By Sean Crose
It may sound harsh, but life basically consists of those who overcome and those who crumble. We all meet challenges – there is no exception to the rule. How we react to those challenges, however, makes us who we are. A journalists’ job is to be unbiased, of course, and the good ones try their best to be at all times. The story of Lamont Peterson, however, is difficult not to be taken back by.
Photo: Delane Rouse – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
Let’s just say Charles Dickens would have loved the guy. A product of Washington’s mean streets (he and his brother Anthony were literally homeless), Lamont fell under the care and protection of fight trainer Barry Hunter at a young age.
“I didn’t like too many adults at the time, outside of my mother,” Peterson says. “ A part of it came from being ten and thinking I was an adult. I pretty much took care of myself and I wanted people to respect me as a man even though I was a boy.”
”Yet there was something about Hunter, the colorful fight pro, that seemed different. “With Barry,” he says, “it was weird. He didn’t treat me as a man, but he respected me as a person.”
“It was a God thing with us,” Hunter says frankly, making it clear he believes he wasn’t alone in aiding the Peterson boys. “Once I found out what was happening to them, I realized they really needed my help.”
“It was the first time someone reached out to help me and my brother,” Peterson recalls. “He (Barry) sacrificed a lot, and, of course, I’m going to sacrifice for him. It’s a true bond and I don’t think it will ever die.”
For the record, there certainly seems to be no reason why the relationship should perish.. The past few years haven’t been the easiest for Peterson and company, yet they’ve weathered the storms and are now back in boxing’s spotlight after Peterson’s impressive schooling of up-and-comer Dierry Jean on January 25th.
Things weren’t always this bright. After accusations of PED use that almost cost him his junior welterweight title were followed by a smashing third round loss at the hands of Lucas Matthysse, Peterson seemed like a relic, a promising fighter from a era which had subsequently passed. Yet Peterson didn’t let situations or impressions get to him.
In fact, numerous outlets commented after the Jean bout that the Matthysse loss didn’t seem to have effected Peterson at all. “I just think it’s something about me,” Peterson explains. “ When things like that (the Matthysse loss) happen, a lot of times we let it get the best of us. With me, I don’t let those things bother me. I know everything’s going to be okay.”
Hunter concurs. Peterson, he claims, “has the inner strength in him. When he faces adversity like that, he’s able to overcome.” And the boxing world is once again taking notice. Peterson’s name is now being mentioned alongside that of another junior welterweight champion, a very popular one out of Philadelphia.
So, how does Peterson feel about the possibility clashing with rising star Danny Garcia? “That’s the fight that I want,” he says. It’s a fight that Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer apparently wants, as well. It’s also a fight fans would undoubtedly love to see.
A bout with Garcia would surely attract a lot of attention, after all. For the winner would be able to raise his arm and stare out at a entire horizon of golden opportunities. This is something Peterson is clearly aware of. Yet if the man is nervous, he certainly isn’t showing it.
“As far as nerves are concerned,” says Hunter, “I’ve never, ever seen them effect Lamont.”
Coming up in Part Two: Having Emerged From The Past, Peterson and Hunter Focus On The Future.