In what New Jersey State Athletic Commissioner Larry Hazzard described as a "new level of dumb," in boxing, Team Wladimir Klitschko demanded that the boxing gloves to be used tomorrow night, when the former WBO champion faces Samuel Peter at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, be weighed to ensure they are the regulation 10 ounces. According to Hazzard, he was contacted by Klitschko "boxing adviser" Shelly Finkel, public relations advisor Bernd Bonte and K-2 Promotions coordinator Burt Watson and told that Klitschko's camp would be bringing a small scale to today's undercard weigh-in (the main event weigh-in was held yesterday) to ensure there was nothing irregular about the weight of either fighter's gloves.an implication that enraged glove manufacturer Grant Elvis Phillips.
"If I said it didn't bother me, I'd be lying. This one here crosses the line with me. I take it personally. For someone to insinuate that we would favor someone is pretty offensive. It shows zero confidence on the part of Klitschko's people. I only had one other experience like this when Roy Jones fought John Ruiz. Roy had custom brown gloves and John Ruiz had black. (Ruiz manager) Stony (Stone) started a whole thing about the gloves and got punched in his face for it. Unfortunately, the same thing didn't happen to Bernd Bonte tonight."
When informed of this highly irregular request, Peter manager Ivaylo Gotzev says he was mildly amused. "The problem is not the gloves," he explained. "What they should be worried about is what's in them: a left and a right hand from Samuel, and it's too late for them to stop that now."
"Both camps agreed on the Grant gloves," added event promoter, Dino Duva. "They are sealed at the factory and were opened in front of them at the weigh-in. After the weigh-in, the commission kept the gloves, so I haven't even seen them."
This is not the first time Team Wladimir has suspected wrongdoing. After his last defeat (a TKO 5 to Lamon Brewster), the Ukrainian and his people leveled accusations of deliberate poisoning and overly vasolined legs to explain the loss.
"There is dumb sh** in boxing all the time," concluded an obviously annoyed Hazzard, "but this is definitely a first for me."
Peter vs. Klitschko is presented by Duva Boxing, K-2 Promotions, and Top Rank; in association with Caesars Atlantic City and will be televised live on HBO's Boxing After Dark.