Updated: September 3, 2010, 11:18 AM ET

Peter out to exact revenge against Klitschko

Rafael By Dan Rafael
Samuel PeterAlex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty ImagesSamuel Peter, above, finally gets a long-awaited rematch with Wladimir Klitschko.

Heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko hasn't been in a competitive fight for five years, routing his past nine opponents -- eight by knockout -- while winning two belts and earning recognition as the lineal champion.

The last time he was in a real fight? Sept. 24, 2005, in Atlantic City, N.J. That's when he faced Samuel Peter in a title eliminator.

Although Klitschko won a unanimous decision -- 114-111 on all three scorecards -- and went on to blow out Chris Byrd in his next fight to win a world title, Peter left a lasting impression on Klitschko (54-3, 48 KOs), dropping him three times in their dramatic fight.

From the moment the fight was over, Peter and manager Ivaylo Gotzev sought a rematch. Now, they've finally got it.

Peter, a former titleholder, will challenge Klitschko at the Commerzbank Arena, which will be scaled for 45,000, in Frankfurt, Germany, on Sept. 11. The fight can be seen live in the United States on ESPN3.com (5 p.m. ET) as well as at 8 p.m. ET on same-day tape delay on ESPN Deportes with a Sept. 12 replay at 4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

"Our roads have collided on two occasions and Sam will provide the biggest challenge to Klitschko in the last five years," Gotzev said. "You have seen the first fight and you will see a great fight on Sept. 11."

Peter (34-3, 27 KOs) landed the title shot after Alexander Povetkin -- a Klitschko mandatory challenger for more than two years -- withdrew, declining a career-best purse of more than $2 million. Peter, next in line in the IBF's ratings, jumped at the opportunity to fill in for Povetkin.

"Samuel is a true warrior and there was really no hesitation at all for him wanting to get back in the ring with Wladimir," said Tom Loeffler, managing director for Klitschko's K2 Promotions. "In fact, ever since the first fight, Ivaylo has told me he wanted a rematch and now it's coming to fruition."

Since the loss, Peter has had his ups and downs.

He went on to knock out Oleg Maskaev in 2008 to win a world title only to lose it in his first defense when Vitali Klitschko, Wladimir's big brother, made him quit after eight rounds of bruising punishment.

Peter lost his next fight too, coming into a match with Eddie Chambers in horrible condition. At a career-heavy 265 pounds, Peter lumbered through a decision loss. Many wrote him off after that fight, but a change of scenery to promoter Top Rank and trainer Abel Sanchez seems to have helped.

"I have been with Sam now since last May. The dedication has been the big difference I have seen in Sam," Sanchez said. "I have been able to keep him in the gym six or seven days a week. We have been in camp for eight weeks and we are looking forward to a great heavyweight fight because I think he has put in the work this time. I think in the past he has allowed outside sources to distract him and he had a lack of commitment, but I think his time, to me, it has changed."

With Sanchez in his corner, Peter has won four fights in a row -- albeit against soft opposition -- all by knockout. But he's been in top condition each time, including for a second-round destruction of Nagy Aguilera in March in a title eliminator that put him in position behind Povetkin.

Peter is confident and excited for his second opportunity against Klitschko.

"I have a lot to prove," Peter said. "I have a chance to redeem myself from the 2005 fight. It is going to be a great fight. I am getting another chance to prove that I am the best heavyweight champion in all. The loss was a bad mistake. This time I am going to prove that I can become a champion again. For sure, on Sept. 11 in Germany it is going to be a great fight. I don't have much to say because I know that my gloves will speak for me in the ring."

The loss to Chambers was rock bottom for Peter. He went into the fight unhappy with his promotional situation with Dino Duva and his partner, Don King. Obviously, Peter hadn't trained very hard based on his conditioning.

"Everything was frustrating at that time," Peter said. "I had lost the championship and the promotion was so bad. I am OK now and everything is straight up. I have the best promoter in the world and the best coach in the world. I have the best manager in the world and I am going to be the best."

