Fickle Relevance and Lamont Peterson

By Robert Ecksel on January 23, 2014
Fickle Relevance and Lamont Peterson
“I love boxing, and that’s why I do what I do.” (Delane Rouse/HoganPhotos/Golden Boy)

It was as if a monarch was being poked in the chest by a court jester. King Pete wasn’t amused, but kept his contempt more or less in check…

On Saturday, January 25 at the DC Armory in Washington, DC, IBF light welterweight champion Lamont Peterson (31-2-1, 16 KOs), hailing from the nation’s capital, returns to action for the first time since being stopped by Lucas Matthysse in three rounds. His opponent this weekend is Haitian-born Dierry Jean (25-0, 17 KOs), now living and fighting out of Montreal, Canada.

Fight fans are notoriously fickle. If a boxer wins, it’s Welcome to Bandwagon City, a burgeoning metropolis whose population grows like mushrooms in a cow pasture. But if a boxer loses, Bandwagon City becomes a ghost town whose few inhabitants cling to what was, what might have been, while trying to stay upbeat.

Lamont Peterson has seen and heard it all. His back-story is one of the most redemptive in boxing. He has won some and lost others, both in boxing and in life, but is one of the coolest cats you ever did see.

“Getting over the loss,” said Peterson on a recent teleconference call, “that happened in one day. Who cares about the knockout? It’s part of boxing. That’s what happens. You pick yourself up and you move on. At this point, it’s in the past. Who cares? As a fighter, you have to block that out and you keep moving. I’m a fighter. At the end of the day, I had to focus on January 25th. I train hard, give it my all and we go out there and we fight. It’s always going to be the same with me. Who cares about what happened in the last fight?”

Peterson’s rhetorical “Who cares?” reflects the life lessons he has learned, but people do care when a fighter gets knocked out. They don’t necessarily care about the fighter’s health. They care about his relevance, even though irrelevance often fills their daily lives.

Despite the loss in his last bout, Peterson has retained his IBF belt. Explaining how this works to someone not entrenched in boxing isn’t easy. It’s like explaining the Mayan Codex to a six-year-old, or the Theory of Relativity to a Maori tribesman.

“At the end of the day the belts mean nothing,” Peterson continued. “It means a lot to ya’ll, but it means nothing to me. I just love to fight. I go, I bust my ass in the gym, I go and I fight. I give it my all in the ring. Who cares about who’s number one, who’s number two, who’s pound-for-pound, who has this belt, who has that belt? I care less about that. So whether you look at me as a champion or not, it doesn’t make a difference. The only thing it was is we fought at a catchweight, and me having a belt allows me to have this opportunity to fight Dierry Jean. That’s it. That’s all that belt means.”

Defenders of belts are inadvertently defenders of sanctioning bodies. Granted, sanctioning bodies are a fact of life, but there are facts of life that are anti-life, just as there are facts of boxing that are anti-boxing. 

The first person to question Peterson was the first person to ask questions on every teleconference call. He shall remain nameless, but he has the resolve of a dog with a bone. He was, as usual, more spellbound by the sound of his own voice, more intent on being right than hearing what his subject had to say and told Lamont, “I’m sure you realize that when you lose it has a tremendous and dramatic impact on the money that you can earn. Isn’t that right? Do you ever think about that?”

Peterson tolerated the impertinence.

“Yeah, of course of know that,” he replied. “It’s not my first loss so I know that. It has happened before, but at the end of the day, as a fighter, my mentality has to be who cares? Who’s going to sit around thinking about their last fight, if it didn’t go the way they wanted it to go? The best thing to do is to pick you up, forget about it, move on. I know I can still fight. I’m still a good fighter. I have to forget about it.”

The dog wasn’t done. He didn’t cotton to Peterson’s attitude any more than we cotton to his.

“One of the things that I’ve noticed in the fights you’ve had here (in DC), I should say, you have gotten off to a little bit of a slow start against Khan, against Holt especially, how important is it for you to get off to a real fast start on the 25th?”

It was as if a monarch was being poked in the chest by a court jester. King Pete wasn’t amused, but kept his contempt more or less in check.

“Whether I start off slow or fast it doesn’t make a difference. At the end of the day, my job is to win the fight and that’s what I’m focusing on. If I want to start off slow, then let me start off slow. If I want to start off fast, then I’ll start off fast. But at the end of the day it’s all about a 12-round fight and winning that contest. So that’s what I’m focused on.”

