Photo by Trey Pollard for StiffJab.com
by Gautham Nagesh
Washington, D.C. junior welterweight contender Lamont Peterson didn’t have much reason to smile for most of 2012, but it looks like his luck could be changing in the new year.
Golden Boy Promotions held a press conference this week in Southeast D.C. to announce their signing of Peterson, who will return to the ring for the first time in 14 months to fight the dangerous Kendall Holt on February 22nd. The 12-round fight will be televised by ESPN’s Friday Night Fights and will take place at the D.C. Armory, where Peterson’s meaningless IBF trinket will be on the line. More importantly, a win would put Peterson in line for a big money fight against any of the top three fighters at 140 lbs., who are all signed with Golden Boy.
“I am excited about signing with Golden Boy Promotions and the opportunity to work with them again,” said Peterson. “Being with Golden Boy really gives me the chance to make the best fights available in my weight class. I want to fight the best in the world at 140 [pounds] and I know it can happen as a member of the Golden Boy team. I am optimistic that this is a decision that will help further my career.”
Photo by Juan Marshall
Peterson was on top of the boxing world after upsetting Amir Khan in front of his hometown crowd in December 2011. The win catapulted Peterson to the top of the division, and put him in the enviable position of being a unified titleholder with no promotional attachments. A rematch with Khan was soon signed, only to be scrapped after the revelation that Peterson had been injected with testosterone prior to the first fight by a physician.
While some, including the IBF, have accepted Peterson’s medical explanation for the positive test, others still view his actions as cheating, most notably Khan. Regardless, the impact on Peterson’s image has been undeniably for the worse. Having spent one of the prime years of his career on the sidelines, it seems clear that Peterson is eager to take on the biggest fights available in the near future. Signing with Golden Boy should make that easier, since the company has Khan, Lucas Matthysse, and Danny Garcia all under contract.
“We are thrilled that Lamont Peterson will be joining Golden Boy Promotions’ team,” said Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya in a release. “We know firsthand what Lamont Peterson can do, as he’s been in the ring with our fighters Amir Khan and Victor Ortiz. We know that he is the kind of individual that will be an asset to our team and great competitor in the 140-pound weight class.”
Beating Holt is no given; the New Jersey native floored Tim Bradley twice and is one of the division’s hardest hitters. But Peterson is an underrated boxer and has shown the kind of fortitude that has prevented Holt from reaching the top. Should Lamont win as expected, there’s no reason he won’t have a shot and unifying the division and placing his name firmly atop the TBRB rankings as champion. If he manages to be rise above the crowd at junior welterweight, Peterson could even be inline for a huge payday against Floyd Mayweather at welterweight down the road.
Signing with Golden Boy makes that road a bit smoother, but now comes the hard part. I’ve seen Lamont in the gym for months now during my infrequent trips to Headbangers, so I know he will be prepared. Plus, someone with his Dickensian backstory is hardly a stranger to adversity. If he can avoid Holt’s biggest shots in three weeks, Peterson is in position to reclaim his title as king of the DMV boxing scene. We’ll be there, documenting every step, as he attempts to do so in the coming months.