By Keith Idec
If Lamont Peterson responds as aggressively in the ring against Dierry Jean as he did during a conference call to promote their fight Thursday, he’ll probably bounce back well from the first knockout defeat of his career.
Peterson hasn’t fought since Argentina’s Lucas Matthysse knocked him out in the third round of their May 18 fight in Atlantic City. He’ll defend the IBF junior welterweight title he holds despite the Matthysse loss against Montreal’s Jean on Jan. 25 in Washington, D.C., Peterson’s hometown.
“You know, the loss, that happened in one day,” Peterson said. “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.
“As far as me moving on, I’m a fighter. At the end of the day, I have to focus on Jan. 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 defiance aside, questions about his how he’ll respond from Matthysse’s demolition are legitimate.
Matthysse (34-3, 32 KOs, 1 NC), one of boxing’s most punishing punchers, dropped him once in the second round and twice in the third round before their non-title fight was stopped at Boardwalk Hall. And Jean, 31, is an above-average puncher who has won four of his past five fights by knockout, though against a lower level of opposition.
Peterson (31-2-1, 16 KOs), who’ll turn 30 on Jan. 24, also dismissed detractors that don’t consider him a world champion, despite that’ll he’ll defend the IBF’s 140-pound crown against Jean (25-0, 17 KOs).
“Who cares?,” Peterson said. “At the end of the day, the belts mean nothing. It means a lot to y’all, but it means nothing to me. I still have to fight. I bust my [butt] in the gym, I go and I fight. I give it my all in the ring. Who cares about who’s No. 1, who’s No. 2, who’s pound-for-pound, who has this belt, who has this belt?
“I [couldn’t] care less about that. Look at me as a champion or not, it doesn’t make a difference. The only thing it means was we fought at a catch weight [141 pounds] and me having the belt allowed me to have this opportunity to fight Dierry Jean. That’s it. That’s all that belt means.”
When reminded losses such as the Matthysse defeat affect fighters’ earning power, Peterson responded, “Of course I know that. 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 and think about their last fight, if it didn’t go the way they wanted it to go? The best thing to do is to pick yourself up, forget about it and move. I know I can still fight, I’m still a good fighter. I have to forget about it.”
Showtime will televise the Peterson-Jean fight as the main event of a doubleheader from the D.C. Armory. The first bout broadcast will send Houston’s Jermell Charlo (22-0, 11 KOs) against Philadelphia’s Gabriel Rosado (21-7, 13 KOs) in a 10-round junior middleweight match.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing