Several times in the past year, brothers Lamont and Anthony Peterson have been packaged together on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights. These undefeated prospects are managed by Shelly Finkel and have compelling backgrounds that are hardscrabble even by boxing standards. Older brother Lamont, a jnr. welterweight, has been the subject of more chatter. Until recently, many pundits considered him the better boxer of the two, or at least more fully realized talent. Lightweight Anthony is rawer, but with an upside his brother lacks: he packs a punch and isn’t shy about showing it.
A couple of months ago they made their debut on ShoBox. Lamont wasn’t especially compelling, going the distance for the tenth time in seventeen fights. But Anthony terrorized his man, disposing him in three. If forced to choose, you knew who you’d rather watch the next time.
On FNF’s most recent installment, big brother Lamont was site unseen, as far as being in the ring. (He had a brief, on-air chat with ESPN2’s commentators.) Little bro Anthony was the main event, fighting in his first 12-rounder. Although he didn’t get his customary knockout, he raised his record to 18-0 (13 ) in a lopsided unanimous decision over Adan Hernandez, who dropped to 14-5 (5). Scores were 120-108 twice and 119-109.
Peterson, 21, gave Hernandez two contrasting looks in the first: Winky Wright and/or Floyd Mayweather. He often wears earmuffs on defense and catches incoming fire on the gloves and arms like St. Petersburg’s favorite son. When he wants to pitch, he tends to drop his left and shoot jabs from the hip—51 of them in the first. Hernandez was outclassed in nearly every category—speed, size, power, and style—but had a chance to catch Peterson when he was alternating between personas. He appeared to know this, but that didn’t make it an easy thing to do.
Another possible spot for Hernandez was Peterson’s open mouth. He grunted whenever he punched, not just alerting his opponent to what was coming but leaving his jaw in a precarious position. In the second, while grunting with a punch, a light counter knocked his mouthpiece out. The shot did no harm, but incited Hernandez to attack. (Later, in the ninth, Peterson got caught mid-grunt and his mouthpiece fell to the canvas a second time. Hernandez again felt emboldened and went for the star’s vulnerable jaw—it was his best moment in the fight.)
Alas, those hoping for something unexpected were disappointed. Peterson easily swept the first seven rounds. Even though Peterson is guilty of some youthful habits, he is judicious with his punches, which are technically perfect—fast, hard, straight. And his impressions of boxing’s two maestros—Winky and Floyd—are not far off. He just needs to become more fluid, so his offense and defense aren’t so distinct. Predictably, when he covers up, opponents know it’s their turn to fire.
What was surprising was Peterson’s unwillingness to work the body consistently. He is normally an aggressive body puncher and throws wicked hooks downstairs that recall a young De La Hoya. Maybe the 12-round distance and the withering Memphis heat and humidity played on his mind? He took off a couple of rounds and danced around, displaying nimble feet.
Teddy Atlas gave Hernandez the final two rounds, as much for his effort and basic ring intelligence as anything. While he was consistently outgunned—and according to two judges, shut out—he was somehow in the fight. He stood in front of Peterson, blocking and countering fairly well, and was never close to being knocked out. Nor did his face look like hamburger at the final bell.
It was a novel experience for Peterson, accepting that some boxers just won’t go away. He handled it well. More importantly, now he knows how his brother feels.
Super flyweight Rayonta “Stingray” Whitfield remained unbeaten, bringing his record to 14-0 (8). He forced Colombian Luis Doria to beg no mas with less than thirty seconds in the fourth. Whitfield has an enviable Sandy Sadler-like build, and similarly employs his long arms and height to great effect. Doria, now 20-14-1 (13), once fought for a world title and has been in with four former champions. He was a legitimate step up for the Georgia resident, who has been feeding on southern stiffs. But Doria’s a natural flyweight and his round punches and uncontrolled style suggest he’s just a stepping stone. Giving up at least three inches in height, Doria’s only chance was to bull past Whitfield’s long straight jab and try to work inside. Doria took the fight on short notice, and it began to show in the third; Whitfield caught him with number of sharp rights and lead left hooks. In the next frame, Whitfield trapped him on the ropes and connected on two right hands and a left hook high on the head. Doria took a seat on the bottom rope and stayed there until the ref began his count. He got up, but when the ref reached about four, he waved it off himself—looking rather disgusted with his decision.
Light heavyweight DeAndrey Abron upped his record to 9-1 (6) with a devastating KO over Jose Silva at 2:37 of the first. It was a bad omen for Silva when he was dropped with a compact jab two minutes into the round. Abron wasted no time softening up his man’s body, which lowered Silva’s guard and created an opening for right hands. Abron connected on a chopping overhand right on top of Silva’s head, which instantly rendered him unconscious. It was Silva’s second loss by knockout, dropping him to 3-2 (2).
Non-televised undercard: Middleweight Andy Lee scored a TKO in the first over Rodney Freeman; lightweight Jose Rubio won a four-round majority decision over Omar Ballard; cruiserweight Joell Godfrey stopped Tee Lanti in one via TKO; and lightweight Ira Terry earned a third round TKO over Jason Doucet.