RingTV.com caught up to Barry Hunter, the trainer of newly-crowned IBF/WBA junior welterweight titleholder Lamont Peterson, and he gave his thoughts on the fact that since beating Amir Khan, the 27-year-old Peterson (30-1-1, 15 KOs) has become a candidate to face RING No. 1-rated pound-for-pound fighter Manny Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs).
Peterson, who earned $650,000 to Khan’s $1.1 million, is reported to be under consideration along with other options for Pacquiao, which include a fourth bout with Juan Manuel Marquez and bouts opposite WBO junior welterweight beltholder Tim Bradley or WBA junior middleweight titleholder Miguel Cotto.
Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, told RingTV.com that he sees Peterson as “a great opponent for Manny Pacquiao if the fight (with WBC welterweight titleholder Floyd Mayweather Jr.) does not happen.”
Mayweather is facing a 90-day jail sentence that is slated to begin on Jan. 6, a development which threatens his announced plan to return to the ring on May 5 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Many have speculated his opponent was intended to be Pacquiao.
Rated No. 2 in his division by THE RING, Peterson appeared on an edition of NBC’s Washington, D.C.-based news broadcast and declared himself “ready to go” if called upon to face Pacquiao.
Peterson has been offered a career-high $1 million by Golden Boy Promotions for a rematch with Khan, who has cited poor officiating and scorecard descrepancies among the reasons he has appealed to the IBF and the WBA to overturn Peterson’s victory or else to order an immediate rematch.
Hunter said Peterson is also considering a return bout with RING No. 8-rated pound-for-pound Bradley, owner of a unanimous decision over Peterson for the WBO belt in December of 2009.
RingTV.com: Your thoughts on how seriously Lamont is being considered as a potential opponent for Pacquiao?
Barry Hunter: Freddie Roach is a boxing guy, and I think that he’s an honorable person. So I definitely have a lot or respect for the man and what he thinks. Michael Koncz? You know, I don’t know him like I know Freddie.
But to be definitely spoken about and to be named with people like Manny Pacquiao the rest of these top of the line guys? You know, like Floyd. That tells you that you’re a great fighter. So that’s always an honor.
But when it comes down to fighting, and this is not speaking from one who is arrogant, but just from one who is very, very confident in what we do, I think that Lamont could fight any of them.
And I’m confident that he would do well with any of them. So, whatever that next step is as far as fighting is concerned, you know, I think that Lamont is ready for anybody.
RingTV.com: Is your perspective that they truly believe that he can go with Pacquiao or that he is an easy opponent for Pacquiao?
BH: I don’t have no concern about that one way or another. A lot of people have been saying that we should have gotten beaten several times a long time ago. We weren’t supposed to get this far.
But we’ve been underdogs for our entire career. So, as far as the odds are concerned, we’re all right with the odds. We’re not worried about the odds. Check out our history.
In all of the fights that we’ve every fought, we’ve had one loss, and we had one bad day. And I doubt very seriously that you’ll see a day like that come again any time soon.
So, I’m happy with the position that we’re in right now. But we’re not satisfied. So regardless of what they believe, one way or another, we’re ready for whatever is out there for us.
RingTV.com: Have you been contacted by anyone from the Pacquiao or Bradley camps?
BH: The Bradley camp, yes. Nobody else, really, thus far. We’ll be talking about what our next possible move will be and give it some real thought. At this point, we’ve been trying to take it easy and take it all in.
I spoke to Bob Arum earlier about Bradley. But it really wasn’t about Timmy really, it was more about congratulations for what we had done. Nothing official.
RingTV.com: Can you address your preference as to whether Lamont goes with a fight with Pacquiao or the rematches with Khan and/or Bradley?
BH: As far as Bradley is concerned, I think that the difference for us in that fight would be that we would win the fight. Lamont is much more mature now and he’s much more comfortable than he was in that fight. As far as the stage of his career is concerned, that’s No. 1 about Bradley.
No. 2, we had some problems with weight back then. Now, we have that under control.As far as Amir Khan is concerned, I think that he would try to be more aggressive, but I think that the outcome would be the same. As far as Manny is concerned, we approach fighters as people.
We don’t see super stars, we see people. So Manny, to us, you have to respect him on the one hand. But on the same note, again, this is just a man. To me, I don’t think that any fighter is insurmountable. I think that anybody can be beat. We’ve gotten beat before. Manny’s gotten beat before. Khan’s been beaten.
Everybody takes a loss once in a while. But nevertheless, going into a fight with Pacquiao, we would approach that fight no differently than any other fight that we’ve ever had. Whether he’s 0-15, or, 8-15, or undefeated. We’re going to go into the fight the same way — as if we’re fighting a world champion.
RingTV.com: Which of the three fights would be most appealing to you at this point — Pacquiao, Khan or Bradley?
BH: You know, you’re always going to base a lot of it on business, because, ast the end of the day, it’s a business. But, any of those guys. We definitely want to fight Pacquiao. Of course, we do. Who wouldn’t?
Of course, the money would be different. Plus, you know, if you are truly a warrior of the game, what better way to show that than to go out and to face the man who is supposed to be the best man in the business.
RingTV.com: Since Lamont has acknowledged that Marquez is his favorite fighter, did he take anything away from Marquez’s last performance against Pacquiao that he could use in a fight with Pacquiao?
BH: I didn’t really sit down and talk to him in depth about that particular fight, but he has mentioned it to me as have several other people. But whenever we prepare for a fighter, be it a struggling opponent or a champion, we pretty much approach it the same way.
We go back and we look at the videos and we try to find their strengths, and we definitley try to uncover and exploit their weaknesses. At the end of the fight, with Marquez, we have a great deal of respect for Marquez also. Skillwise, I think that the man is a surgeon.
As gifted as Marquez is, we break it down just that same way, piece by piece. So whomever that person is, Manny or whomever, we will take our time, we’ll dissect the video, and we’ll look for tendancies in the particular fighter, and try to exploit their weaknesses.
RingTV.com: Did we see the best Lamont Peterson against Amir Khan?
BH: No. Lamont’s abilities are so that he can make an adjustment to almost any fighter that he fights, No. 1. No. 2, the better the competition, the better Lamont is. In the case of going back to Bradley. I think that a few things happened in the Bradley fight that made us fight a certain way that particular night.
But I think that because of that fight, we’re better. We’ve learned a lot since then.So definitely, we’re looking forward to Lamont furthering his career down the line. Of course, Manny Pacquiao is the man right now. Even though I think that Floyd should still have that title.
Nevertheless, Manny Pacquiao is the man, and we would definitely like to fight Manny Pacquiao. There’s always room for improvement because Lamont is still very young in the game. I think that the sky is the limit for him, because the man has so many different skill sets that he can bring to the table.
The thing is, one of his abilities is that Lamont is able to make adjustments so many times. I think that he can adapt to anybody. We’ve gone back since the Bradley fight and we’ve fixed some things. With his dedication to the sport, if he does what he’s capable of doing, the sky is the limit for him.
Other Peterson stories:
Photo courtesy of Barry Hunter
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Photo by Delane Rouse, Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org