Someone else asked Peterson if he was going to fight a little harder, train a little harder, since he was stopped by Matthysse. It was a less vicious question than those which preceded it, but no more introspective.

“I always train hard. I always give my best. How could I train harder when I give it my all every time? At this point you go back, regardless of win or lose, you go back and you work on things you feel like you need to work on. You move on. You go the next fight.”

Son of dog wasn’t going to let Peterson off the hook. Revamping his initial question to render it all but pointless, he said, “Maybe I’m not talking about the training aspect, but mentally did you know, do you know, ‘I must win this fight, because if I lose it’s an opportunity?’”

“Well,” said Peterson, growing impatient at the inanity, “before I went in there and fought Matthysse I felt that way. So I’m definitely going to feel that way now. It’s not going to be anything else. I train hard every training camp. I’m not just talking about physical training, I’m talking about mentally. I always do what I’m supposed to do, no hanging out, no family. I stick to a strict diet and a strict lifestyle, and that’s every fight.”

The conference call came to an abrupt end. If Peterson wasn’t going to go along to get along, wasn’t willing to show respect, however contrived, to those disrespecting him, no one it seemed, other than me, was interested in hearing it.

I’ve spoken with Lamont several times and always found him soulful and dignified. He doesn’t whine. He doesn’t complain. He doesn’t beat his chest like a beast in a B-movie. He wanted to talk about the fight, not about the ragging he received from my colleagues. But he has always been accommodating in the past and was no less accommodating now.

“Some of the questions were pointless I felt,” confided Peterson. “Probably every last one of them was pointless. I don’t know what they take of it. I was focused on the fight, so I try not to get too much into it. But after the fight I’ll sit back and think about where to go doing interviews with certain people and certain people I won’t do interviews with.

“You know me. I always let stuff like that pass. But sometimes enough is enough and I think it’s time to start getting the word out, to kind of expose the guys who do that so the fans and the people who read the site will have a better understanding of what’s really going on inside boxing.”

I didn’t want Lamont to bite the hand that feeds him, but when he mentioned “what’s really going on inside boxing” I couldn’t help but ask him “what’s really going on in boxing” that this sort of thing happens with regularity.

“It’s no holds barred,” he said. “It’s no rules, no regulations, no nothing. The promoters, the managers, the sanctioning bodies—anybody who wants to do something for their own purposes, to benefit their fighter or themselves, they can do it, and they can do it at will. And a lot of times those people I just mentioned feed off the ignorance of the fans and the people that watch boxing. They know that these people don’t know the inside. They just know what they see and what these guys, the commentators, everyone, feeds them.

“They can be watching a fight but if the commentators speak one way, then the average fan is going to listen to the commentator, not go off on what the naked eye sees. It goes much deeper than that, but like I said, I need to be focused on the fight and not get into deep thoughts about things like that. When I do get a chance to think about it I will and if I can make any changes in the near future, I’ll try my best to do so.”

Peterson paused.

“Whether you like me or not, you have to respect me. I don’t just fight for me. I try to look at the whole boxing game and try to change things for the better, for the better of the younger people who are going to get into the sport. I try to teach younger fighters so they don’t have to go through some of the things that me and my brother had to go through. I try to be as positive as I can, look out for as many people as I can. At the end of the day, whether you like me or not, it’s not going to stop me from being me. When I go in there and fight I always give it 100 percent. That’s not going to change. I love boxing, and that’s why I do what I do.”

Lamont Peterson vs. Dierry Jean will be broadcast live Saturday night at 9:00 PM ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast) on Showtime Championship Boxing.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Lamont Peterson Vs Lucas Matthysse 18/05/2013 Full Fight HD

Dierry Jean vs. Cleotis Pendarvis - Full Length Fight

Lamont Peterson vs. Kendall Holt

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  1. Mike Schmidt 07:13am, 01/24/2014

    A pox to your old school journalistic rules Sir Robert. A Pox!!!! What is that Prez Roosevelt line, “Rules are not necessarily sacred, principles are.” er somtin like dat. Anyways, Sneak leads us Sir Robert to the other high road of talking about the scrap and indeed he no doubt leads us correctly. Well Sneak - methinks Lamont gonna knock the man out- it may take him some time to track him and wear him down. Adios- taking Bronson the Coyote/Shepherd dog down by the river for a few hours

