By: William Holmes
Brooklyn, New York has recently emerged as a desired destination for big time fights, but Atlantic City is still a hot spot for world championship boxing.
Golden Boy Promotions returns to Atlantic City for card that is stacked from top to bottom. Undefeated prospects Shawn Porter and Phil Lo Greco will meet in a welterweight bout that will help determine who’s a legitimate contender and who’s a pretender. Olympians Anthony Ogogo, Rau’shee Warren, and Jemel Herring will be fighting to prove that they can transition from a successful amateur career to a successful professional career. Young promising contenders Anthony Peterson, Thomas Williams, and the undefeated prospect Robert Easter Jr. will also be competing on the undercard.
But, it’s the main event of the night that has many boxing fans salivating. IBF Junior Welterweight World Champion Lamont Peterson will be facing the hard hitting WBC Interim Super Lightweight World Champion Lucas Matthysse. The IBF Welterweight World Champion Devon Alexander was originally slated to face the undefeated Kell Brook, but an injury has sidelined Brook and instead will face the late replacement Lee Purdy.
The following is a preview of the televised bouts on Showtime.
Devon Alexander (24-1) vs. Lee Purdy (20-3-1); IBF Welterweight World Championship
Devon Alexander was a rumored opponent for Floyd Mayweather Jr. in May, but Mayweather instead elected to face Robert Guerrero.
Alexander was then slated to face off against the undefeated Kell Brook in what would have been an excellent match up, but an injury to Brook postponed that fight again. Golden Boy Promotions tried to match up Brook with the undefeated Kevin Bizier, but his handlers turned down that fight because they felt Bizier did not have adequate time to train.
Finally, Lee Purdy was chosen as an opponent. Alexander went from possibly facing one of the world’s best to facing a marginal contender that has little to no chance of defeating him.
For Devon Alexander, this is a tune up fight. For Lee Purdy, this is the biggest opportunity of his career.
Alexander is not known for his punching power. He’s only stopped thirteen of his opponents and he hasn’t had a stoppage victory in his last five fights. He’ll be the slightly bigger man and he has a big edge in experience.
He’s defeated Randall Bailey, Marcos Maidana, Lucas Matthysse (debatable), and Junior Witter. His only loss came against Timothy Bradley in 2011 in an unforgettable and dull bout. He has a deep amateur background and made it to the final round of the 2004 Olympic trials.
Lee Purdy had no amateur experience before turning pro and the competition he has faced so far pales in comparison to Devon Alexander.
He has decent power, thirteen of his victories have come by way of KO or TKO, but they were against inferior competition. He’s currently riding a four fight win streak and all of them have come by way of TKO. His losses were to a nine loss Colin Lynes, an undefeated Denton Vassell, and a thirteen loss Peter McDonagh.
This will be Purdy’s first fight outside of the United States and he is in way over his head. The only way Alexander loses is if Purdy lands a miracle knockout punch.
Lamont Peterson (31-1) vs. Lucas Matthysse (33-2); Junior Welterweights
This is one of the most anticipated and most competitive bouts of the spring.
Lucas Matthysse is a hard hitting Argentinean who’s two losses that could have easily went his way. Even though he lost to Devon Alexander and Zab Judah, he cleanly knocked both of them down once.
He’ll be giving up three inches in height and reach to Peterson, but on paper he appears to be the stronger puncher. Only two his victories have gone the distance and his last ten victories were stoppage victories.
Matthysse has faced Breidis Prescott and Marcos Maidana as amateur . However, he does not have the amateur championship hardware that most professional champions possess.
Matthysse spent most of his career fighting in South American prior to 2010. He has defeated the likes of DeMarcus Corley, Vivian Harris, Humberto Soto, Mike Dallas Jr., and Ajose Olusegun. He’s in the middle of his athletic prime and he’s a fighter that most of the top fighters seem to want to avoid.
With the exception of Lamont Peterson.
Peterson has a rags to riches story that is prevalent in the sport of boxing. Lamont and his brother Anthony were homeless at the age of ten and developed their boxing skills under the tutelage of Barry Hunter. Lamont was the 2001 National Golden Gloves Lightweight Champion and defeated Rock Allen, Mike Alvarado, and Andre Dirrell as an amateur.
Many believe that Matthysse has the edge in power, but four of Peterson’s last five victories were stoppages. Sixteen of his victories came by way of KO or TKO and Peterson has shown visible improvement in every fight.
He has defeated the likes of Kendall Holt, Amir Khan, Victor Cayo, Willy Blain, and Lanardo Tyner. He lost to Timothy Bradley in 2009 but he has greatly improved since then. He suffered two knockdowns to Victor Ortiz in 2010 but was able to fight his way back into a majority draw.
Peterson has shown that he can take a punch and rise back from the canvas and fight his way back. He’s a terrific body puncher and has shown in recent fights the type of aggression that can easily make him a fan favorite.
This fight has the makings of a potential fight of the year and will most likely be a barnburner.
It’s a tough fight to predict, but too many experts are over looking Peterson’s steady improvement and his ruggedness. Both fighters are peaking but only one will come out of Saturday’s fight with bigger opportunities on the horizon, and this writer thinks Peterson will emerge the victor from a likely war.