So Lamont Peterson came back over the weekend off of a 8-9 month layoff from the Lucas Matthysse fight where he got pulverized like a bug on a windshield. To his credit, quick knockouts can happen early because a fighter is not warmed up or was just “caught.” This is what happened to Abner Mares against Jhonny Gonzalez and what happened to Jon Molina against Antonio DeMarco. Anyway, Lamont Peterson had some improvements, but also had some huge lapses.
Lamont Peterson showed some improved, quicker, and flashy footwork. He elected to move on the outside and box more. His head movement was decent and slightly improved for the most part. He flashed his jab often and showed a higher work rate than before – he used to wait and wait before letting his hands go. He showed a double jab right hand and then left hook up top combination which landed, he started throwing lead right hands, and he had a nice jab right hook to body then left hook to body (similar to the combination that Amir Khan used to drop Marcos Maidana in round 1). He was able to vary up his offense more, and to give the over matched Dierry Jean some different looks on offense. Though not improved, his punches to the body are still thudding, and so are his hooks up top too as well as his uppercuts. However, I did see him throw that sweet left uppercut to the chin and then duck away from a counter in round 3.
Confusion or Regression:
Lamont Peterson showed some confusion and regression during the fight. Any fighter to have reached a pinnacle of his career and to be TKO’ed before he was ready to quit would have doubts. This is some real “Top Gun” Maverick losing his mojo action, or Cole Trickle in “Days of Thunder” afraid of taking the outside lane – traumatized by previous mistakes and afraid to pull the trigger. This is why I feel high level athletes should hire a sports psychologist after a devastating loss – most times the damage is psychological.
Oftentimes during the fight, Peterson looked like he was confused as to what style he wanted to fight. Sometimes he would box and move, and other times he would pressure (but would be afraid to mix it up on the inside like he did in the past). Peterson is very savvy on the inside with his infighting and body punching. He looked very reluctant to stay in the pocket – in round 2 he threw a punch, and dipped to his left on the inside, and then POW! : exchanged left hooks with the decently heavy handed Jean the way he did with Matthysse. From then on during the fight, he elected to either scoot back 5 feet (wasting energy and offensive opportunities as opposed to stay in range or just out of range to continue to box, hit, or counter) or put his ear muffs on and go sit in the pocket WITHOUT THROWING PUNCHES! He did that at least a dozen times in the fight. Lucas Matthysse performed the exact same behavior after his eye closed against Danny Garcia in the mid rounds: he would move in the pocket and would cover up without letting his hands go. That does two things: it tells your opponent your hesitant, and it gives your opponent offensive opportunities knowing nothing is firing back. Sometimes the best defense is as good offense and Peterson did not use this to his advantage.
In addition, with regards to Peterson switching styles, he really was unsure of whether to stick to his game plan, go with his gut, or adjust as the fight went on. Some rounds he was brilliant and others he was flaccid and uninspired and gun shy (with fast, dancing, running feet). Other fighters to have gone through this confusion in the ring were Mike Jones (former welterweight prospect and titleholder) from Philly and Josesito Lopez of Riverside, CA. In Mike Jones’ fights against Jesus Karass Soto (twice), Sebastian Lujan, and Randall Bailey he looked like he was confused as to whether he should be a slick boxer, an intelligent brawler, or an offensive dynamo. At 6’0″ he is very tall and long as a welterweight while also having good hand speed, power, and athleticism. However, his unsureness is what lead to a few uninspired performances and then eventually getting KO’d in the 12 round of a fight he was leading against the one-handed and heavy handed Randall Bailey. The same fate happened to Josesito Lopez: he is a natural tall and lanky pressure fighter who elected to box of his back foot against Marco Maidana. Every time he fought moving forward he would almost KO Maidana, but when he elected to box off his back foot he would lay on the ropes, waste energy moving around the ring without jabbing or throwing any crosses or power punches, and would be a sitting duck on the ropes (covered up). If Peterson continues with this confusion he’ll eventually get KO’d worse than his first time.
Also, I didn’t dig how he leaned back to avoid to many punches. That’s a dangerous prospect because all he has to do is get double jabbed when he does that and a cross would land flush as he’s rendered immobilized with his weight on his back foot. Second, it shows a fear or hesitation in getting hit. Boxing moves on micro seconds, so that any hesitation at any moment could lead to getting hit with a punch flush versus avoiding it or countering it swiftly. As stated below, his counter punching was off too. In order to counter punch one has to be totally committed to timing the opponent’s punch and then moving forward with the counter attack to off set that.
Lastly, he has stopped doing the shoulder roll right hand counter (or other counters for that matter). He is usually a sharp counter puncher, and when he has adjusted in the mid rounds of his big fights he had been able to time his opponent’s right hand and come back with a shoulder roll: straight right hand, right hook to the temple or chin, right hook to the chest, or right uppercut to the body or chin. He only attempted this maneuver 2-3 times in the Dierry Jean fight, and did not land cleanly in any of those attempts.
Just some thoughts.