By Chris Cella
This Saturday night live from the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, IBC Junior Welterweight World Champion Lamont Peterson (31-1-1, 16 KO) will meet challenger and hard-hitting WBC Interim Super Lightweight World Champion Lucas Matthysse (33-2, 31 KO). This fight will be fought at 141 pounds so neither champion’s titles will be at stake.
Following a near 15-month layoff since his win over Amir Khan in December of 2011 when he captured the IBF belt, Peterson returned the ring this past February and stopped Kendall Holt in eight rounds in retaining his title.
Though he got off to a slow start, he picked up his pace and found his rhythm in the mid-rounds, and then picked the former light welterweight champion apart, dropping him in the fourth and sixth round.
Peterson did a good job avoiding the heavy hands of Holt, and will look to execute the same defense Saturday night against Matthysse.
“Everyone keeps asking me about his (Matthysse) punching power,” said Peterson. “I know what I’m signed up for. I realize I’m going to get hit in the face, but I will be hitting back. I’m not worried about taking a few punches. I’m prepared to go 12 rounds. I didn’t take too much contact in the Kendall Holt fight, so I can’t wait to get out there and give a great performance.”
In the past five fights since losing a split decision to Devon Alexander in 2011, Matthysse has been one of the most dominating fighters, winning each bout decisively by way of stoppage. Of the 33 fights he has won through his career he has only gone the distance twice, the last time being 2008.
The question will he be able to get in on Peterson and cause the damage necessary to stop him. Peterson has showed a strong chin and a solid defense in avoiding the big, detrimental blows that could end a fight, but there is a world of difference in the attack of Kendall Holt and Lucas Matthysse.
Matthysse has shown he can be relentless with his punching, and undoubtedly at some point in the fight Peterson is going to find himself in a street fight. Against Holt in February he never found himself in much trouble, and it will be interesting to see if the lack of inactivity will be an issue.
“I’m not worried about Matthysse,” Peterson continued. “I’ve known him for a while. He’s a strong guy. He’s going to bring it all night. Pretty much the way I like it to be and it’s going to be a great fight. “I’ll feel my way through the fight in the first few rounds. We have game plans and will work through all of them, pick the best one and go from there. At the end of the day, I’m preparing for a hard fought 12 round fight. I’ll be there every step of the way. May the best man win, but I have more to my game and more strategies to work with.”
In the co-main event of the night, Devon Alexander (24-1, 13 KO) will be putting his IBF welterweight belt on the line against UK’s challenger Lee Purdy (20-3-1, 13 KO).
This will be Alexander’s first defense since claiming the belt over Randall Bailey last October, and is riding a three-fight win streak into the ring. Purdy is making the biggest jump in competition of his career as he battles Alexander for the world championship hardware. The 25-year-old fighter has won four straight by way of knockout, will in his first fight outside of the United Kingdom will be looking to show the boxing world what he has as he plans on flying back overseas with Alexander’s belt.
The action gets underway this Saturday, May 18 at 9 p.m. on Showtime.