Chambers tops Peter but doesn’t impress
Eddie Chambers (right), here blocking a left hook from Samuel Peter, did a good job of defending against the 265-pound powerhouse but he could have been more offensive minded during his majority decision victory. Photo Jan Sanders/ Goossen Tutor
LOS ANGELES — Eddie Chambers earned true contender status with his 10-round majority decision over Samuel Peter on Friday night at the Nokia Theater. He might've even set up an eventual title shot.
But he didn’t win any new fans doing so.
Chambers did what most fans and members of the media thought he would — out-jab, out-maneuver and out-point the plodding former titleholder, winning a majority decision 99-91, 96-94 and 95-95. But he could have done so much more.
At times, Chambers (34-1, 18 knockouts) backed Peter up and even buzzed the heavy-handed Nigerian. Who knows? Had Chambers let his blazing-fast hands go a little more he might've dominated the fight in entertaining fashion. He might've even scored a knockout, which would have been received by fans as quite a feat given that he gave up 42 pounds to Peter (30-3, 23 KOs), who tipped the scales at 265 pounds.
However, while Chambers was always a step ahead of Peter in terms of his lateral movement, he never stepped on the gas pedal going forward. For much of the fight, he allowed Peter to stalk forward and throw punches, most of which he caught on his gloves and forearms. However, some — particularly body shots — got through, which is probably why one judge scored the bout even.
Most ringsiders disagreed with the even tally, but one observer, undefeated heavyweight prospect Malik Scott, said he understood that scorecard.
“I thought Eddie won the fight handily,” said Scott, a Philadelphia native who knows Chambers, a Pittsburgh native, from Philly’s tough gyms. “Sam didn’t do much, however, the way Eddie fought him, he made it look like Sam was in it.”
Throughout the fight, Scott stood from the ringside seats and yelled instructions, imploring his buddy to step up his aggression and punch output.
In the early rounds, when Chambers avoided Peter’s aggression by stepping to his left while sticking a nice jab in his husky foe’s chest and following with an occasional counter right hand, Scott could be heard yelling:
“Three- and four-punch combinations, Eddie! Pick it up!”
In the middle rounds, when Peter applied careful, but consistent pressure, walking Chambers back and pounding his soft-looking midsection (sometimes straying below the beltline), Scott could be heard shouting:
“You're waitin’ too much! Keep comin’ Eddie. Let your hands go! These rounds are gettin’ too close!”
In the late rounds, when Chambers backed a winded Peter up with a shotgun jab and even stunned the powerhouse with quick right crosses and uppercuts, an elated Scott loudly proclaimed:
“Keep throwin’ that! Keep throwin’ that, Eddie, you’re too fast! Come on! You can come forward!
“Put a right hand behind that jab! Double and triple up that jab!”
Chambers came forward in spots down the stretch, but he didn’t double up his jab or consistently drop combinations.
Scott was happy for his friend’s victory but frustrated with what he saw as a missed opportunity to take advantage of a faded fighter.
“Peter was a sitting duck,” Scott said. “His fights with James Toney and the Klitschkos took their toll on him, in my opinion. I thought Eddie beat him with just a jab, he may have hurt Peter with his jab. If he put his punches together I think he could have stopped Peter.”
Of course, it should be pointed out that Scott is 6-foot-5 and fights between 245 and 255 pounds. Chambers is 6-foot-1 and his best fighting weight is probably 215 pounds.
Against heavyweights who outweigh him by 30 or more pounds, Chambers is going to use his speed and mobility to hit and not get hit. He’s going to dictate the distance with his feet and maneuver around his bigger but slower opponents to create offensive opportunities that will disrupt his opponents’ offensive rhythm.
In short, he’s going to control the fight without imposing himself on his opponent. That’s what he did against Peter. It’s called ring generalship and it’s an acquired taste that appeals to the purists of the sport.
The problem for slick boxers like Chambers is that there aren’t a whole lot of purists out there who buy tickets to prize fights.
Chambers, to his credit, understands this fact.
“I wanted to impress a little bit more than I did,” said Chambers, who indicated at the post-fight news conference that he hurt his right hand in the early rounds. “I think I hurt him a few times. He may have wobbled a few times when I hit right.
“So I think I should have been more aggressive. I boxed well, defensively, but I still played around too much.”
Dan Goossen, Chambers' promoter, said that he might be able to get the 26-year-old boxer a title shot by the end of this year.
If that’s true, play time should be over.
Doug Fischer can be reached at [email protected]