Peterson brothers return, looking to get back on track
Former welterweight and junior welterweight titleholder Lamont Peterson took his time, thought things through and decided he was not quite done with boxing just yet.
Fourteen months ago, Peterson boxed for only the second time since late 2015 and it did not go well. He was punished in a one-sided loss challenging welterweight titleholder Errol Spence Jr., who knocked him down in the fifth round, swelled his right eye nearly closed and stopped him when Peterson’s career-long trainer and father figure Barry Hunter stopped the fight with Peterson on the stool one second into the eighth round.
Peterson, who did not win a round on any of the three scorecards, had been battered by his pal Spence throughout the fight and when it was over said he would seriously consider retirement.
Ultimately, Peterson decided to give it another go, which will he will do when he faces former junior welterweight titleholder Sergey Lipinets in a 12-round welterweight fight in the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions tripleheader on Sunday (Fox Sports 1 and Fox Deportes, 8 p.m. ET) at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon, Hill, Maryland, just outside of Peterson’s hometown of Washington, D.C.
“For the first time ever, I’ll be fighting on a card [with my brother and nephew]. I knew this day would probably happen, but I’m happy that it’s this time around.” Lamont Peterson
Peterson, who has faced numerous top opponents, including Spence, Danny Garcia, Lucas Matthysse, Felix Diaz, Kendall Holt, Amir Khan, Victor Ortiz and Timothy Bradley Jr., said the time off was good for him after such a hard fight. He said he is ready and excited to get back into the ring.
“I wanted to rest the body,” he said. “It’s been a long career. I’ve been boxing for 25 years, doing it professionally for 15 years, pretty much straight through. Only injuries have held me back. I just wanted to take some time to relax, and if my body was able to recover and come back close to what I was or better, then I was going to go on.
“I feel rested and good now and just took some time to learn my body more. I want to get better, though. If I lose, then that means the game is asking more from me. So, I have to give it more if I say I want to be at the top and one of the best fighters.”
Peterson (35-4-1, 17 KOs), 35, is not coming off the layoff to face a low-level opponent. The hard-charging Lipinets (14-1, 10 KOs), 29, of Kazakhstan fighting out of Beverly Hills, California, is anything but a tune-up opponent.
“I always have an idea of how it’s going to go, but we’re prepared for whatever,” Peterson said. “I think overall it should be a fun fight.”
Lipinets won a vacant junior welterweight belt by wide decision over Akihiro Kondo in November 2017 but lost it in his lone defeat, a unanimous decision to four-division titleholder Mikey Garcia last March. Lipinets bounced back to outpoint Erick Bone in August.
“I’m ready for the intensity of this fight with a great (former) champion like Lamont Peterson,” Lipinets said. “I’m very humbled and honored to be in this position. I’m pushing myself to bring my A-game, because in a fight like this, there is no room for mistakes. I promise that I’m going to give a great performance and leave my fans happy.”
Hunter didn’t seem too concerned about any issues Lipinets might present.
“I think (Lipinets) is a good, durable fighter, but I don’t think he’s special,” he said. “I think that he’s a guy that does a lot of things well. And he fights in the Eastern European style, which is a style that Lamont faced a lot in the amateurs. I think he’s a good guy, but I just don’t think there’s anything special about him.”
The fight not only will be a chance for Peterson to assert himself once again in one of boxing’s deepest divisions, but it will also offer him the chance to fight in his home region for the first time since his majority decision win over Diaz in Fairfax, Virginia, in October 2015.
“It’s been a while, so it’ll be a good feeling to be fighting back at home,” he said. “For the first time ever, I’ll be fighting on a card [with my brother and nephew]. I knew this day would probably happen, but I’m happy that it’s this time around.”
Peterson’s younger brother returns from positive test
Junior welterweight Anthony Peterson (37-1, 24 KOs), 34, Lamont’s younger brother, will join him on the televised portion of the card when he takes on former junior lightweight world titleholder Argenis Mendez (25-5-1, 12 KOs), 32, of the Dominican Republic, in the 10-round co-feature.
Anthony will also be fighting for the first time in 14 months. In his last fight, which was on the undercard of his brother’s fight with Spence, he won a shutout 10-round decision over Luis Eduardo Florez, but the result was later changed to a no contest when Peterson tested positive for a banned substance.
He is trying to put that behind him and position himself for a major fight after years of chronic inactivity. He fought just once last year, didn’t fight in 2017 and boxed once in 2016.
“Argenis Mendez is a world-class fighter. I like his style and he’s a good dancing partner,” he said. “He doesn’t shy away from work. He’s not awkward. He’s going to be there. And if you look at the list, he’s fought the better caliber of fighters. He’s been on the world-class stage before, and that’s going to be good for me to knock him off. What I want to do is go in there, put on an outstanding performance and make a statement that I deserve that world championship.”
Hunter was complimentary of Mendez.
“I have a lot of love for Mendez. He’s a good man,” he said. “In fact, him and Lamont hung out together at a basketball game years ago. He’s definitely a solid fighter. He was a good amateur fighter, very skillful and a win against Mendez would put Anthony in line for a world title shot because he’s a former world champion.”
Said Mendez: “I’m excited for this challenge against Anthony Peterson so that I can prove that I am still at a world championship level. I know that he’s fighting at home, but when he’s in the ring, no one can help him. I want to show off all of the skills that have gotten me here and leave an impression on everyone watching that I’m a threat to anybody they put in there against me.”
Anthony Peterson said the layoff won’t be an issue because even though he hasn’t had many fights in recent years, he stays in the gym and stays in shape.
“I don’t have any kids. I’m not a clubber, or anything like that. If you follow me on Instagram, I’m in the gym every day, twice a day motivating people,” he said.
Both fights will go a long way to determining the boxing future of the Peterson brothers. Lamont could get in position for another shot at a title and Anthony could be on track for his first.
“(Sunday) is going to be big and it means a lot because a win for Lamont would put him right back in the thick of the running with the top of the 147-pounders,” Hunter said. “For Anthony, this is a long time coming. Myself, like so many others, thought he deserved a shot a long time ago. Nevertheless, your time is your time. So, he’s going to go out there and take care of business and that should put him in line for a world title fight.”
In the opening bout of the telecast, junior middleweight Jamontay Clark (13-1, 7 KOs), 24, of Cincinnati, will take on Vernon Brown (10-0-1, 7 KOs), 29, of Chicago, in a 10-round fight. Clark will look to rebound from his first defeat, a one-sided 10-round decision to Jeison Rosario in August. The fight will be Brown’s first scheduled for longer than six rounds.