Barry Hunter Interview: “To have gone through what they went through and still be standing, is outstanding.”
By: Matthew N. Becher
Barry Hunter is a world class trainer out of the Bald Eagle Gym in Washington D.C. He is the trainer for World Champion Lamont Peterson, among many others. Hunter is an old school coach who is emotionally invested in his pupils. He can be seen in many of his fighter’s corners giving inspirational pep talks, even going so far as smacking a fighter to “wake up” in the middle of a bout.
Photo Credit: Tom Casino/Showtime
We were lucky enough to speak with Barry about his star fighters, The Peterson Brothers, as Lamont begins a comeback in the Welterweight division and how the two linked up with their eventual Mentor and trainer.
Boxing Insider: How long have you been training Lamont Peterson?
Barry Hunter: Ever since he was 10 yrs. old. He’s 33, so that is 23 years ago.
Boxing Insider: And how did you guys hook up initially?
Barry Hunter: His brother in Law was the one that initially brought him to the gym. He is, Patrice Harris, who is actually my right hand in the corner. So Patrice was the one that brought Lamont to me.
Boxing Insider: You also train his brother, Anthony?
Barry Hunter: I went to pick Lamont up one day and he, with a few of his siblings ran downstairs with him. Anthony was the one that showed interest towards boxing, so I was the one that brought him with us to the gym.
Boxing Insider: How quickly, training a 10 year old Lamont Peterson, did it take to know that he had something special?
Barry Hunter: The first day. The first day that I trained him, I trained him extremely hard. I would show him a combination or a punch, and if he got it wrong, he would get it right on the second go. But I knew he had something different. His comprehension skills were, at that age, unusual to me.
Boxing Insider: Have you ever seen anything like that before or after, with other kids?
Barry Hunter: After, maybe once or twice. But he was the first that I’ve ever seen like that before.
Boxing Insider: When taking him up the amateur ranks, how good was he?
Barry Hunter: He was definitely a special fighter throughout the amateurs. He had a stellar amateur career. He won many national titles, he was a member of the US team. He was voted athlete of the year, throughout all the sports by the Olympic committee. He was a member of the Pan Am team. Also fought in the Olympic Trials.
Boxing Insider: The Peterson brother’s early life is pretty well documented as being a very rough one. What happened with them as kids?
Barry Hunter: That is a true story. Their mother was in a bad way, which could happen to anybody. And they found themselves homeless at one time. They literally grew up surviving in the streets. They eventually went into foster care. I actually met him, shortly after he got out of foster care.
Boxing Insider: How did boxing “save” Lamont? He could have ended up in a number of other situations.
Barry Hunter: It was a way to express himself. It was an outlet for him and his brother. They could get out whatever inner anger they had. They are special individuals. I look at them as more spiritual then anything. To have gone through what they went through and still be standing, twenty something years later to me is outstanding. The average person would have broken down a long time ago, but they found a way to thrive throughout.
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