There is no belt on the line because the IBF, whose 140-pound title Peterson holds, would not sanction the boxer for a fight against another organization’s interim beltholder, and Matthysse would not vacate the WBC’s version.
So they’re fighting anyway — and for all the rights reasons — at a catchweight of 141 pounds.
Matthysse, 30, is THE RING’s No. 1-rated junior welterweight with a record of 33-2 (31 knockouts), and will be after his sixth consecutive stoppage win since falling to current IBF welterweight titleholder Devon Alexander by disputed split-decision as a 140-pounder in June of 2011.
“When they said no one wants to fight him, that got under my skin,” said Peterson. “He’s in my weight class. I wanted to fight him to prove that there was someone out there that wants to fight him.”
Peterson, 29, is THE RING’s No. 2-rated 140-pounder with a mark of 31-1-1 that includes 16 stoppage victories, and he is 4-0-1, with three knockout victories since falling by unanimous decision to current WBO 147-pound beltholder Tim Bradley as a junior welterweight in December of 2009.
“Winning on Saturday night in a big fashion will open some doors,” said Matthysse. “I want the big fights against the big names and it all starts on Saturday night.”
Matthysse’s two losses were to by split-decision to left-handers Zab Judah and Alexander in November of 2010 and June of 2011. In both cases Matthysse fought in hostile territory and dropped his opponents, with Alexander suffering the first knockdown of his career.
In Peterson’s past two wins, he rose from a first-round knockdown to earn a split-decision over two-division titlewinner Amir Khan in December of 2011, and then scored an eighth-round knockout over ex-titleholder Kendall Holt after dropping him in Rounds 4 and 6.
“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.”
Maybe so, but Matthysse thinks the fight ends another way.
“I don’t want to go the distance and I don’t think that it’s going to go the distance,” said Matthysse. “…I’m going to win by KO. I’m going to knock out Lamont Peterson on May 18 in Atlantic City.”
Check out what 20 boxing insiders believe will transpire in Peterson-Matthysse:
Lucas Matthysse UD 12 Lamont Peterson: In what should be a great action fight, I see Lamont Peterson getting out to an early lead, before Lucas Matthysse’s superior power, aggressiveness and strength get the better of Peterson, leading to a close decision.
Record: 5-5 [Last pick: Mayweather UD 12 Guerrero]
Lucas Matthysse by late TKO over Lamont Peterson: I think Lamont Peterson has the ability to outbox and maybe outwork Lucas Matthysse, but I’m not sure he has the mentality to do so. The question I ask is can Peterson box a disciplined match (mainly from the outside).
I don’t think he can. Peterson is at his best when he’s walking opponents down behind a high guard and combination punching. Peterson is tough and always well-conditioned, so I think he can have some success doing this against Matthysse.
But the Argentine is a hard man with a hard punch, so ultimately, I think an aggressive fight favors “Matty.” I think Matthysse will score with short counter rights even as he’s being outworked or outmaneuvered in the early rounds. Peterson won’t shy away from exchanges, but Matthysse blocks well in close and has decent head movement.
Matthysse also has underrated footwork, which always puts him in position to land follow up shots after he hurts his opponents. I think Matthysse will hurt and drop Peterson in the middle rounds and then cooly and systematically wear the game titleholder down in the late rounds of an intense, high quality fight.
Record: 6-4 [Mayweather UD 12 Guerrero]
Lucas Matthysse KO 10 Lamont Peterson: History says Lucas Matthysse knows how to win one way. With only one victory by decision almost five years ago, Matthysse’s resume presents double-edged danger: Danger for Lamont Peterson, if he wanders into Matthysse’s strike zone. And danger for Matthysse, if he can’t elude a scorecard verdict with a definitive stoppage.
Matthysse’s way figures to prevail with power that promises to exert itself in the later rounds. Peterson’s resilience and jab will work for a while. But he’s always been lured into harm’s way. Any exchange, no matter how brief, will result in a quick end against Matthysse.
Peterson was down twice against Victor Ortiz. He was on the canvas once against Tim Bradley and once against Amir Khan. Matthysse’s unrivalled power will keep him there.
Record: 7-3 [Mayweather KO 10 Guerrero]