IBF beltholder Lamont Peterson said he expects RING No. 1-rated junior welterweight Lucas Matthysse of Argentina “to bring it all night” when they meet May 18 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., on Showtime.
Coming off January’s first-round knockout of Mike Dallas Jr., Matthysse (33-2, 31 knockouts) has had five straight stoppage wins since sandwiching disputed decision losses to left-handers Zab Judah and Devon Alexander around an eighth-round stoppage of southpaw DeMarcus Corley.
But none of that phases Peterson, who took part during Thursday’s open workout at The Bald Eagle Recreation Center in Southwest, D.C.
“I’m not worried about Matthysse. I’ve known him for a while. He’s a strong guy. He’s going to bring it all night — pretty much the way I like it to be — and it’s going to be a great fight,” said Peterson, according to Golden Boy Promotions press release.
“Everyone keeps asking me about his [Matthysse’s] punching power. I know what I signed up for. I realize I’m going to get hit in the face, but I will be hitting him back. I’m not worried about taking a few punches. I’m prepared to go 12 rounds.”
Peterson (31-1-1, 16 KOs) is coming off an eighth-round stoppage of ex-titleholder Kendall Holt in February at The D.C. Armory in his hometown of Washington, D.C. He is 4-0-1, with three knockouts, since falling to current WBO welterweight beltholder Tim Bradley by unanimous decision in 2009.
It is Peterson’s versatility, said his manager and trainer, Barry Hunter, that will be the difference against Matthysse.
“All of Lamont’s other fights leading up to this point have been very good fights, some of them even great fights,” said Hunter. “But I believe this is the fight that can totally take him over the top and put him in the lotto for a fight with someone like a [RING welterweight champion] Floyd Mayweather.”
In August of 2009, about five months prior to receiving his first-ever title shot against Bradley, Peterson engaged in what he and Hunter described as a “competitive” sparring session with Mayweather.
In addition, Peterson has demonstrated the ability to overcome early adversity in fights, having survived a pair of third-round knockdowns to salvage a draw with ex-welterweight titleholder Victor Ortiz as 140-pounders in 2010, as well as a first-round knockdown during his split-decision victory over Amir Khan in December of 2011.
“Lamont is a fighter that can make all kinds of adjustments in the ring. There are a lot of fighters that can’t go toe to toe [as he can]. Lamont is a little more versatile than other fighters that I have seen and definitely more versatile than other fighters Matthysse has faced in the past,” said Hunter.
“This fight ends with us raising our hands and going on to the next one. We’re approaching this fight differently than fights in the past. If you look around in the gym, there are a lot of people that Lamont has been sparring with — junior middleweights, middleweights and even light heavyweights. This isn’t anything that we can’t handle.”
In a weight class where Danny Garcia (26-0, 16 KOs) is the RING, WBA and WBC champion, Peterson is rated No. 2 behind Matthysse.
“I believe I’m at the top level. But at this point, a win over Lucas solidifies me as a top guy not only in the weight class, but a Top 15 pound-for-pound guy in the game,” said Peterson.
“It would lead to bigger fights. That’s where I want to land. If I were climbing a ladder, a win over Matthysse would be a big jump up to the top.”
Peterson said he will use the early rounds to size up Matthysse.
“I’ll feel my way through the fight in the first few rounds. We have game plans and will work through all of them, pick the best one and go from there. I think it will be a hard-fought fight. We’re both going to be matching each other punch for punch,” said Peterson.
“I’m not going to let him get an inch on me. I’m sure he is thinking the same thing. … At the end of the day, I’m preparing for a hard fought 12-round fight. I’ll be there every step of the way. May the best man win, but I have more to my game and more strategies to work with.”
Peterson, 29, and his younger brother, lightweight standout, Anthony Peterson, 28, were rescued from the streets of Washington by Hunter, who was introduced to the siblings by their close friend, Patrice Harris.
Their hazardous street life included fending for themselves in Southeast Washington starting at the ages of 5 and 6, after their father was jailed on drug charges and their mother was left to care for seven children.
They went from foster care to the streets and back. For money, they washed car windows or resorted to stealing from grocery stores, becoming pickpockets, swiping tips off of the tables at outdoor restaurants and things such as stealing bicycles and selling them.
“Lamont has had to deal with pressure his whole life,” said Hunter. “This fight, as opposed to some of the things he’s gone through as a kid, won’t get to him or shake his confidence.”
Meanwhile, Anthony Peterson (31-1, 20 KOs) will return to the ring on the Peterson-Matthysse undercard. He hasn’t fought since December of 2011, when he decisioned Daniel Attah on the Lamont Peterson-Khan undercard.
“I’ve been fighting forever. A long layoff isn’t a problem for me. I’m in the gym everyday preparing for this,” said Anthony Peterson, who will face 29-year-old Dominic Salcido (18-4, 9 KOs), of Rialto, Calif., in a 10-rounder.
“I haven’t fought in 17 months, and I’m itching to get back in the ring. But I’m not going to rush it. I’m not going to go in there looking for the knockout. I’m going to go in there and take my time.”
Anthony Peterson’s lone loss was to Brandon Rios by disqualification in September of 2010.
Photos by Delane Rouse, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org