Peterson has something to prove against Diaz
The trajectory of Lamont Peterson’s boxing career could be different if the boxing Gods had felt differently on the day he fought Danny Garcia.
The 31-year-old veteran from Washington D.C. put together an exceptional outing against the undefeated Garcia that many thought earned him the decision. However, he lost a narrow majority decision and finds himself once again jockeying for relevancy amongst a crowded 140-pound weight class. Tonight, Peterson will face unbeaten Cuban Olympic champ Felix Diaz Jr. as he looks to get his career back on track.
But, surely, one would think that he’s still upset over how the Garcia fight played out.
“I don’t think about it really,” Peterson (33-3-1, 17 knockouts) told RingTV.com. “It’s in the past. Just like boxers have bad nights, maybe judges and referees have bad nights as well. I have over 200 fights including the amateurs and I’m pretty sure I have a few amateur fights where I didn’t win. I’m not worried about it.”
If it weren’t for Peterson’s ability to shrug off controversy, he’d probably be going mad heading into his fight with Diaz. Instead, he says that he’s aware of what’s at stake and for him, as long as there’s something to prove, there’s something to fight for.
For example, if you look at the failed drug test after beating Amir Khan in 2011 that left him inactive for a year, you’d think that Peterson maintains a certain level of disgruntlement towards the sport and how things shook out. He still maintains his innocence but refuses to dive to deep into the topic because it doesn’t matter and the past is simply that.
“I’ve been champion but a lot of people said I didn’t deserved to be the champion, I’m a cheater and this and that,” Peterson said. “I’ve passed all the steroid tests even though I so-called failed one. Normally when someone is really cheating and they get caught their fight game declines and they aren’t as good anymore because they can’t cheat like they used to. But I think in my case it clearly shows that whether you believe I cheated or not, which I know I didn’t, you have to admit that I haven’t declined at all.”
Despite being 2-2 in his last four fights, Peterson doesn’t allow his record to define him. It also won’t make him force the issue when he faces Diaz near his backyard in Virginia. Sometimes, fighters come out swinging as a way to put a loss behind them, but Peterson refuses to conform to that. Instead, he’ll perform like he normally does and look to come away with the victory.
“Guys like me always have something to prove,” Peterson said. “I lost my last fight regardless of what anybody thinks or what I think. I lost and they will treat it that way and that’s how it is. Losing two fights in a row in this sport can hurt you so it’s win first and look good second. But I just think the way the styles match up it will be an exciting fight.”
Peterson says that Diaz (17-0, 8 knockouts) was never really on his radar even though he saw him a lot during his amateur days. And even though the two are the same age, Peterson says that professional experience will be the difference.
“When you first fight on the big stage it’s a big deal and your mind is all over the place with what’s to come,” Peterson said. “With me, I know what’s to come. I’ll have small advantages like that that ends up being a big advantage. It’s going to be tough for him.”
The landscape of the 140-pound division is shifting and Peterson wants to be in the mix. A victory over Diaz will hopefully put him in the conversation to face the division’s best. Winning is all that matters but the one thing that doesn’t is being a superstar.
“I’m always looking for the best but I don’t feel like I have anything to prove as far as being the next big superstar in the sport,” Peterson said. “This is a business and winning or losing a fight doesn’t make a big difference in who’s going to be next it has to do with a lot of things that I can’t control. So I’ll just enjoy boxing and let the crumbs fall where they may.”