By Chris Robinson
Having outdueled him over twelve frantic rounds in December of 2009 in their junior welterweight championship encounter, Tim Bradley knows exactly the type of fighter Lamont Peterson is. During their faceoff at the Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage, California, Bradley was a little too much for Peterson but also came away from the fight with a special kind of respect for the Washington, D.C. native.
And with Peterson now caught up in controversy following a failed drug test earlier this month ahead of his rematch with Amir Khan, Bradley will be the last man to take shots at his former foe while he’s down. Having admitted to taking testosterone pellets that were prescribed to him by his personal physician, Peterson has seen the rematch with Khan go up in smoke and now is fighting to uphold his name in the sport.
Looking at the situation as a whole, Bradley offered up sympathy for his former foe.
“I just feel that it sucks for him and what he’s going through,” Bradley would tell me recently. “I feel for his team and everybody. Because I know them very well. Lamont Peterson, to me, is not a cheater. But the tests came back positive on a couple occasions. Maybe he does have a problem. I don’t think he would just be taking some substance if there wasn’t a problem there. I don’t see him as that type of fighter, as a cheater.
“He works extremely hard in the gym day in and day out. You can go to the gym and watch him train. This dude trains like an animal. When I fought him, he was extremely strong and I’m behind him 110%. This guy is not a cheater,” Bradley would add.
Peterson’s physician, Dr. John Thompson, prescribed him with the testosterone pellets because Lamont had an unusually low amount of testosterone in his system. Seeming to be well-versed in such a scenario, Bradley again came to Peterson’s defense.
“Regardless if he tested positive or whatever, whatever he took is not on the banned list,” Bradley stated. “It was to help him. Having a low testosterone, you don’t have no type of aggression; you don’t have no type of power in your muscles. No type of strength or motivation. That’s very critical in a fighter and I think it was medically done for him.”
But the simple fact that Peterson failed to notify the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency of his condition ahead of time was a mistake, according to Bradley.
“He should have just said it and came clean,” Bradley said. “‘Hey, I’m taking this supplement’ or whatever it is. I think he would be better off if he would just put it down on the paper when they ask you what kind of supplements are you taking. And if he would have been honest I think he would have been fine. But now he has to go back and look and trace this paperwork and get the doctor’s approval on why he’s taking this supplement and maybe he’ll be cleared by that.”
Finishing up with his thoughts, Bradley compared Peterson’s situation to that of former welterweight champion Antonio Margarito, who was suspended by the California State Athletic Commission for being caught with plaster-coated hand inserts in his dressing room prior to his loss to Shane Mosley in January of 2009.
Margarito was chastised for his actions at the time but would return to secure two financially-rewarding bouts against Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto. Bradley feels that Peterson too will eventually find a way to put this all behind him.
“Margarito had plaster of paris in his damn hands, he should have been banned from boxing but he’s not," said Bradley. "He could have killed somebody in the ring. He freaking ripped a guy’s ear halfway off in a fight and people still follow him and still love him and they don’t care. I think after a while, all the stuff will boil over. [Peterson will] be back on the scene, no problem."