It's rare in boxing that justice is served after a bad decision. But this time, the powers that be have made the right call and ordered an immediate mandatory rematch between James Toney and Samuel Peter. The vast majority of onlookers and boxing pundits agree that Toney won. I don't think it was even close. Almost everyone agrees it was an intriguing fight, and the lack of clinching and holding demonstrated by both men was impressive and rare for today's heavies.
The first Toney vs Peter fight was the most hyped and anticipated heavyweight fight in years. Toney vs. Peter II promises to be even better, with both men trying (and presumably training) harder. The sooner the rematch occurs the better for Toney, who hopefully won't have had time to put on much weight between fights.
I'm no fan of Dino Duva, Peter's promoter, but to his credit, he has taken the decision well, as has Peter. Then again, this second fight will be by far the largest purse Peter has recived. He is eligible now to receive 55% of the purse--far higher of a cut than he could have gotten with Maskaev. Toney is still the biggest name left in American heavyweight boxing, and the Peter camp will enjoy the benefits of that without being forced into a weak negotiating position for the purse.
The board of governors of the WBC voted 21 to 10 for the rematch, so clearly most agreed that Toney won, even if they can't state that outright in their press release. WBC president Jose Sulaiman offered these as the official reasons why the rematch was ordered:
"First, for having been an extremely close fight which divided the opinions of the media and fans, this rematch will clear the air and we will have an official undisputable challenger to our new champion Oleg Maskaev," Sulaiman said. "Two, the WBC believes that at this moment there cannot be a more interesting heavyweight fight than this rematch. There is a huge public demand for this rematch."
Last time around, I was the only one at Bad Left Hook to predict a Toney victory. I'm guessing that won't be the case next time around.