Sanchez brought him to the isolation of the mountains of Big Bear, Calif., to train, and Peter, who usually trains near his home in Las Vegas, took to the new routine.

"Everything in Big Bear is great. It's a great place to train. It's very peaceful," Peter said. "I didn't know about Big Bear for all these years, but it is a great place to train. Abel brought me up here and he doesn't take my nonsense. He doesn't take no for an answer. He wants to see me working. I am happy about being here."

Next week, Peter will be in Germany, where his only experience was the loss to Vitali Klitschko. But this time, Peter says he's in a better frame of mind and will be looking to finish what he started with the three knockdowns against Wladimir five years ago.

"On Sept. 11, he will be down and will not stand up again," Peter said. "The victory and my judges I have in my right hand, and the judge is my left hook. There will not be a decision this time around. This time he will not get up from my left hook. I am ready and I am prepared and I will not need a referee or a judge."

Pavlik returns

Jeff Zelevansky/Getty ImagesExpect to see Kelly Pavlik, above, on the Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito undercard.

Former middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik, who lost his title to Sergio Martinez in April, is planning a return on the Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito HBO PPV undercard Nov. 13 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Top Rank and manager Cameron Dunkin have been going over potential opponents and trying to lock in a deal.

Dunkin said Pavlik was anxious to fight again and loved the idea of being on a card with Pacquiao and fighting at Cowboys Stadium in front of a crowd that could push 70,000.

"I want to go over things with Kelly," Dunkin said. "We kinda know the money, but I'm supposed to get a contract and we're going over the names. But Kelly is willing to fight on the card. The bottom line is I have to say to him, 'This is who you are fighting, this is what you are making.' He really wants to do it. He'd love to go to Dallas. He thinks it's really neat down there and he loves the stadium and he loves [Cowboys owner] Jerry Jones. To go to Dallas with the Cowboys and Jerry Jones and fight at that stadium and get that kind of exposure with the best fighter in the world in front of that crowd? He wants that. He wants to fight again and what better place to do it? Kelly is willing to work on the money, but I just want to go over all of it with him and get his thoughts. I feel he's definitely going to fight. But I want him happy and ready to come back. I want boxing to be fun again for him."

Another fighter who could appear on the card is hot welterweight Mike Jones (22-0, 18 KOs), the rising Philadelphia prospect, against Jesus Soto Karass (24-4-3, 16 KOs). If Jones appears on the card it will only be if his promoter, Hall of Famer Russell Peltz, enters into a co-promotional deal with Top Rank. No decision has been made, Peltz told ESPN.com. He is also weighing an offer from Main Events, he said.

The Chinese are coming

Promoter Dino Duva has been logging the frequent-flier miles going back and forth to China for the past couple of years, as he's been working closely with the Chinese Boxing Federation to gain a foothold in the potentially lucrative Chinese market as well as expose the Chinese prospects in the United States.

The first tangible evidence of the effort will take place Oct. 1 in New York when he, Global Sports & Entertainment and the Chinese federation put on an amateur boxing card featuring some of China's 2012 Olympic hopefuls facing a team of top Americans -- which has not been named yet -- on a card called "Empires Collide."

The card, which will take place in Manhattan's Chinatown, includes 2008 Chinese Olympians Zhang Zhilei, the 26-year-old, 6-foot-7 super heavyweight silver medalist, and light flyweight gold medalist Zou Shiming.

The Chinese team and trainers are scheduled to arrive in the United States on Sept. 10. They'll prepare at the Fernwood resort in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains under the direction of famed trainer Lou Duva, Dino's father, who is a consultant to the Chinese national team.

"This is the first U.S. promotion for our venture with the Chinese Boxing Federation, and it's an extremely exciting one," Dino Duva said. "I look forward to working together in presenting a tremendous night of amateur boxing featuring the best that China and the USA have to offer. It will be an historic night."

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter @danrafaelespn.


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