Samuel 'Nigerian Nightmare' Peter must grant James 'Lights Out' Toney an immediate rematch to determine an official challenger to champion Oleg Maskaev, ruled the WBC Board of Governors earlier this week.
The decision comes after a sustained public outcry over the outcome of the pairs September 2 bout, which was awarded to Peter via split decision. Though it is accepted that the contest was closely fought, the huge divergence in the official scores â€“ 115-112 for Toney and 116-111 twice for Peter â€“ ignited a firestorm of controversy and protests, especially after an informal poll revealed that 25 of the 27 ringside boxing writers scored the WBC eliminator in favour of Toney.
The board members voted 21-10 in favour of a rematch, with the winner guaranteed a shot at Maskaev. Neither the date nor the venue has been decided upon yet, but both camps have expressed a strong desire to settle the score as swiftly as possible. The earlier the better, seems to be the emanating feeling. Realistically, though, it is unlikely that the fighters will re-acquaint themselves this year. According to Peter's livid promoter, Dino Duva, the rematch will most probably take place in early 2007.
Speaking about the rematch in a recent interview, he said: "We're going to try to negotiate a deal and if we can't negotiate a deal we're going to go to a purse-bid. I would say we're talking in the first couple of months of next year."
Though deeply upset that his fighter must go through Toney, 69-5-3 (43 KO's), for a second time to secure the title shot that they thought he had already earned by defeating the former three-weight world champion earlier this month, Duva is accepting of the WBC's decision and, looking ahead to the return match, has chillingly stated that scorecards of any kind are not going to be a factor the second time around.
"I don't think it was right and I don't think there is any justification for it at all," he fumed. "To be quite honest with you it was surprising. I don't see how you can order a rematch when the judges had a clear winner. It basically takes the scoring and the meaning of the judges out of the fight. Anybody who *****es and moans has a chance of the organization ordering a rematch and it's crazy, it just doesn't make sense.
"But at the same time we will honour and abide by what they do and we're going to have to knock James Toney out so there's no question about who the winner is."
Now that he is resigned to the ruling, the solemn promoter says he will be insisting on a 60-40 purse split in favour of his fighter when negotiations begin. As the official winner of the first fight, Duva feels that 60% is only fair and warns that he will not be accepting anything less.
Ivaylo Gotzev, Peter's career-long manager, has told the media that he doesn't think Toney's promoter, Dan Goosen, is going to be "reasonable with what he asks for" and predicts that his hardball tactics will force a purse-bid. Asked if he shared this concern, Duva replied: "Dan and I will put a good faith effort to try and make a deal, but everyone's expectations can't always be met so you have to go to a purse-bid.
"I think a fair split if it goes to a purse-bid would be a minimum, an absolute of 60% going to Samuel. We're definitely hoping that the WBC does the right thing in this case."
"An injustice has been righted," stated Goosen when asked to give his thoughts on the WBC ordering an immediate rematch, "and as far as I'm concerned, along with the media and fans, James deserved to win the first fight. Ivaylo (Gotzev) said it was politics, it wasn't politics, it was having a wrong righted without hurting the integrity of the sport."