  2. Pete The Sneak 07:08am, 01/24/2014

    As an old South Bronx, NY kid having it pretty rough myself, I’m obviously bias towards fighters like Lamont and his brother, who came from nothing and embraced the sport of boxing to make something of themselves. Not everyone is able to maintain the discipline it takes to reach the level Lamont has, despite everything else crumbling around him. Not easy man, not easy at all. I don’t know what that positive test entailed and what the ‘punishment’ if any was. But I have to agree with “El Editor Intrepido.’ (the fearless editor), that if Lamont has been cleared to fight by the powers that be, then lets move on and have the guy continue to earn a living. I do believe Lamont that he wants to teach youngsters about the game and not making some of the mistakes he made. Sounds a lot to me like Lamont is trying to make amends. I say, let it be. Peterson by UD…Peace.

  3. Mike Schmidt 07:05am, 01/24/2014

    What the hell Sir Robert- are you on the Commish Gordon Bat phone- yer like lightening on the response here- Okay I got it…it is…Ghirlandaio - probably from some Eyetalian Affiliate- probably works with Nino Benvenuti.

  4. Robert Ecksel 07:02am, 01/24/2014

    There’s an unspoken rule (I think, but since it’s unspoken how can one be sure?) that one doesn’t trash one’s colleagues, even if they relish trashing others. But when it comes to rules, unspoken or otherwise, I turn to the wisdom of Henry David Thoreau: “Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.”

  5. Mike Schmidt 06:55am, 01/24/2014

    Sorry, being the shallow fucker that I am, and that you know Sir Robert, I am not sure what old Walt was trying to say but I think it is something akin to mine is bigger than yours, or I taste better than anybody else’s meat, or fat in this particular quote case, or better to listen to my own quote- ah fuck I don’t know. Ask the question guy!!!!

  6. Robert Ecksel 06:49am, 01/24/2014

    If deference to your oh-so-polite request, I’ll give you a hint. The unnamed questioner weighs 400 pounds, has a voice like a foghorn, and has the same last name as a famous Italian artist (and no, it’s not da Vinci, Michelangelo, or Tintoretto).

  7. Mike Schmidt 06:48am, 01/24/2014

    Fearless Editor reminds me of a quote from my old Poetry 101 University course on Walt Whitman ( and fook you I know what your thinking here but the truth is my buddy Dave Lang and I took the course because A) we needed the credit and B) it was a night class laden with gorgeous chicks and c) The Prof very much enjoyed Dave and I’s company after class as we adjourned to a close by watering hole, “The Bomb” shelter with a number of our “classmates.” I digress, the quote was “I find no sweeter fat than sticks to my own bones.”  Walt Whitman.

  8. Mike Schmidt 06:40am, 01/24/2014

    Matt was talking about the conference questions I see, I see- the questions by the boneheaded dog or whatever Fearless Editor called he or she. Don’t know who it was Matt- Wouldn’t it be fun though if one of these fighters took the high right road and suggest that Mr. Question, Manny like Charity in thought, entertain a youtube/google hit spar session just to see what kind of shape Mr Lamont is in. The boneheaded dog best be get-go ready shape!!! Fearless Editor, come on, toss Matt and I a bone, give us a hint, leave no bone unturned, no bones about it- hint us.

  9. Mike Schmidt 05:07pm, 01/23/2014

    Are we talking about the “nameless” on the telephone conference?? Oops? No harm but a foul! Take a point away!!

  10. MIKE SCHMIDT 04:51pm, 01/23/2014

    In order of the guy with no last name who asked three questions; 1) That would be Mike Schmidt 2) Obviously although I wish it was a little more James Earl Jones depth 3) If anybody, or nobody, or somebody, without a last name, didn’t know, well now they know! Any other questions of an irrelevant thread nature? And thanks again Robert for the answer to the question.

  11. Matt H 04:25pm, 01/23/2014

    Who is the guy that was asking the questions? The person who just liked the sound of his own voice? Anybody know?

