Lamont Peterson (33-3-1, 17 KO’s) was unlucky to suffer a third career defeat against Danny Garcia (30-0, 17 KO’s) when the pair went the 12- round distance in Brooklyn, New York earlier this year.
Garcia’s light-welterweight titles were out of the equation as the bout was made at a 143 lb. catch-weight, but that will do nothing to ease Peterson’s frustration of suffering a majority decision loss on the judges scorecards.
Peterson’s trainer Barry Hunter reflected on that night with ESPN’s Dan Rafael recently, saying the result was not as damaging as it could have been due to the nature of the fight and the large audience it reached.
“I thought Lamont beat Garcia. A lot of people did,” Hunter said. “The person who came out with the loss actually came out the winner to a lot of people. I would love a rematch. Lamont would love a rematch. That was the easiest fight he has had since he has been in the top 10. The fight did a big viewership [on NBC in prime time], so let’s do it again. Imagine the viewership for the rematch?”
Garcia had trouble finding Peterson during the first half of the fight as the Washington native shook and jived all around the ring, making the pursuing Puerto Rican look positively pedestrian. But he focused so much on avoiding punches, it looked as though he forgot to throw any himself.
He compounded Garcia’s frustration by becoming far more aggressive over the last six rounds, and actually seemed the stronger of the two when they wrestled up close, and hurting the undefeated Garcia several times.
When it was announced, the result was razor-thin but still rather surprising. If he had initiated the second phase of his plan a round or two sooner, Peterson would almost certainly have got the win.
With that result in the books, the focus of the Peterson team can only be on the future, and Hunter told Rafael that while it is likely his man will move up to the 147 lb. division soon, he would be happy to yo-yo between the light-welter and welterweight divisions contingent on their manager Al Haymon’s approval.
“Lamont can still make 140,” he said. “I think the next fight will probably between 140 and 147, maybe 143-ish, 146. But if a title fight comes up at 140 or 147, we’ll take it. You know Lamont. He’ll fight anybody. Always has. Al and I are supposed to talk this weekend about things.”
Peterson looked his best in years against Garcia. Following a fourteen month absence beginning in December 2011 (after testing positive for a banned substance prior to dethroning Amir Khan), he looked little off the pace and suffered an early knockout loss to Lucas Matthysse in May 2013.
Since then, he has slowly rebuilt his confidence and reputation with conclusive wins over Dierry Jean and Edgar Santana, who do not offer much by way of name value, but allowed Peterson to show that he is indeed a league above fighters of that calibre.
It all came together for him against Garcia and it looks as though both of them will be making the move up to welterweight at around the same time, leaving the door open for a rematch to the same wide audience on NBC, perhaps even bigger.