Embraceable You (With Occasional Violence): Wladimir Klitschko TKO10 Samuel Peter

Rarely is Ross Greenburg credited with making sensible decisions, but banishing Wladimir Klitschko from HBO may very well be one of them. In an eyesore of a bout, Klitschko stopped weary Sam Peter in the 10th round of a scheduled 12 at the Commerzbank-Arena in Frankfurt, Germany. The official time of the TKO was 1:22.

With the win, Klitschko scored a repeat (if much more emphatic) victory over Peter, whom he outpointed in 2005 despite suffering three knockdowns. This time Peter, who received his big money opportunity in front of over 40,000 fans when Alexander Povetkin came down with a case of the shakes, could not deck Klitschko once. Nor could he last the distance. But he did the best he could early and took a terrific lacing until the curtains came down on him in the 10th.

Peter, 241, came out roaring at the opening bell, forcing Klitschko to give ground by hurling looping punches from a crouch. Formerly the artless type, Peter tried adding guile to his game by adopting a middling bob and weave technique that sent the bones of Jack Dempsey into a grave spin. From time to time Peter looked like he was about to capsize, so extreme was his hunching, but he cranked up errant left hooks without pause and caught Klitschko against the ropes with a hard overhand right. Klitschko looked somewhat confused for the first round, but pulled out his equalizers–a defensive jab and Old Snuggle–every chance he got to stall Peter. A counter right also seemed to slow “The Nigerian Nightmare” down near the end of the round.

In the second, Peter continued his aggression, but Klitschko, 247, met him with some stiff shots, including several crisp right crosses. Peter, Las Vegas, Nevada via Nigeria, was officially out of the fight by then, and Klitschko held the whip hand for the remainder of the bout.

In between armbars, headlocks, half-nelsons, and belly rubs, Klitschko landed stiff jabs and his compact rights with little trouble. As the rounds went by, Peter first lost his bob, then misplaced his weave, until, finally, he was bobless, weaveless, and defenseless. Exhausted by a pace he could not maintain–as well as by several bear hugs and side headlocks–Peter was a swollen mess by round six. Klitschko, Kiev, Ukraine, measured him with well-timed rights and the occasional check hook, and whenever Peter lunged in too close, Klitschko held without shame. One has to ask if there is a referee in the entire world who will take a point away from Klitschko for blatant holding? Once in a while the two fighters would fall into a natural clinch, but more often it was Klitschko, 34, practically reaching out to embrace Peter like some ghoul from a back issue of Vault of Horror or Tales From the Crypt. The bout, an ugly affair, saw limbs akimbo most of the time, and both fighters resembled contortionists whenever they came within a foot of each other. Still, it was Klitschko who dealt out the punishment, steadily working Peter over with a thudding jab and quick one-twos.

By the eighth round, Peter, slowed to the pace of a beachcomber, was being nailed repeatedly by Klitschko, who began to zero in on the target when he saw just how frayed his opponent was. Peter, 30, listened groggily as his corner threatened to stop the fight between rounds and came out with a little more energy to start the ninth, but he took more punishment for his efforts. His eyes were nearly swollen shut at this point. He also began to reciprocate in the hugging department.

With Emanuel Steward exhorting him to score a KO, Klitschko, as he did against Eddie Chambers in his last fight, came out and tried to oblige his trainer. A barrage of punches had Peter, now 34-4 (27), reeling soon after the bell rang to start the round and a whistling right uppercut nearly decapitated him. Referee Robert Byrd jumped in to halt the slaughter just as Peter crashed to the mat. He remained there, on his back, for two or three minutes before being helped to his stool.

Klitschko, who improves to 55-3 (47), can now look forward to trying to find a worthwhile opponent in a division–as desolate as the Dead Sea–where Cristobal Arreola is still ranked in the top 10 by The Ring. At this point, only David Haye and Tomasz Adamek make any kind of sense, but Haye appears to be leery of competition at the moment, which leaves Adamek as the only chance Klitschko has right now to emerge from the ESPN360.com zone.

Read more from Carlos Acevedo at The Cruelest Sport.