Bad Left Hook was informed tonight that Oleg Maskaev will take a tune-up fight in Saransk, Russia, on March 14, while the former WBC heavyweight titlist waits his turn in line at another shot at the gold.
Maskaev's manager, Fred Kesch, noted that if Maskaev (35-6, 26 KO) were to somehow lose to Boruff (17-2-1, 10 KO, Kokomo, IN), he would give up the mandatory status he received as a present on Christmas Day 2008. One is still left to ponder how, exactly, Maskaev was deemed a "mandatory" contender for beating journeyman Robert Hawkins after being smashed by Samuel Peter in March of last year, but these are things for sanctioning bodies to decide, and I'd hate to try to wrap my mortal brain around the maths and sciences that go into such decisions.
Should Maskaev and Klitschko both win their upcoming fights, it's mandated that Vitali-Maskaev take place within 120 days of Klitschko's bout on March 21 in Germany. I'm sure that can be side-stepped. If you'll recall, it was Maskaev and team that tried to work out a deal to immediately face the returning Vitali Klitschko for the WBC title when Maskaev still held the trinket, teaming up with Klitschko and Co. and the WBC itself to try to get Peter to step aside for a period of time. Peter, who twice won eliminators against James Toney, didn't do it.
It was then set for Peter and Maskaev to meet in late 2007, and for Vitali to make his in-ring return around the same time. Neither fight happened; Vitali pulled out of a bout with Jameel McCline, and Maskaev pulled out against Peter. Instead, Peter and McCline fought for the WBC interim title, and Peter nearly was the victim of a big-time upset, eventually pounding out a close decision win.
When Maskaev and Peter finally met in Cancun last March, the fight wasn't close. Peter mauled Maskaev and stopped him in the sixth round, and Klitschko bided his time long enough to return to the sport with an immediate title shot, as he wanted to all along. Klitschko destroyed Peter upon his return, and that's the title situation as it stands now.
Samuel Peter is off fighting Eddie Chambers on Friday Night Fights, while Maskaev takes on a creampuff that was knocked out by Michael Moorer in 2007 and then by JD Chapman last year, lasting a grand total of five minutes and 51 seconds in the two fights combined. And should Maskaev win, he's already the mandatory.
Gotta love them heavyweights!
Now, listen, I don't blame the fighters for all this bureaucratic B.S., and there is an interesting element to a potential Klitschko-Maskaev fight, which is that when the two were top amateur stars, Maskaev knocked Vitali out in the first round.
By the time the two of them meet again, if they do, Vitali will have turned 38, and Maskaev turns 40 on March 2.