The Peterson brothers, Lamont and Anthony, have a story anybody would be touched by. As children they were abandoned by their parents and forced to fend for themselves on Washington, D.C.’s mean streets. A good evening in winter was finding a spot in a bus station where security guards wouldn’t discover them. Otherwise, they’d walk all night in the cold, knowing if they stopped they risked hypothermia. By day, they washed car windows at intersections. If they made enough, they’d buy a meal instead of fishing for sustenance in a garbage can.
When Lamont was 10 (he’s 14 months older than Anthony), he met Barry Hunter, who took the brothers in and raised them like they were his own. He taught them to box and they became stellar amateurs. Today, Hunter is still working their corner, and has gotten them both to 17-0. Shelly Finkel, arguably the sport’s most powerful manager, is guiding their careers; they’ve been featured on ESPN2’s “Friday Night Fights” several times; and last Friday ShoBox gave them double billing from 4 Bears Casino & Lodge in New Town, North Dakota.
Younger brother Anthony, 21, was up first. He’s a well-built lightweight with (now) 13 KO’s to his credit. However, only four of his opponents have had winning records, and all but one of his KO victims has been stopped. He’s more aggressive and emotional than Lamont, and looked to make it a short night against Jermaine White (now 13-1, 6 KOs) of Gary, Indiana. It was a three-round drubbing, prompting White to ask his corner to “throw in the towel” before the fourth.
White may have a gaudy record and hail from Angel Manfredy’s hometown, but within seconds it was obvious he was out of his depth. He has few skills and even less of a punch. What he does have is major league nuts & guts; most fighters in his position would’ve lain down after the first.
From the opening bell, Anthony dug hard, crisp left hooks to White’s body and head. He gets terrific leverage on his hooks, which are technically sound and thrown with bad intentions. White took a knee with a minute left in the round. He made it to the bell but walked back to his corner like a drunk attempting to walk straight. His once confident expression was wiped clean from his face.
Anthony continued his assault in the second, leading the ref to give White a standing 8-count with a minute left in the round. Occasionally, the beleaguered opponent would punch back, but his blows had all the oomph of an overweight heavyweight’s in the 12th round. Anthony walked into them behind a high guard, and was touched frequently. He rarely slipped or blocked. On-air analyst Steve Farhood suggested that Anthony usually hides behind his left shoulder, à la Floyd Mayweather, but probably felt safe in front of White’s feathered fists.
Not long after the 8-count, Anthony push-punched White with a cuffing left to the back of head, dropping him to the canvas. It was ruled a slip. Toward the end of the next round, the same thing happened. It suggested a hint of frustration on Anthony’s part, since he couldn’t stop White on his terms.
Matchmaker Johnny Bos questions Anthony Peterson’s punching power, and didn’t dismiss his high guard defense as easily as Steve Farhood did. Shelly Finkel doesn’t plan on matching him tough till around his 24th bout. At the busy pace he’s been fighting, we’ll get some answers about his power and defense by 2007.
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Lamont Peterson, the more technical but less powerful of the brothers, took a bigger step up in his 10-round ShoBox debut. Southpaw Mario Jose Ramos turned pro in 1999, has beaten Cosme Rivera, and is coming off a 12-round decision loss to top prospect Demetrius Hopkins.
Like Anthony, Lamont has been moved carefully (though busily) for a top-shelf prospect that missed the 2004 US Olympic team by a hair. His first 11 opponents had losing records. However, he gained good experience in February going 10 rounds on “Friday Night Fights” against Jose Moreno.
Lamont is blessed with quick and hands and feet, and looks to be thinking when he’s in the ring—maybe too much. He often waited as Ramos got off. He looked for openings that wouldn’t appear by mere thought alone. He, too, covered up rather than blocked and slipped shots. Sometimes he dropped his hands and squared up. But his speed and reflexes are such that he got away with it.
Before the fight, he said he wanted to beat his southpaw opponent with his jab, even though that’s not the traditional way to beat a lefty. In practice, this proved a tough task. For the first five rounds his cornerman Barry Hunter implored him to get busier with it. While Peterson wasn’t accomplishing everything he wanted to do, there was no doubt as to who was controlling the fight. And Ramos was just coasting, seemingly content to earn lose a decision to another name prospect.
Round 10 had some sparks as Peterson attempted to close the show while Ramos attempted to save face. They swung haymakers with abandon. One of Peterson’s connected square on Ramos’ chin. “That’s as hard a left hook as he can throw,” Farhood commented. But the opponent was utterly unfazed, and finished the round holding his hands in the air, as if to say, “I didn’t win, but I was never hurt either.” This doesn’t bode well for the D.C. kid with the compelling story. Scores were 99-93, 100-90 twice, all for Peterson.
Lamont is a classy fighter but not a special one. He lacks dynamism, charisma, a decent punch—all the stuff most fight fans are looking for. Younger brother Anthony has some of those qualities, and may ultimately be the main attraction.