The Underrated Career of Lamont Peterson
By: Hans Themistode
All good things come to an end doesn’t it?
For Lamont Peterson (35-5-1, 17 KOs) that end came this past Saturday night on March 23rd, in front of his hometown fans in Maryland at the MGM National Harbor. Peterson took on rising contender Sergey Lipinets in what turned out to be the final fight of his career.
Peterson has never been in a boring fight and that rang true as both he and Lipinets put on an absolute show. The contest was nip and tuck throughout but in the end it was Lipinets who managed to score the knockout victory. Shortly after, Peterson addressed the crowd and let it be known that he was leaving the sport of boxing for good. Peterson battled with long stretches of inactivity recently in his career as he fought just once in 2017 and 2018. He didn’t step into the ring at all in 2016 as well. At age 35 the end was near for Peterson but this past Saturday night he made it official.
Peterson leaves at the age of 35 and amassed a record of 35 wins to only 5 defeats and 1 draw.
Floyd Mayweather, Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Sugar Ray Leonard and countless others have all succumbed to Father Time. Bernard Hopkins may have fought that battle to a draw with how long he managed to fight at a high level. The point of the matter is that every boxer no matter how great they are faces a time when they must hang the gloves up for good.
Let’s be clear. In no way shape or form am I placing Peterson on the same pedestal as the fighters that were just rattled off. Peterson’s credentials fall short of getting him into the hall of fame. He admitted just as much in an interview just before his match up with Lipinets.
“No,” said Peterson when asked if he is a hall of famer. “I think the victory over Errol Spence would’ve put me there. So I think I’m right there but not quite in.”
The honesty from Peterson was refreshing. It was also the truth. He falls just short of getting into those infamous halls. With that being said however, he has carved out a legacy that will make sure he will never be forgotten.
Cast aside what he has accomplished inside of the ring for one minute and focus on what he had gone through outside of it.
At a very early age both Lamont and his younger brother Anthony were homeless. Their father was in prison while their mother dealt with her own personal demons. At the age of 10 boxing trainer Barry Hunter noticed them and became a father figure to them, especially to Lamont. Hunter has been on the record many times stating that Lamont isn’t just his boxer but he is like his son. The road Lamont took to not only become an outstanding fighter but a champion showed his true determination.
Petersons battles inside of the ring were those of legends. He consistently fought the best competition possible. In 2009 he won the Interim WBO Super Lightweight title against Willy Blain. He then immediately took on the number one fighter in the weight class at that time in Timothy Bradley Jr. Peterson came up short in that contest but would only come back even stronger.
That notion rang true when in 2011 he defeated WBA and IBF Super Lightweight champion Amir Khan. Controversy followed that win as Peterson was suspended and striped of the WBA title after testing positive for a banned substance. It was another set back for Peterson but as always he bounced back.
Once he returned from his suspension he would defeat Kendall Holt, lose to top contender Lucas Mattthysse but once again bounce back with dominant wins over then undefeated Dierry Jean and Edgar Santana.
Those wins helped to set up a match with Super Lightweight king Danny Garcia. The contest became an instant classic. Peterson seemed to be outboxing Garcia in the first half of the fight. During the second half Peterson dominated as he pressured Garcia and landed huge shots. In the end Peterson came up just short losing a majority decision.
If you thought that defeat would mark the end for Peterson then you haven’t been paying attention to who he is. In 2017 he moved up to Welterweight where he would defeat WBA Regular champion David Avanesyan and become a two weight world champion.
Sure he would go on to lose to Errol Spence Jr and most recently Sergey Lipinets but not without a fight. Peterson gave it everything he had once he stepped inside of that ring and his opponents always had a hard time dealing with his versatile skill set.
It wasn’t just the excellence that he displayed come fight night but it was also his work ethic that garnered respect from his piers.
“I haven’t seen anybody work as hard as him.” Said boxing trainer Ken Porter.
Current WBC Welterweight champion Shawn Porter shared his sentiments on the career of Peterson as well.
“He’s a throwback fighter. A guy that leaves it all in the ring. A guy that fights not only with his brain and his physical attributes but also with his heart. Lamont is all of that. At the end of the day that’s what we have to remember about Lamont Peterson. He was a warrior in the ring.”
Ask anyone in the boxing community and you will hear many of those same praises being said about Peterson. He has lost some big fights in his career but he has also won plenty of them as well. He now exits the sport as a two weight world champion and one helluva fighter.
He may not get inducted into the boxing hall of fame one day but he will always be remembered. He wasn’t just a champion in the ring but outside of it as well.
Lamont Peterson has forever left his mark in the sport of boxing.