Lamont Peterson, a great career remembered

Lamont Peterson story is deeply and truly one of triumph, tragedy and woes as well.

Peterson was one of twelve in his family growing up in Washington D.C. Peterson’s life was unraveled as his father was convicted of a drug charge and sent to prison when Peterson was seven. Shortly, thereafter Peterson was homeless after his mother abandoned them. They lost their home, and shortly thereafter their mother abandoned them, leaving the kids to fend for themselves.

Lamont and his brother Anthony were left to fend for themselves as Lamont helped raise Anthony in the process sleeping on park benches, cars and just awful situations a child shouldn’t have to face, but in this instance, had to.

Lamont Peterson met the man who would change his life 25 years ago, when he met Barry Hunter, the head coach of Headbangers Boxing Gym.

Hunter not just became both Lamont and Anthony’s coach, but also provided structure and took them in.

Lamont Peterson, who grew up having to defend Anthony Peterson, who is two years younger than him, but was much smaller than him took well to boxing quite possibly because of his experience in the streets. Withinn a few years, both Peterson’s became boxing stars in the amateur circuit.

Lamont Peterson would make his professional debut in 2004 when Glenn Johnson fought Roy Jones Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee.

In 2006, Peterson saw himself fighting for the Vacant WBC United States light welterweight title at the FedEx Forum against Jose Leo Moreno (12-1, 10 KOs) in a bout that he would win by a dominant decision. This was the first title of Peterson’s career.

Peterson would fight against Mario Ramos (16-2-1, 3 KOs), a man who had beaten Demetrius Hopkins in his last outing. Peterson would get another dominant decision win, only to win the vacant WBO NABO super lightweight title against Frankie Santos stopping Santos when Santos failed to answer the bell for the seventh round.

Peterson’s first major bout of his career came against soon-to-be hall-of-famer Timothy Bradley Jr. after Peterson had defeated Willy Blain for the vacant WBO interim title making him the mandatory to fight Timothy Bradley Jr (24-0, 11 KOs) at the Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage, California.

The bout didn’t go well for Peterson as he was dropped by Bradley in the third round and though getting off the canvas, Bradley shut him down throughout the fight winning a wide decision over Peterson.

Peterson, got his second chance to win a big fight when he faced rising contender Victor Ortiz (28-2-1, 22 KOs) at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. The fight started out awful for Peterson seeing him getting dropped twice in the first three rounds, but Peterson rallied back winning the middle and late rounds as the bout was ruled a majority draw.

The landmark achievement of Lamont Peterson’s career was in December of 2011 when he picked up a close split decision win over Amir Khan at The Convention Center in Washington D.C. Peterson fought in front of a sold-out crowd, and despite Khan getting docked two points for pushing down Peterson in the seventh and twelfth round. Peterson also had to get off the deck once with one being ruled a slip.

This win saw Peterson nab the IBF super lightweight world title and WBA super world super lightweight title as well as recording career-high $650,000 purse up.

In 2012, prior to the Amir Khan rematch, Lamont Peterson tested positive for a banned substance and was suspended for a year. This marks one of the uncomfortable aspects of Peterson’s career as despite being so likeable and positive. He was caught using a banned substance, which is not good by any means. Fair is fair, and it shouldn’t be glanced over.

Peterson would return in 2013 with only his IBF super lightweight world title, fighting on ESPN2 in a bout that was put on with a purse of $50,000 split between himself and the challenger Kendall Holt.

Peterson defended his title by stopping Kendall Holt in the eighth round after starting very slow. Peterson’s traditional tactical pressure wore down Kendall Holt in this bout allowing for the late stoppage.

Peterson would then face rising star and big-puncher Lucas Matthysse in a bout that was fought at a catchweight so Matthysse wouldn’t lose his WBC ranking since he was vying for a Danny Garcia fight, though it was counted as title defend by the WBC. Peterson was stopped by a left hook in the third round, the bout was credited as the height of Lucas Matthysse’s stardom and probably the biggest win of Matthysse’s career. Peterson didn’t lose his IBF super lightweight title as despite losing the bout was fought at a catchweight with his title not at stake.

Peterson would rebound by outclassing Dierry Jean, a world title contender, trying to stay relevant in the division, but unable to do compete with Peterson who soundly outpointed him. Jean was the number one contender for Peterson’s belt.

Lamont Peterson fought Danny Garcia on NBC on April 11, 2015 at The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York at a 143-pound catchweight bout. Garcia was coming off a shaky performance with Mauricio Herrera that many felt he had lost, and Peterson was looked at as tune-up or stay busy fight at this point in his career.

The bout is one of most debated to this day as Peterson walked down Garcia in the closing rounds and seemingly outboxed him early. The punch stats showed that Garcia landed 173 over the course of twelve rounds as opposed to Peterson who landed 170. Many people felt Peterson won this bout.

In 2015, Peterson had a step back as he had lost his IBF super lightweight world title, and fought Felix Diaz in a bout that was razor close, but saw a majority decision go his way. A lot of ringside pundits felt Diaz beat him and after the goodwill and dominant performance from the Garcia fight, many wrote off Peterson again. This is a trend in Peterson’s career.

In 2017, Peterson would beat Armenian David Avanesyan, who had become the number one contender for WBA world welterweight title after beating “Sugar” Shane Mosley. Peterson would outpoint him to win his second and final world title of his career.

Peterson would lose to one of the best modern fighters, let alone welterweights in Errol Spence Jr, staying competitive for four rounds, before the body shots of Spence took over, dropping Spence in the fifth round and stopping him in the seventh round, when his coach and life mentor Barry Hunter called the bout off. According to CompuBox stats, Spence was landing 161 of 526 punches thrown (31%), and Peterson landed only 45 of his 158 thrown (28%), that means that Spence outlanded Peterson at a ratio of 3:1.

Peterson’s final bout was this past Sunday, March 24th, 2019, in Oxon Hill, Maryland, in which he put up a gallant effort against former world champion Sergey Lipinets, who is a tremendous power puncher. Peterson outboxed Lipinets early but found himself knee deep in a fight as he elected to trade with Lipinets, potentially because the movement may not have been possible for the entire time or that he just wanted to dig down and give his hometown fans a fight. Despite leading on the cards, Peterson began to get walked down by Lipinets who hurt him in the ninth round, but stayed upright. In the tenth and final round of Peterson’s career, Lipinets dropped him seconds before the end of the round as Barry Hunter called a halt to the fight.

After the fight, Barry Hunter took the microphone in the ring only to hand it to Lamont Peterson. Peterson then announced his retirement.

Lamont Peterson will be a testiment to hard work as well as experiencing extreme highs and lows in life itself. I will always have a tremendous amount of respect for Peterson for the way in which he carried himself amongst other fighters, media, as well as helping bring up another generation of fighters who looked up to him. Peterson helped young fighters grow without hurting them.

Lamont Peterson is a uniquely American success story

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Lukie Ketelle

Lukie Ketelle