Peter Rightfully Claims Title
And as I watched McCline land a sweet left hook to Peter's chin and drop him in the closing seconds of round two, I thought, "oh my goodness another Kenny Norton!"
[Black Star Sports]
Samuel "The Nigerian Nightmare" Peter was given the interim WBC heavyweight championship title and belt when his challenge for the belt against the champion, Oleg Maskaev was denied, due to Maskaev getting injured and having to pull out of the bout.
Maskaev's having to pull out of the fight due to a sudden injury caused all kinds of havoc for both Peter and legendary promoter Don King. Peter who had fought and beat James Toney twice to get the number one contender slot, and title shot, was disappointed. The 18.6x 8.6 legendary ring was taken down and slated to be inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame. In addition to their disappointment of not fighting Maskaev, Peter and Promoter Dino Duva were further upset they missed the opportunity of being the last fighter to win and gain the heavyweight title in the famed Madison Square Garden ring.
King, being "King," (and as most know, the greatest boxing promoter of all times), kept the card together. He found James "Big Time" McCline who stepped and filled the void as the new challenger to Peter's interim title.
So now Peter, without getting in the ring, and fighting ended up gaining the heavyweight championship of the world. He evolved from being the challenger for the title to becoming the defender of the title. Like Don King states, “Only In America."
But the inclusion of McCline came not without issues. Suddenly a day prior to the now new title clash, allegations of Steroid use was linked to McCline and once again, King's card was in trouble. Peter had accomplished getting the title, but now the chance to defend it, was in jeopardy.
New York State Boxing Commissioner Ron Scott Steven's did some last minute lobbying for the bout and bingo! Saturday night at the fights still came about. And what a bout we had.
I recall how Ken Norton was given the WBC belt because champion Leon Spinks opted to fight Muhammad Ali in a rematch rather than faced Norton. All of boxing knew Spinks had made the right move. For one, the money was with Ali; and two, it was only fair to give Ali a shot back at his title. And fight back Ali did, regaining his title and becoming the first man ever to regain the heavyweight title three times.
Norton on the other hand, after being handed the title, promptly lost it in a great fight to Ali's former sparring partner Larry Holmes. Holmes held onto the title for the second longest reign in boxing history.
And as I watched McCline land a sweet left hook to Peter's chin and drop him in the closing seconds of round two, I thought, "oh my goodness another Kenny Norton!" And when he dropped Peter again twice more in the ensuing round, the Norton jinx seemed confirmed.
Nightmare awoke from his "nightmare," survived the scare and won his title as well as defended it on this night within Madison Square Garden's new ring. As far as I was concerned, Order was restored to boxing. At least somewhat, that is! The scores were all in favor of Peter, 115-110,115-111 and 113-112 but many fans felt if McLine had not pulled out the victory, it should have been a draw.
Distino Lois, Boxing Sports Editor of Black Sports World Magazine, felt McCline gave away the fight when he gave away the last two rounds. McCline did seem to tire in the last rounds. It seemed as if he thought he had the fight won and was just holding on so as to avoid getting knocked out.
Many were stunned to see the lopsided scores of 115-110 and 115-111. But just as many spectators concurred with the scores, commenting on McCline's lack of effort during the bout after his three exciting knock downs. Once again though, like last week in Atlantic City, McCline's failure to finish Peter hurt him like Jermaine Taylor's failure to finish off Kelly Pavlik. This put Peter in the position, within just a matter of days, from being the challenger to becoming the challenged.
Peter did put on an exciting fight and show the mark of a true champion by getting up off the canvas not once, but three times.
The fight was an exciting one. It demonstrated the courage of both the challenger and the champ while solidifying Peter's championship claims. His pugilist skills also saved boxing from getting a black eye as a result of the unfortunate steroid scandal.
Ring Rosin: Champions at ringside included Roy Jones Jr., and Felix "Tito" Trinidad, who will meet each other Jan.19th inside the new ring at Madison Square Garden. Also ringside was Junior "Poison" Jones, Iran "The Blade" Barkley, and Riddick "Big Daddy" Bowe as well as famed and legendary Artist, LeRoy Neiman.
To comment or to subscribe to or advertise in New York’s leading Pan African weekly investigative newspaper, or to send us a news tip, please call (212) 481-7745 or send a note to Milton@blackstarnews.com
Also visit out sister publications Harlem Business News www.harlembusinessnews.com and The Groove music magazine at www.thegroovemag.com
"Speaking Truth To Power."