Head to head: Bradley-Peterson:
TIMOTHY BRADLEY vs. LAMONT PETERSON
When: Saturday, Dec. 12
Where: Rancho Mirage, Calif.
TV: Showtime, 9 p.m. ET/ PT
Weight: Junior welterweight (140 pounds)
Title(s) at stake: Bradley’s 140-pound title (second defense)
Also on the card: Vic Darchinyan vs. Tomas Rojas, 12 rounds, for Darchinyan's junior bantamweight titles
Height / Reach: 5-6 (168cm) / 69 (175cm)
Hometown: Palm Springs, Calif.
Nickname: Desert Storm
Turned pro: 2004
Record: 24-0 (11 knockouts)
Trainer: Joel Diaz
The Ring rating: No. 1 junior welterweight
Titles: Junior welterweight (2008-09; stripped); junior welterweight (2009-present)
Biggest victories: Junior Witter, May 10, 2008, SD 12 (wins first title); Kendall Holt, April 4, 2009, UD 12 (wins second title); Nate Campbell, Aug. 1, 2009, NC 3 (Campbell cut).
Height / reach: 5-9 (175cm) / 74 (188cm)
Hometown: Memphis, Tenn. (born in Washington, D.C.)
Turned pro: 2004
Record: 27-0 (13 knockouts)
Trainer: Barry Hunter
The Ring rating: None
Biggest victories: Lanardo Tyner, Nov. 1, 2008, UD 10; Willy Blain, April 25, 2009, TKO 7 (for interim title; Blain injured hand).
Skills: Both Bradley and Peterson had extensive and decorated amateur careers, just missing spots on the 2004 U.S. Olympic team, and are boxers by nature. Bradley is more aggressive, but aside from an occasional sneaky lead counter right, all of his offense comes off a snappy jab. Peterson has better balance and is the superior technician. He delivers all of his punches with textbook form. Both fighters are versatile boxers (they can stalk or stick-and move) and both punch well to the body and in combination.
Power: Neither fighter is known for his power or has a very impressive KO ratio, but Bradley is naturally heavier despite his short stature. The Palm Springs native, who was an amateur standout in the 152-pound division and turned pro as a small welterweight, has retained the physical strength of a junior middleweight and thus has very heavy hands at 140 pounds. Bradley would probably have more knockouts if he faced lesser caliber opponents. Peterson’s accuracy adds to the effect of his punches, which are damaging, but he generally doesn’t move opponents the way Bradley is able to.
Speed and athletic ability: Both fighters are well-conditioned athletes with fast hands and excellent hand-eye coordination but Bradley is the more dynamic of the two. He’s stronger, quicker, and possesses the better reflexes.
Defense: Peterson’s tighter technique gives him a better defense than Bradley, who has a tendency to square up in front of his opponents and sometimes throws himself off-balance when he attacks. Peterson’s feet are always under him and his hands are always in position to block incoming punches, which is one of the reasons he’s never been down.
Experience: Although Bradley has three fewer fights than Peterson, his pro experience is superior because of the better-quality opponents he’s faced recently. Bradley has fought four RING-rated contenders (Witter, Holt, Campbell and Miguel Vazquez). Peterson has yet to fight a RING-rated fighter and has only fought one fighter who could be considered truly world class, former amateur star Willy Blain.
Chin: Although Bradley was down twice (hard in the first round and technically in the 12th) during his 12-round decision victory over Holt, he’s always shown a strong beard against solid-punching opponents. Holt is a fast and hard-hitting counter puncher who caught Bradley coming in. However, Bradley handled the knockdowns well. Peterson has never been hurt or wobbled in his 27 pro bouts.
Conditioning: Both fighters are obviously well-conditioned distance fighters. Peterson is a non-stop volume puncher. Bradley is fanatical about his conditioning which accounts for the impressive stamina he has shown in his tough 12-round bouts with Witter and Holt — fights that he won by rallying in the late rounds. Bradley’s conditioning is more proven over the championship distance.
Wear and tear: Both fighters are young (Bradley is 26, Peterson is 25), clean-living athletes who have never taken a beating in the ring.
Corner: Barry Hunter has been with Peterson his entire amateur and pro careers. Joel Diaz has guided Bradley throughout his pro career. Both trainers have done excellent jobs developing the young pros into world-class fighters with complete skill sets. Hunter also trains Peterson’s brother Anthony, a lightweight contender, and junior welterweight prospect Ty Barnett. Diaz, a former lightweight title challenger, also trains his brothers Antonio and Julio, a former lightweight titleholder, and has recently added bantamweight contender Abner Mares to his stable of fighters.
Outcome: Bradley will try to set a fast pace against Peterson but will quickly learn that the technician is also a volume puncher who can match the titleholder’s busy tempo. Bradley will try to slip Peterson’s longer jab and land counter right hands from mid-range that set up body shots in close. Peterson will block most, but not all of Bradley’s shots, and look to counter the aggressive boxer with right crosses and uppercuts. The two will engage in even exchanges when they stand their ground in the middle rounds, but going into the late rounds Bradley will realize that an in-and-out attack is more effective against Peterson than constant pressure. Bradley will get on his toes and force Peterson to lead, and make the rangy fighter miss while on his bicycle. Bradley will be able to counter punch Peterson with single power shots as the taller, rangy fighter reaches for him. Bradley will periodically stop and drop quick combinations in close before zipping out of range down the stretch of the fight to make sure that he doesn’t needlessly drop any late rounds and to appease his hometown fans.
Prediction: Bradley wins a close, competitive but unanimous decision.