Weekend Review: Matthysse wows the boxing world
Lucas Matthysse: The Argentine had waited a long time for this, the moment everyone who follows boxing became certain that he is one of the best fighters in the world. Matthysse had looked good in disputed losses to Devon Alexander and Zab Judah. He looked scary against lesser opponents, who were helpless in the face of his daunting power. He looked like a veritable star against Lamont Peterson on Saturday in Atlantic City, N.J., knocking the former 140-pound titleholder down three times and taking him out in the third round. The result was stunning in that no one had done anything like that to Peterson, who had at least held his down against a gauntlet of elite opponents over the past three-plus years and looked particularly good in a knockout victory over Kendall Holt in his previous fight. Matthysse (34-2, 32 knockouts) is a cool, calculating hit man with the ability and exciting style to become a big money-maker. And now, after a breathtaking signature victory on national TV, he is more marketable than ever. Al Haymon, who handles both Matthysse and RING champion Danny Garcia, reportedly said before Saturday that a showdown between his fighters is a possibility. We wonder whether the events of Saturday night gave Haymon pause.
Lamont Peterson: Peterson (31-2-1, 16 KOs) is known to have overcome adversity in life and in the ring. That includes a positive drug test in 2011 that kept him out of boxing for more than a year, after which he made a successful comeback by stopping capable veteran Kendall Holt in eight rounds. The Washingtonian will need to tap into his resilience again. He had lost a one-sided decision to Timothy Bradley in 2009 and drew with Victor Ortiz the following year. However, he had never taken a beating like he did on Saturday. Three left hooks – which resulted in one knockdown in Round 2 and two more in Round 3 – put an emphatic halt to any momentum he had established. There is no shame in that. We now realize beyond reasonable doubt that Matthysse is special, which should put all 140- and 147-pounders on notice. At the same time, after getting blown out, Peterson will have to prove all over again that he belongs with the best in his division. He has the ability to do that. We’ll see what he has left in that resilience department.
Tough but crude Lee Purdy wasn’t a significant threat to IBF welterweight titleholder Devon Alexander on the Matthysse-Peterson card. Still, Alexander (25-1, 14 KOs) deserves some credit for following through on a promise to make himself more fan-friendly by fighting more aggressively, which resulted in a seventh-round technical knockout when Purdy’s corner stopped the fight to end the slaughter. The victory doesn’t prove much, though. We’ll see whether Alexander remains a busy fighter when he faces an elite opponent. Purdy (20-4-1, 13 KOs) replaced the injured Kell Brook as Alexander’s opponent. ÔÇª If we didn’t know who 41-year-old Shane Mosley was, we would probably say the man who narrowly outpointed Pablo Cesar Cano on Saturday in Mexico was a pretty good fighter. We know who Mosley is, though. He beat a solid opponent, which will assure him another significant fight, but it’s still difficult to watch a once-great fighter hang on well past his prime. ÔÇª
Another 41-year-old, Guillermo Jones, served up a surprise in a thrilling fight on the Alexander Povetkin–Andrzej Wawrzyk card Saturday in Russia. The Panamanian survived a slow start with admirable determination and an incredible chin to bloody and stop respected Denis Lebedev and reclaim sole possession of the WBA 200-pound title. Jones had been declared “champion in recess” (read: non-champion) because of his inactivity, which allowed Lebedev to claim the title last year. ÔÇª. Povetkin (26-0, 18 KOs) had no trouble with Wawrzyk (27-1, 13 KOs), stopping the Pole in three rounds. The Russian might not have such an easy time in his next fight: He faces Wladimir Klitschko on Oct. 5 in Moscow. ÔÇª Mexican veteran Edgar Sosa (49-7, 29 KOs) proved he remains near the top of his game by outlasting Giovani Segura (29-3-1, 25 KOs) in a flyweight fight Saturday in Mexico. Sosa has beaten two former titleholders – Ulises Solis and Segura – in succession.