By Sean Crose
“Training’s going excellent,” Lamont Peterson tells Boxing Insider. “I’m in excellent shape. I’m just kind of really focusing on the game plan.”
For a man who’s about to step into the spotlight in a big way, the 30-2-1 junior welterweight appears remarkably calm. For the Washington DC native is about to star in the second primetime showing of Premiere Boxing Champions on NBC’s flagship channel.
Needless to say, it’s been three decades – three decades! – since NBC last aired prime time boxing. And now it will be featuring a bout between Peterson and fellow junior welterweight star Danny Garcia. Heady stuff.
Peterson, though, isn’t going to let the stress get to him.
“No added pressure,” he says, “I’m just happy to be part of it.”
No doubt the man will be even happier if he defeats his 29-0 opponent: Garcia has been in Peterson’s sights for awhile now.
“I was thinking it (the fight) was a good possibility,” Peterson points out, “but I know it’s boxing and boxing is a business.” True words indeed. If there’s one thing modern fight fans know it’s that the “big fights” can be hard to come by these days.
And Peterson-Garcia is a big fight. A very big fight. Peterson isn’t altering his training regimen much, though.
“Same gym, same routine,” he tells me. “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”
Looks like jaunts off to Big Bear aren’t needed in this particular case. Peterson clearly feels at home with trainer Barry Hunter in DC.
“No distractions,” Peterson continues. “No need to hide away from anybody.”
So, how does the fighter called “Havoc” plan on beating the popular Philly slugger, Garcia? Truth be told, he isn’t inclined to say much about it, lest he give too much away.
“We do have a game plan, of course,” Peterson concedes. Still, he’s quick to add that “a lot of it’s about adjustments.”
Boxing, after all, is as much a thinking sport as it is a physical one. “You never know how he’s going to approach the fight,” Peterson says of Garcia.
Yet the taciturn Peterson isn’t lacking in the confidence department. Not by a long shot. “I know I have faster hands and I’m ready for him,” Peterson claims.
Truth be told, the guy is an unassuming individual if ever there was one. What’s more, Peterson seems as happy for fight fans as he is for himself. Seriously.
“The fans have wanted to see that fight for a while,” he says of the upcoming Garcia bout. “I’m hoping that all the fans are happy with the fight.”
Boxing’s move back to primetime on network television is a big deal, and Peterson is well aware of that fact.
“I’m excited right now,” he admits. “I think it’s going to be excellent for boxing.”
It can also be excellent for Peterson himself. A victory over the popular and highly regarded Garcia would absolutely catapult the man into the upper echelon of boxing’s most prestigious realm – that of the junior welterweight and welterweight divisions.
Don’t be surprised if you start hearing Peterson’s name alongside those of Mayweather, Pacquiao and Khan. . . provided, of course, that he gets past Garcia on April 11th at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center – no easy task.
“I just want to fight the top guys,” he tells me, before adding that he’s “looking to move up in weight class,” as well.
That means Peterson will be fighting at welterweight, boxing’s premiere division, soon enough. That can be a dangerous place indeed. Not that Peterson’s afraid.
“Just tell me the location, who it is, and I’ll be ready for it,” the fighter proclaims.
The opposition may want to take Peterson at his word.