20-20 Hindsight: Chad is Indeed Bad, Tarver and Peter Done as Title Contenders and More

Sometimes the intrigue in boxing is all in the build-up to the fights and not so apparent in the fights themselves. That was definitely true this past weekend, when two championship bouts with interesting storylines produced little in-ring suspense.

In the case of heavyweights Samuel Peter and Vitali Klitschko, make that zero in-ring suspense. Klitschko quickly answered any questions about how he'd bounce back from nearly four years of inactivity due to injury, looking sharp but employing a pretty conservative style - taking notes from brother Wladimir, perhaps. Peter posed zero problems, losing every round (though one official judge somehow gave him one) and stinking up the joint so badly that you were actually happy that he decided not to come out for the ninth round.

Things were slightly different in Vegas, where at least both Antonio Tarver and Chad Dawson came to fight. Tarver simply found himself outgunned, and though he had his moments, many of them were created by Dawson's inconsistency. The outcome was never really in doubt, producing what my stepfather and many other observers called an exciting but not competitive fight.

Dawson emerged as the night's big winner, and his future looks very bright. His accuracy and hand speed make for a fan-friendly style, and his multi-punch combinations are reminiscent of a prime Shane Mosley. Though he had to respect Tarver's power somewhat, he could show more of a killer instinct. I definitely don't want to watch him do what he did in Saturday's sixth round, which he basically took off to prove Tarver couldn't hurt him.

It's rumored that he wants the winner of the upcoming Joe Calzaghe-Roy Jones Jr. fight, and that would get him either his stiffest test (if it's Calzaghe) or his most lucrative possible fight (if it's Jones). Floyd Mayweather called him the top pound-for-pound boxer in the world, and while Money knows a lot more about boxing than me, I wouldn't go there just yet. He definitely put himself in everybody's top 10, that's for sure.

In contrast, Klitschko's win, while a nice comeback story, doesn't do much for the heavyweight division. As long as the Brothers Klitschko refuse to fight each other, fans of the big guys are deprived of the best match that can be made. Unless Alexander Povetkin can dethrone Wladimir and set up a revenge angle for Vitali, we may have to wait and see if David Haye can inject some excitement into the proceedings.

Meanwhile, the losers of Saturday's fights have something in common: they're both pretty much done as legitimate title contenders. Tarver looks a step slow (at least), and though he's always good for entertainment value, retirement seems to be calling his name. There's absolutely no point in putting Peter back in against either Klitschko, and even if one of the brothers loses soon, he didn't show anything Saturday that's going to make him a hot commodity for any other champ. He seems destined to become a gatekeeper sooner rather than later.

One final note: getting psyched up for last weekend's fights, I almost missed the story that Evander Holyfield may be in line for a fight with Nikolai Valuev. That subject is enough to deserve a column of its own, but I can summarize my feelings in two words: Please. No.

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