, respect should be shown to Wladimir. He was considered a great prospect after winning Olympic gold in 1996. Then, a series of disappointing losses took all the wind out of his sails. In a stirring about-face, Wladimir managed to finally realize his potential, culminating in a 6-year winning streak and the heavyweight title. He is the clear number-one guy in the division, with only his older brother Vitali within distance.

The younger Klitschko brother would sometimes burn out trying to dispatch his foes, which led to 2 of his 3 losses. He seemed tense and tightótiring himself out more than anything his opponents were doing to him. Since hooking up with Emanuel Steward, Wladimir has adopted a style that best suits him. He doesnít go in there looking to destroy his man anymore, but he clinically and patiently picks them apart, ebbing their resistance until they are ready to be taken out. He takes few risks, keeping the fight at long range and not engaging until his opponent is in a depreciated form. While not overly exciting, this style allows Klitschko to showcase his talent fully, while camouflaging his weaknesses.

Wladimir is lost in toe-to-toe exchanges. He thrives in the role of long-range sharpshooter. Peter was able to engage Wladimir in their first fight in 2005, resulting in a few knockdowns in a very difficult fight for the Ukrainian champion. A lot has happened since 2005, however, namely the trajectories of both menís careers. Wladimir has continued to employ his style, becoming more and more comfortable with his boxing. Peter has headed the other way.

It might be overly critical to say this, but Peter has been a dog. When you enter championship fights in the worst condition of your career, this is a bad sign. When he was supposed to kick his career into the next gear, he decided to lose focus. Ridiculous. In the Klitschko and Chambers fights, he was overweight and disinterested, but then in untelevised nothing fights, he gets his act together? Becoming a heavyweight champion is difficult enough, but the element of self-sabotage took him out of the picture.

The fact that Peter was competitive with Klitschko in their first fight makes this an interesting encounteróat least more interesting than some of Wladimirís recent perfunctory defenses. Peter has also been showing more dedication lately, entering his last 4 fights at a far more reasonable 237-243 pounds, opposed to the absurd 265 he weighed for Chambers. Nevertheless, there is a feeling that Peter missed out on his prime years. A fighterís prime is not going to put itself on hold waiting for a fighter to get his act together. Peter might be more professional about his boxing now, but time doesnít wait for anyone. At 30, he is 4 years younger than the champion, but he might not be quite the force he was in the middle of the last decade.

Scotty's Pick to Win the Fight: Klitschko as a 10-1 favorite is hardly appetizing. A solid champion, he never gave off the vibe of invulnerability that would warrant such a quote. Though not likely, Peter could conceivably put one over on the shaky chin of Klitschko. As a rule, itís not wise to select gigantic favorites when their chin is their main weakness, especially when facing powerpunchers like Peter.

At the same time, Wladimir is not the same guy who got stopped 3 times earlier in his career. And Iím not so sure his chin was the deciding factor in those fights. Those losses seemed to be a result of a lack of comfort in the ring. Wladimir in 2010 is a far more poised and relaxed fighter. He has a long uninterrupted history of success going now, as opposed to the still-shaky and unsure fighter Peter faced in 2005.

Klitschko will surely employ an even safer style in this fight, rightfully nervous of Peterís power. As he clinically picks apart Peter, he will begin to gain confidence. Peterís powers of resistance will begin to fade in the mid-rounds and Klitschko will press the issue. Peterís power might make Klitschko more urgent in his offense, not wanting to unnecessarily prolong issues with such a threat. Around the 7th or 8th, Wladimir will put together enough power shots, forcing Peter to retire on the stool. I like the under. Lay Ė105 on the under.

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