Barry Hunter on Lamont Peterson

By Robert Ecksel on December 8, 2011
Barry Hunter on Lamont Peterson
“The strongest tool that you have is your brain and your ability to think and comprehend."

“You got a lot of people that watch boxing, speak about boxing, but don’t understand boxing or the business behind boxing…”

“I never considered myself a trainer. I considered myself a teacher.”—Ray Arcel

Barry Hunter, Peterson’s trainer/manager, rescued Lamont and his brother Anthony from the crack-infested streets of Washington, DC when they were little boys. Hunter knew all about the redemptive possibilities of boxing, having seen it time and again with his own two eyes, and applied that knowledge to the indigent Petersons. He molded them into boxers, then into amateur stars, and finally into men of accomplishment. Yet as good a trainer as he is, he’s no Freddie Roach, Amir Khan’s trainer, who has been lionized for the work he has done at the Wild Card.

“As far as Freddie is concerned,” said Hunter on a recent teleconference call, “and any other trainer that’s being a superstar trainer or what have you, I never tend to look at people, or shall I say their status as far as being a star, because first of all, you can never be bigger than the sport. The sport is always greater than you, number one. Number two, I never see superstars. I see people.

“Out of the 32 years that I’ve been training fighters, I never had a fighter that was pretty much already made. For the most part, this is not a knock on Freddie, but for the most part every fighter that I’ve ever had that had gotten into be it the Nationals or Olympic trials or world title fights, and there have been many, came from the ground up for the most part.”

That sounds like the route Lamont Peterson took. No silver spoon, no signing bonus, no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, just discipline and hard work, followed by more discipline and hard work, the very qualities that have gotten him where he is today.

“So I’m very, very comfortable going into a fight,” Hunter continued, “not just against Freddie, with whomever. I’ve been in there against Emanuel Steward. I’ve been in there against the Mayweathers. And there’s Buddy, Buddy McGirt. So I’m very, very comfortable with what it is that we do because I know the preparation that we have to do heading towards a fight.”

Lamont Peterson continues to mature as a fighter. He bounced back after the loss to Timothy Bradley, which spoiled his unbeaten record, which is something that not every fighter does. It shows the strength and strength of character Peterson possesses.

“As far as Lamont’s progression is concerned, in the Bradley fight, definitely I’ve seen a lot of growth since that fight. A lot of times, you go out there and you think you’re ready, but in essence you’re not. Skill-wise, I’d put Lamont up against any fighter on the planet and be comfortable with it. But it’s not the skills that actually get you to these fights. For the most part, the strongest tool that you have in the fight is your brain and your ability to think and comprehend.

“In that fight [against Bradley], going into that fight through the amateurs, Lamont has always been a champ. Going into that fight, and some of you all have actually said it, he was very, very nervous. He never felt that way before because they know the history behind Lamont in amateurs. Going into the fight we underestimated—and I say ‘we’ because I’m responsible for the things in and outside the ring as far as my training is concerned—the fight with Bradley as far as his abilities were concerned. We knew that we could match his strength. We knew that we could match his skills. But what we failed to realize and what I always try to tell to Lamont and the rest of the guys is that Timmy had another name alongside Bradley—and that’s champion. So he knows what it’s like to fight on those big stages. He knows what it’s like to fight in front of millions of people worldwide on that stage. And we were just getting there and I’d say we got there too fast.”

There’s something so wise and intelligent about Hunter. It’s not just that he’s thoughtful and well-spoken. Others are thoughtful and well-spoken and use those resources to say nothing at all or obfuscate. But Hunter can articulate the nuances of the trainer’s art, while shining a light on the complex, multifaceted relationship between teacher and student.

“Well,” said Hunter, “you got a lot of people that watch boxing, speak about boxing, but don’t understand boxing or the business behind boxing. At the end of the day, it is just that—a business. Lamont has always been raised along with the rest of the fighters in the gym to never ever prostitute yourself out for a dollar bill. I’ve been an entrepreneur for years and I’ve taught them to be the same way. Everything that I ever had from the ground up I had to work for. So they grew up with the same mentality. So you don’t turn around and compromise yourself for just a dollar bill.”

Asked to compare Khan’s gifts to Peterson’s, Hunter was unstinting in his praise of both fighters.

“I think this fight could very well be a candidate for Fight of the Year because in Amir’s case, you’ve got Amir. As far as Khan is concerned, I got nothing but respect for Amir. I think he’s a very, very good young man. He is a courageous guy. He throws a lot of punches. He doesn’t mind mixing it up a little bit. On the flipside, you have Lamont. Oh, man. We talk about being the underdog or what have you. I watched this young man beat the odds his whole life, not just his boxing career, his whole life. Lamont is very tactical and is very technical. Both of these guys have big, big hearts. So they don’t mind laying it on the line. Going into this fight, I think it’ll be one of tactics early, but down the stretch I think you’ll see a war and I think it’ll be a great fight not only for TV, but for the fans that’ll be there December 10th alike.”

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Boxing: Barry Hunter Talks Lamont Peterson, Amir Khan, Juan Manuel Marquez, Not Watching Boxing

Ringside: Lamont Peterson Training For Khan

Barry Hunter (Lamont Peterson's Trainer) Interview for iFILM LONDON / KHAN v PETERSON

Timothy Bradley vs Lamont Peterson - 1/4

Timothy Bradley vs Lamont Peterson - 2/4

Timothy Bradley vs Lamont Peterson - 3/4

Timothy Bradley vs Lamont Peterson - 4/4

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  1. the thresher 07:36pm, 12/08/2011

    BigMikeTampa, how’s it going buddy?

  2. Robert Ecksel 05:37pm, 12/08/2011

    BigMikeTampa—Peterson doesn’t own stock in the site, but that’s something to keep in mind when we float our IPO. In lieu of giving the underdog, who’s got a great back-story, a fair shake, we can push this fight as a public execution. Would that be better?

  3. BigMikeTampa 05:01pm, 12/08/2011

    Does Peterson own stock in this site?! He’s really not that exciting but seems to be dominating the pages here…WTF?

  4. Robert Ecksel 04:40pm, 12/08/2011

    Thanks David. The words Jimmy Cannon once used to praise Joe Louis—“Louis is a credit to his race—the human race”—apply equally to Barry Hunter.

  5. David Matthew 03:54pm, 12/08/2011

    well said thresh…great stuff here Robert.  Barry Hunter is an asset to the sport.

  6. the thresher 10:36am, 12/08/2011

    Barry Hunter is a guy I call a hero and I call very few people heroes. He is someone who has made a difference and the world is better off because of him.

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