NEW YORK — Oleg Maskaev’s unlikely reign as heavyweight champion ended not with a knockout but with a decision: a vote by the World Boxing Council’s board of governors to name Samuel Peter its interim titleholder.
His manager thinks the WBC didn’t give Maskaev a fair shot. Fred Kesch denounced the WBC decision as “absurd,” “reprehensible” and “disgraceful.”
“There’s no rhyme or reason to it,” Kesch said before the injured fighter visited a doctor Wednesday to treat his bad back. “There’s no logic, no intelligent path. This is like fiction, and it’s being rewritten with every stroke.”
Last week, Maskaev (34-5, 26 KOs) pulled out of his scheduled Oct. 6 Madison Square Garden fight against Peter. The champion, who captured the belt in 2006 with a knockout of Hasim Rahman, was idled by herniated discs.
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On Monday, the WBC board voted to name Peter its interim champion with the intention of finding a replacement for Maskaev. An angry Kesch charged the decision was a slap at his fighter, along with a way to perhaps cut Maskaev’s purse when he does get back in the ring.
“I have nothing against Samuel Peter, but they don’t even give Oleg a chance to recuperate,” Kesch said. “Where does it say if Oleg is injured, it’s automatic that the opponent becomes interim champ?
“When Mike Tyson was injured, when Evander Holyfield was injured, who became interim champ then?”
WBC President Jose Sulaiman said he understood Kesch’s frustration but insisted his organization handled the case correctly.
“He has the right to defend his fighter,” Sulaiman said. “But the WBC has the right to do whatever is better for boxing. The case here is that Oleg, who is a very nice person, has not defended the title for 10 months. We want activity in the most important division of boxing.”
Defending champion Germany broke a shutout record in defeating Norway 3-0 in Tianjin, China, and claimed a spot in the final of the Women’s World Cup against the United States-Brazil winner. Germany has gone 529 minutes without conceding a World Cup goal, dating to the 2003 tournament. That broke China’s record, which was 442 minutes in 1999 and 2003.
The U.S. takes the players ranked Nos. 1 through 4 in the world — Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker — into the Presidents Cup beginning today at the Royal Montreal course. U.S. captain Jack Nicklaus brings experience and mystique. “When he does speak, everyone listens because obviously he’s the greatest player of all time,” Woods said. “You always want to hear what he’s going to say.” ... David Duval spent much of the time he set aside for putting practice Wednesday shaking hands and talking about his new baby. The Viking Classic, beginning today in Madison, Miss., will be his first PGA tournament since February following a seven-month break to be with his wife during a difficult pregnancy. New daughter Sienna was born healthy last month, and Duval said wife Susie is doing well.
Ryane Clowe tied the game on a power play with 53.5 seconds left and Rob Davison scored the winning goal in the fifth round of a shootout, lifting the San Jose Sharks to a 4-3 preseason win over the host Vancouver Canucks. Rookie Devin Setoguchi scored the other goals for the Sharks — his fourth and fifth of the preseason — on the power play. ...
William W. Wirtz, who owned the Chicago Blackhawks through years of sweeping changes in the NHL and was chairman of the league’s board of governors for nearly two decades, died of cancer in Evanston, Ill. He was 77.
The United States and defending Davis Cup champion Russia will contest the 2007 final from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2 at Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Ore. Andy Roddick is expected to join fellow top-10 player James Blake in singles against Russia, with the top-ranked doubles pairing of Bob and Mike Bryan completing the U.S. team. The Americans have won the Davis Cup title a record 31 times, but not since 1995, when Pete Sampras led the team to victory over Russia at Moscow. ... Roddick withdrew from the Thailand Open because of a foot injury.
Samoa ended a five-match losing streak at the Rugby World Cup by beating the United States 25-21 in its final Group A match in Saint-Etienne, France. The U.S. has one point in Group A and almost certainly will end up last with its final match against group winner South Africa on Sunday in Montpellier.
Hanka Kupfernagel of Germany beat American Kristin Armstrong, the defending champion, by 23 seconds in winning the time trial at the road cycling world championships in Stuttgart, Germany.
Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., will install lights in time for the 2008 racing season and become the 10th current NASCAR Nextel Cup oval to hold night racing, beginning with the race on July 12.