Dino Duva, promoter of top-rated heavyweight contender Samuel "The Nigerian Nightmare" Peter, 25-1 (21 KOs), says he was less than impressed by Saturday's sloppy, and in James Toney's case grossly overweight, heavyweight title bout between Hasim Rahman and James Toney and even more unimpressed and angered by the way HBO approached the status of the heavyweight division during the broadcast.
"The Rahman -Toney fight was just another example of the networks letting retreads control the TV action," said a clearly annoyed Duva. "When are they going to have the sense and guts to let the new faces take over? Those are not the two best heavyweights in the world, as HBO said. I honestly believe Samuel Peter, and some other, fresher heavyweights, would knock either of them out."
Particularly offensive to Duva was the pre-fight discussion between HBO commentators Larry Merchant and Jim Lampley, as well as former USA Today boxing writer Dan Rafael and ex-champion Lennox Lewis. "In their roundtable on the future of the heavyweight division, the announcers on the show didn't even have the decency to bring up Samuel Peter, even though they showed a graphic of the writers and fans voting him in the top four in the world. Everyone knows he's the future of the division. Dan Rafael talked about Calvin Brock being "The Man" among newcomers? Dan knows we have offered Brock to fight Samuel at least four times and he just runs and makes excuses."
Normally not known as an outspoken critic in boxing, Duva says this time HBO has gone too far by shunning his fighter and then broadcasting what he calls a "pitiful exhibition," in Rahman vs. Toney. "Samuel Peter is the best, most exciting heavyweight in the world and that's who the fans want to see. He wowed them against Klitschko in September. I think people are getting sick and tired of watching all the same old retreads huff and puff their way through and put everyone to sleep. I wish HBO would do the right thing and instead of continuously recycling the same old, boring names, move on to the next generation of heavyweights and let the young guys take over."