Eddie Chambers understands what it's like to watch a heavyweight title disappear in a one-sided defeat.
"You have to sit around afterward and get your mind right," Chambers said. "It was on my mind for months. You think about it all the time, it's like a little fly bugging you."
Samuel Peter experienced that five months ago, when Vitali Klitschko pounded him for eight rounds before Peter, 28, retired on his stool in Berlin and surrendered the World Boxing Council heavyweight belt he had won in March 2008.
Chambers, 26, suffered a similar battering in Berlin in January 2008, when Russian heavyweight Alexander Povetkin scored a lopsided unanimous decision in an International Boxing Federation title eliminator.
Chambers (33-1, 18 knockouts) disappointed not only himself, but his promoter, Dan Goossen. Now, three bouts later, he's back in a significant main event tonight when he fights Peter (30-2, 23 KOs) in the first boxing card at downtown Los Angeles' Nokia Theatre. The Chambers-Peter bout is scheduled for 10 rounds.
"This is my opportunity to make everyone forget [Povetkin]," Chambers said. "I'm back on TV." (ESPN is televising the fight). "This is my chance to show I'm the guy I've always trained to be."
It's a sizable challenge. Chambers weighed in at 223 for the fight, while Peter weighed 265. A loss by Chambers might make a shift to cruiserweight seem reasonable.
"I don't think cruiserweight comes into this . . . I think he'll stomp Sam Peter," said Goossen, who's obligated to say such things.
"I believe Eddie's a real heavyweight. They call him 'Fast Eddie' for a reason. That sheer multitude of punches -- his quickness, accuracy and leverage is debilitating."
It's what Chambers has built his career on. He grew up in Pittsburgh, where he and two younger siblings endured "a tough life" that followed his father's failed business as a bar owner.
Chambers remembers winters in front of kerosene heaters, as he and his father delivered newspapers to make a living. He recalls doing a 3 a.m. newspaper route one day, and fighting that night.
One night, a manager discovered Chambers delivering some unlikely moves for a heavyweight, "slipping under a hook, spinning behind the guy," Chamber said, to win a bout against "a guy who had just got out of prison, a real tough guy."
From there, he said, "I got us out of that severe poverty."
The Chambers-Peter fight will follow appearances by Goossen's young stable, including the pro debut of welterweight Javier Molina. The 2008 U.S. Olympian from Commerce will fight Alhambra's Jaime Cabrera. Molina, 19, is attending John Glenn High in Norwalk after spending parts of last year in the U.S. Olympic boxing program.
Shawn Estrada, Molina's former Olympics teammate, will fight his third pro bout against Oakland's Ray Craig (5-4). And Covina lightweight John Molina (15-0, 11 KOs) has an eight-round bout against Carlos Vinan (8-6-3).
"You prefer the young kids to have a fight that's more than just [delivering] one good punch on the chin," Goossen said.
Hands of plaster
The hand wrappings confiscated from former world welterweight champion Antonio Margarito minutes before his title defense against Shane Mosley in January contained calcium and sulfur, two primary elements in plaster of Paris, according to a California Department of Justice laboratory report obtained by The Times on Thursday.
Hardened gauze pads inserted inside the wrappings around Margarito's knuckle area were seized Jan. 24 after Mosley's trainer Nazim Richardson objected to their use.
Margarito lost his title in a ninth-round technical knockout by Mosley, and the California State Athletic Commission subsequently revoked the licenses of Margarito, and his trainer Javier Capetillo, for one year.
"The commission's decision appears to be supported by that report," said Karen Chappelle, the state deputy attorney general for licensing. "The only things that are allowed in hand wraps are gauze and tape and those items aren't gauze and tape."
Bob Arum, Margarito's promoter, had no immediate response to the findings, saying, "I'd have to see [the report]."