By Keith Idec
Lucas Matthysse had a hard time reaching New Jersey this week for his fight against Lamont Peterson on Saturday night in Atlantic City.
Maybe there’s something about “The Garden State” that doesn’t agree with the heavy-handed Argentine fighter. He’d prefer to forget his last trip to New Jersey, too.
Matthysse claimed he was “robbed” after his split-decision defeat to Zab Judah 2½ years ago at Prudential Center in Newark. Judah, a Brooklyn native who at times resided in two northern New Jersey towns, was considered a “hometown” fighter when he met Matthysse in November 2010.
Matthysse’s first professional defeat and another split-decision loss to Devon Alexander seven months later near Alexander’s native St. Louis are the primary reasons his junior welterweight showdown with Peterson (31-1-1, 16 KOs) won’t take place in Peterson’s hometown of Washington, D.C. The 30-year-old Matthysse maintains, though, that he isn’t worried about suffering what he’d clearly consider a third undeserved defeat if the Peterson fight goes to the scorecards.
“I’m not worried about [judging],” said Matthysse (33-2, 31 KOs), who encountered visa issues while trying to travel from Argentina to the United States. “I’m going to come out to do my work. I’m going to work just like I’ve been working hard for the fight and I believe the judges will give a clear decision.”
The New Jersey State Athletic Control Board has assigned two New Jersey residents, Eugene Grant and Barbara Perez, and New York’s Luis Rivera to judge the Peterson-Matthysse match, which will headline a Showtime doubleheader from Boardwalk Hall (9 p.m. ET). None of those three judges scored the Matthysse-Judah or Matthysse-Alexander fights.
Judges Joe Pasquale and Hilton Whitaker scored Judah (42-8, 29 KOs, 2 NC), who overcame a 10th-round knockdown, a 114-113 winner against Matthysse. The third judge, Woleska Roldan, had Matthysse ahead after 12 rounds, 114-113.
Against Alexander, judge Brett Miller credited Matthysse with winning their 10-round fight (96-93). The other two judges, Carlos Colon (96-93) and Dennis Nelson (95-94), scored the fight for Alexander (24-1, 13 KOs), who also had to get off the canvas in the fourth round of their June 2011 bout in St. Charles, Mo., to beat Matthysse.
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.