Lamont Peterson: Mr. Nice Guy
The guy has always been in good fights; he’s just a consummate pro, doesn’t have a rep for over-asking for money…Why the heck, we wonder, don’t we see Lamont Peterson in the ring more?
I asked the D.C. native boxer with a 34-3-1 (with 17 knockouts) mark just that.
Is it because he’s too nice of a guy, that some of the squeakier wheels get the grease and, thus, he is the well-behaved sort who gets passed over?
Nah, it’s not like that, Peterson told me. It is what it is, he explains, but, of course, in tranquil and respectful – i.e. “nice guy” – fashion.
“I didn’t fight in 2016. I was in the gym, waiting on calls, on dates,” the 33-year-old said. “There was talk of a Miguel Cotto fight and then, earlier, an Andre Berto fight. But fights falling through, the waiting game, is a part of boxing. It’s no big deal.”
Peterson is indeed a nice guy. A role model, someone to look up to if you’re a kid looking for a place in society after having fallen through the cracks.
The nice guy gets a crack at contention on Feb. 18; we’re happy to report. Lamont Peterson will meet David Avanesyan in Cincinnati, Ohio, in support of headliner Adrien Broner. Avanesyan (22-1-1, 11 KOs), a Russian-born Armenian, currently holds an interim strap.
Peterson tells me, yeah, he’s nice; he doesn’t go in for the trash-talk stuff. He offers his take on Avanesyan, age 28, who has been well managed to get to this point. “Is he a B-plus fighter? We’re going to see February 18. This is his first (real) test. We won’t judge him till then.”
One thing I pondered as I chatted with Lamont. It’s a double-edged sword deal, guys fighting less often than they used to. On the one hand, it is harder to build a fan base and high profile if you are not fighting four times a year. Lamont hasn’t been a busy-body. He fought twice in 2013, twice in 2014, twice in 2015 and not at all in 2016. He is 3-2 in his last five, with a majority decision loss to Danny Garcia, at welterweight, before bouncing back against Felix Diaz. Both bouts were quite close.
“Fighting twice a year is good for your health. You often see old-timers who fought so often, back in the day, having health problems. Of course, if you love to fight, you want to fight every month. But this way, it extends your career,” Peterson opined.
Yep…double-edged sword. It doesn’t help in the popularity department but if you are making enough to build a nest egg fighting just twice a year, down the line, this track makes sense.
The Peterson bout will screen on Showtime, for the record.
For fans new to the sport, Peterson is a smart boxer. He is relaxed in there, is active with the jab, uses his feet as much as his hands, has decent power, which is more likely to dent sub-A-grade foes. You could argue that he could use a “mean guy” mentality now and again, not be so patient and get nastier. If he was that way with Garcia earlier in their bout…
He can lead or counter, fight off the back foot or stalk and could possibly be a guy who gets more fan-friendly, as he ages, because his mobility dips and, thus, you might see him stand and fire power shots more often. Avanesyan will taste and not care for Peterson’s left hooks to the body. And he will need to track a sneaky quick overhand right, as well. As for Avanesyan, his best win is over Shane Mosley, a unanimous decision, last May. Avanesyan isn’t overly busy, so we will see who decides to be the volume guy here…He holds a high guard, which will have Peterson snaking hooks around. He owns some defense; you see him slipping and using his feet to avoid contact. He’s pretty well-schooled, keeps his punches tight, has decent hand speed. Mosley had him backing up, so expect Peterson to do the same. Avanesyan didn’t pull away from the 45-year-old Mosley, so it’s hard to see how exactly he does against the fresher Peterson.
I finished up by asking Lamont for a prediction.
“I haven’t had too much time to game-plan but, I’m going to say, an entertaining fight and me winning, likely late stoppage.”
I thanked him for his time and he graciously did the same, in, of course, nice guy fashion.
Amid a sea of hard-boiled, grumpy guys, Michael Woods covers boxing in a nice guy fashion too…until it’s time to not be nice. He also told me to not tell you he stole that line from “Roadhouse”…oops.
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