by Paul Magno
Beat Samuel Peter.
It’s as easy as that for “Fast” Eddie Chambers. There are no other options, no alternate roads to Heavyweight success. He has to beat “The Nigerian Nightmare” Samuel Peter this Friday, March 27th or be relegated to perennial fringe status as one of the guys who “had the potential, but never fulfilled it.”
A win over the hard-punching, hammer-handed Peter puts Chambers right back into the mix of must-fight contenders; It practically guarantees a world title shot for the Philly-based Heavyweight and, probably more importantly, it erases the nightmarish night Chambers had in Germany a little over a year ago when he fought young Russian prospect, Alexander Povetkin in Berlin.
In the IBF Eliminator against Povetkin, Chambers seemed to be having an easy night over the first 5 rounds or so. He was hitting Povetkin at will and the young pressure fighter seemingly had no solution for Chambers’ obvious advantage in hand speed. Thing were going Chambers’ way until, well, until he just stopped fighting.
In one of the most curious performances in a very curious Heavyweight division’s recent history, Chambers just stopped throwing punches. It looked as though a switch got flipped in his brain and the quick-fisted Chambers, who was connecting at a rate better than 50% in the first part of the fight, suddenly stopped throwing leather and allowed a bloodied, but eager Povetkin back in the fight. It got so slow for Chambers that he only managed to throw 56 punches in the last three rounds of the fight.
Povetkin swept the last part of the bout and cruised to an easy UD decision. The scores were exaggeratedly wide, but it was a fair loss for Chambers who just seemed to give up the ghost while he was firmly in command.
After the bout, Chambers wandered the ring zombie-eyed and honestly at a loss for words as to how he had let the fight get away from him.
Chambers had 3 more fights in 2008, trying to get rid of the bad taste left in his mouth from the Berlin debacle; But 3 wins against 3 marginal opponents don’t equal a complete freeze-job in the biggest fight of your career. A win over a former World Champion and still Top 10 ranked Samuel Peter might do wonders for that bitter taste in Chambers’ mouth.
“I wanted to get the best possible guy,” Chambers insists. “You can do a lot worse than fight the guy who just had the world heavyweight title around his waist. I’m glad he stepped up and gave me the opportunity…It’s a heck of a shot and I don’t want to pass it up”
Peter, from his side, is also very familiar with leaving Berlin in total and complete psychological distress. Just about 5 months ago, as defending WBC Champ, he suffered a one-sided beat down at the hands of recently retired Vitali Klitschko. It was Peter’s most passive performance as a pro as he just ate punch after punch until he was too far behind on the scorecards to have a chance at the decision win. Then, between the 8th and 9th rounds, he just gave up.
Both Peter and Chambers will be fighting to get back to where they were before their most humiliating losses; Both will be fighting for that quick ticket to redemption.
Whatever the betting odds end up being, disregard them. This is an even-money fight if there ever was one. The experts will summarize this contest as Chambers’ speed vs. Peter’s power. But, more correctly, it will be a test of wills between two fighters still smarting from psychological breakdowns in their last big fights. This non-title fight on regular, basic cable, therefore, boils down to one question: “Who wants a future in the Heavyweight division?”
We’ll have the answer to that question this Friday.