When Lamont Peterson (31-1-1) stepped into the ring against Kendall Holt (28-6-0) on February 22nd, many fight fans and members of boxing media did not know what to expect after his 14 month layoff. Teddy Atlas, renowned trainer and ESPN commentator, was not one of them. “He was a little tentative and a little rusty early on but, once he got his motor running, he did what I thought he’d do.”
After a tumultuous year, from which some believed he would never recover, Peterson dominated the former light welterweight titleholder and earned a stoppage halfway through the 8th round. The impressive performance likely set him up for an exciting spring clash against the heavy handed Argentine Lucas Matthysse (33-2-0). A fight that Atlas believes Peterson can win. “I like Peterson but it’d be an interesting fight. Matthysse is no walk in the park. He’s a tough guy but he’s not hard to find. He’s right in front of you. “
His rematch with Amir Khan would have earned Peterson his first seven-figure payday but a positive drug test nixed that plan. Fast forward a year and, aside from a match against Top Rank’s Brandon Rios, all other relevant fights at 140 can be made only with a Golden Boy fighter in the opposing corner. With that, Lamont is more than pleased to be in the discussion for another big name fight.
The DC native packs the house in his hometown and a win against Matthysse will open even more doors for the 29 year old fighter and introduce him to other larger markets. Junior welterweight showdowns against Ring Champion Danny Garcia, a possible rematch with Khan, or other big “money” fights at 147 (pun intended), have already been tossed around.
Before that conversation warms up, however, he’ll have to get past the devastating punching power that Matthysse will bring to the table if that fight is made. Atlas, again, feels that he would have what it takes to come out victorious.
“Being a devastating puncher can only take you so far. If you can’t land that bomb or if you land it on someone who’s determined to take it, then what do you do? Peterson’s a real pro, and that’s a better compliment than saying that somebody’s a devastating puncher. Peterson’s more than a devastating puncher. He’s solid technically and he brings it all night long,” said Atlas.
The streets-to-glory story is not that uncommon in the world of boxing but there’s something about Lamont Peterson that shows that he has the potential and grit to carry himself very far in this sport. He may never be as boisterous or marketable as an Adrien Broner, or as polarizing as an Amir Khan or as electrifying as Martinez or Alvarez, but he’s a safe-money bet when discussing the future of the pound for pound list.
As the likes of Mayweather, Marquez, Martinez, Pacquiao and the Klitschkos’ approach the twilight of their careers, don’t be surprised if we see Lamont Peterson fill in a 140-154 lb. void in the years to come.