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The Heavyweight Report: The Mike Tyson Comeback & Wladimir Klitschko – Sam Peter II

By Geno McGahee

It’s a shame that HBO doesn’t carry the Klitschko fights any more, especially now with the replacement of Alexander Povetkin with the “Nigerian Nightmare” Sam Peter in the upcoming September 11th IBF/IBO/WBO Title defense of Wladimir Klitschko.

I had given up on Peter a long time ago. At one point, he was hyped as the next coming of Mike Tyson with his knockout spree and aggressive approach, but he didn’t have the talent. He did have a great chin and a great punch and that gets you a long way in the division, but his waistline was always an issue.

In 2005, he met Wladimir Klitschko and came in at 243 pounds, fit and focused. He lost a close decision but dropped Wlad on several occasions. He was a little green for the fight, but he made a statement. He was still a big part of the division’s future.

The weight began to increase. He fought James Toney, a pivotal fight in his career at 257 pounds, won the WBC title from Oleg Maskaev at 250 pounds, and then lost it to Vitali Klitschko at 253 ½ pounds. In his next fight, he would lose to Eddie Chambers, coming into the ring at a career high 265 pounds. He disgraced himself against Vitali, giving no effort and coming in out of shape, and then lost to Chambers, obviously having no ambition to win. The once “future of the division” was now a journeyman, but times have changed and Peter may have turned back the clock and has returned to the form that made him one of the most exciting fighters in the game.

He has weighed between 237 and 240 in his last three fights. He looks fit and ready to challenge Wlad in a rematch and he is a much more dangerous opponent for Wlad at this time then Povetkin would have been. Let’s hope that HBO reconsiders the Peter bout and allows it to proceed on the network. This could be an upset win for Peter if he has the right mentality.

Vitali Klitschko, the holder of the WBC Title is shopping around for a challenger and there are two frontrunners. RSR has been informed that Shannon Briggs, the former WBO Champion, is all but set to fight Vitali in New York City for the title, but there is also talk of Nikolay Valuev, the former WBA Champion filling the spot. Valuev would bring in more money and is a more notable opponent in Germany for Vitali, but Briggs would increase his US appeal. The most likely is Briggs, but Valuev is a possibility.

David Haye, the WBA Champion, was the man that both Klitschkos wanted to face, but he is currently going after the safe money and is all but signed to fight fellow Brit, Audley Harrison. Haye knows that he can make a lot of money with little risk against Harrison and can then decide what he wants to do with his next defense.

On August 21st, Tomasz Adamek will be squaring off against Michael Grant. Adamek moved up from 175 to heavyweight and has been impressive and now wants to test the Klitschko waters by taking on a fighter of equal size with Grant. Grant was once a big thing in boxing, but he has been off the radar of late. He has compiled 8 straight wins since his defeat to Dominick Guinn in 2003, but the competition has not been the best. What bodes well for Grant is his ability to handle smaller guys. He drops in the right hand and usually leaves the smaller opponents in a heap. This is a big test for Adamek and if the punch lands, he may be knocked out of the top of the division. This fight is going to be interesting.

David Tua, the highly ranked heavyweight on the comeback trail hit a snag in his recent fight with Monte Barrett. Barrett, well past his prime, and a loser in three straight fights, went into the Tua fight as a victim, waiting for the bomb to land. Unfortunately, the truth came out for Tua in this fight and at 37 years of age, he was exposed as a non-force in the division. Tua barely survived the fight, unable to pull the trigger, and actually dropped and seriously hurt by a Barrett right hand in the final round. Imagine what a Klitschko right hand would have done! Claims of a shoulder injury can be thrown out the window. It’s damage control time and they will put Tua in with a couple of more manageable stiffs and will eventually land a title shot. Tua will be beaten quickly by any of the champions based on what I’ve seen in his fight with Barrett.

Former Light Heavyweight Champion, Antonio “Magic Man” Tarver has made an announcement and stated that he is moving into the heavyweight division and that the Klitschkos need to watch out. Tarver was a good, not great fighter, that built his career off of a KO victory of a washed up Roy Jones, JR. He has a punch, but it’s hard to imagine it packing enough power to effect the heavyweights.

Tarver is 3-3 in his last six fights and this move up is a last ditch effort to make some money before he calls it quits. He is going to have some serious trouble with the heavyweights, but may get a shot on his name value alone. It will be interesting to see who his first opponent is. My guess would be a guy like Chris Arreola, a big guy with mediocre technique and very questionable defense. A skilled guy like Tarver may be able to eke by him with just the jab alone, and that may bring him into a title shot, but even Arreola would probably have enough at this point to stop the “Magic Man.” The move up is one that doesn’t appear to have a likely happy ending. The most likely scenario is a knockout loss in his first or second appearance at heavyweight.

Kevin McBride, the “Mike Tyson Conqueror” didn’t do so well in his comeback fight. On July 10th, journeyman Zack Page, a fighter with a record of 20-29-2, dominated an eight round bout, winning every round against the slower giant. McBride has lost three fights in a row and this one completely knocks him off the map of potential contenders.

Tony Grano, a fighter that was hand-picked as a possible future Mike Tyson opponent should he elect to return, was shocked by Nicolai Firtha, a fighter with a record of 17-7-1. Firtha stunned Grano and stopped him in two rounds. I doubt that Grano will be the man chosen for Tyson’s comeback fight after this. Grano was a fighter that was just getting his footing in the division and this defeat is a huge setback.

Slowly creeping back into the ratings is Timur Ibragimov, brother of former WBO Champion, Sultan Ibragimov. He has put together seven wins since his last defeat to Tony Thompson. His last win was a dominant one, taking the decision over former WBC Champion Oliver McCall. He is now slated to fight an undefeated fighter from India by the name of Gurcharan Singh, 20-0, 11 KO’s. Singh’s record may be impressive, but his opponents have not been. His victories are over career losers. Expect Ibragimov move one step closer to a shot at a title after this fight.

Finally, the Mike Tyson comeback has been out of the news as of late, but his trimmed down weight, in the area of 215 pounds, and new outlook are promising for the Tyson fans. RSR broke the story of the Mike Tyson return and now mum is the word, which may be an indication that things are being solidified for the former champion to glove up. With all of the fighters beyond their prime still boxing, there is a big pool for Tyson to choose from. The Tyson comeback, first planned for the end of 2010, beginning of 2011, may still be on course and all indications seem to point that way, despite any denials from those around Mike at this point. There is money to be made and he can make a lot of it with a comeback.

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