Peter gains controversial nod over Toney, title shot awaits
LOS ANGELES – Power-punching heavyweight Samuel Peter scored a highly controversial 12-round split decision over veteran James Toney in a title eliminator Saturday night for the right to face newly crowned titlist Oleg Maskaev.
Toney, 69-5-3, 1 NC (43 KOs), Los Angeles, 233, appeared to start fast using sharp jabs and counters in ring center against the strong 25 year-old Peter, 27-1 (22 KOs), Nigeria, 257.
After appearing to sweep the first two rounds, Toney, 38, felt the right hand of the “Nigerian Nightmare” in round three and reacted with characteristic disdain for his opponent’s power despite a noticeable wobble. Peter measured his attack landing body punches and forcing Toney back with jabs.
Most of the middle rounds belonged to Toney who seemed intent on keeping his younger foe off-balance with counter right hands and snapping up-and-down left hooks. While the punches did not seem to hurt or slow Peter, the number of clean blows mounted.
Despite a point deduction from Peter in round nine for double-punching, the big man came on strong at the end of rounds throughout the contest often stopping the boxing master Toney in his tracks.
The final two rounds proved difficult to score as both men desperately struggled for the win. Hard shots from Peter versus multiple, though less hurting, punches from Toney offered judges alternatives in scoring.
Scoring of the bout was 116-111 and 116-111 Peter; and 115-112 Toney. JEBoxing scored the bout 116-111 Toney.
Toney was incredulous following the bout.
“I made him miss a lot and I countered,” Toney protested. "The whole world saw I won the fight."
It was equally clear that the tough guy, never-give-an-inch competitor was not in any hurry to mend his relationship with the winner.
“He’ll have to kill me to get respect, ” said Toney.
Peter was clearly overcome by the moment and gave simple praise for the defeated multi-weight class champion.
“He’s a strong guy,” said Peter of Toney. Indeed Peter aknowledged that Toney took his big punches and kept fighting.
With the win, Peter gains a mandatory shot at Oleg Maskaev’s new title.