  12. EBM 01:25pm, 01/23/2014

    Agreed- let the young man move forward and prove his class. Of course, and he and his brother are a perfect example, boxing has some redemptive values- two kids from the street and how far they have come against odds of otherwise would surely be a long stint in the joint or perhaps no longer of this earthly planet. They both have come a long way- hopefully his team, including his media guy, help him out fully so that he is not in a situation ever again as he was. Having said all that, it looks to be a good scrap.

  13. Robert Ecksel 12:35pm, 01/23/2014

    You’re asking the right questions and I’m not sure I have all the answers. Lamont screwed up, or his doctor/team screwed up, with the testosterone pellets. But there was a hearing and he was cleared to fight. None of us is infallible. All of us make mistakes. None of which diminishes his accomplishments, all the more significant considering where he came from. And while dignity isn’t quantifiable, and is often in short supply in our vulgar culture, it’s something Peterson has in spades.

  14. EBM 12:00pm, 01/23/2014

    Is Lamont, if he makes further comment of this previous matter, biting a hand that feeds him??  The Guardian, Feb. 15, 2013, “Lamont Peterson’s comeback highlights boxings sterility over Steroids.” I remember well Khans interview with Radio Rahim and his comments of feeling cheated back in June 2012- unfortunately Pops Khan in one of the better youtubers, and much to the chagrin of Radio Raheem. put his hand over the camera and obliterated any further video. My last comment on this thing and I am out of here- In light of Lamonts matter of time past, what is he doing to as he looks at the whole boxing game “to try to change things for the better…

  15. EBM 11:43am, 01/23/2014

    Didn’t he fail to appear for a Nevada Commish appeal hearing- I really don’t have the interest ( unless somebody cares to pay me) to look into it further- just asking, and if there is an answer- cool and all good. I am not trying to be antagonize….I am I suspect missing your perhaps not to subtle message to me or perhaps my mind is too slow to massage subtly!!!

  16. EBM 11:39am, 01/23/2014

    I am not sure what or how your analogy applies. All I am asking is a simple question, and to the boxers betterment as such: Did that synthetic steroid matter get resolved by further investigation or did it just leave off into the abyss of suspension?? I must clearly be missing the forest, the tree, and probably the entire State. But to answer your question (although I clearly do not know what relevance it has) I have not had to blow the whistle on any corrupt colleagues but our governing body nicely has implemented a rule that leaves us in deep trouble if in fact we know of “corruption” and do not report it- it leaves us very much exposed in a myriad of ways ( discipline, our own suspension, lack of insurance etc). As such, a lawyer in our jurisdiction would be a very self inflicted exposed lawyer if in fact they did not report “corrupt” activity. Not that I know what that has to do with the question of the synthetic testo having been resolved by further enquiry.

  17. Robert Ecksel 11:27am, 01/23/2014

    The part about biting the hand that feeds one. As an attorney, you know what a filthy business the law is, all the nonsense about justice being blind etc. Have you, for example, blown the whistle on corrupt colleagues who, if they weren’t lawyers, would be in jail? That would be biting the hand that feeds you.

  18. EBM 11:16am, 01/23/2014

    Actually I did ask the same question of those guys- but mostly of Mosley (his video deposition). So it is still the same question-did he get that synthetic steroid business cleared up since he is of course trying “to change things for the better of the younger people going into the sport…” My last recollection ( again if I have the right guy) is that he had taken it but forgot to tell the commish or file pre-fight that he had ( neither he nor his team thought it apt in taking a synthetic steroid to perhaps do that). Simply asking- did he get that cleared up or did it just suspension itself into the next forest. What part of the forestless tree did I miss??

  19. Clarence George 10:53am, 01/23/2014

    I like both these guys, though I prefer Jean, which doesn’t mean I think he’ll win—Peterson by hard-fought unanimous decision.

  20. Robert Ecksel 10:19am, 01/23/2014

    The same could be asked about Berto, Holyfield, Roy Jones Jr. and even Mayweather if I’m not mistaken. But I think you may be missing the forest through the trees.

  21. El Bastardo Magnifico 10:14am, 01/23/2014

    Whatever happened to his synthetic steroid suspension/strip. Do I have the right guy? At the time his team was going to vigorously pursue vindication (if I have the right fighter brother- if not Fearless Editor please remove this thread). If I have the right guy his statements at the last paragraph, altruism fine, are somewhat lame.

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