By Lem Satterfield
Junior welterweight contender Lamont Peterson said that African Americans need to support their fighters more, this, during a Monday training session at the Head Banger's Gym in Southeast in his native Washington, D.C.
"The whole thing that is going on to me that I see within as a problem with Black fighters and the boxing game is just that Black people are not showing the support that's necessary to make household names in boxing. You can throw a fight anywhere, and the headliner can be an African American, and there's just no interest in the fight," said Peterson.
"People would rather go to concerts or clubs or go to see a basketball game or a football game before boxing," said Peterson. "So since in boxing, black fighters are not really generating any money to the sport, there's not too many fighters that can headline a card. There's really no interest in a black fighter because there's no money involved."
The 27-year-old Peterson (28-1-1, 14 knockouts) spoke while taking a break from his preparation for an April 29 IBF title eliminator bout against 26-year-old Victory Cayo (26-1-1, 18 KOs) of the Dominican Republic that is scheduled for the Cosmopolitan Resort in Las Vegas.
African Americans such as Floyd Mayweather (41-0, 25 KOs) are a major draw, as have been Shane Mosley (46-6-1, 39 KOs), and -- in his hometown of St. Louis, Mo. -- southpaw former WBC and IBF junior welterweight king, Devon Alexander (21-1, 13 KOs).
Beyond them, however, Peterson believes that African American fighters in the sport long for the support bestowed upon Filipino fighters such as eight-division and WBO welterweight king Manny Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 KOs), as well as Mexicans such as WBO and WBC lightweight titlist Juan Manuel Marquez (52-5-1, 38 KOs) and some of their fighting countrymen.
"If Manny Pacquiao fights in Las Vegas, the whole week, you know, all you're going to see is Filipinos. They come out and they show their support. So, of course, Manny Pacquiao is going to make a lot of money and be a headliner everywhere. Filipinos know that he deserves it," said Peterson.
"Mexicans, you could throw a fight and the fight can be a Mexican fighting in Canada, but guess what? They're going to make their way up there," said Peterson. "A lot of times, it just comes down to their people showing them the support that's necessary to make them a star. You have a lot of African Americans who can become stars, but they just don't have the support from their own to make them a star. It's crazy, but it's true."
The Peterson-Cayo winner could earn a title berth as the mandatory challenger opposite 33-year-old IBF king Zab Judah (41-6, 28 KOs).
Peterson is coming off of a 10-round, HBO televised, majority draw opposite the 24-year-old southpaw Ortiz (28-2-2, 22 KOs), of Oxnard, Calif., after having to rise from the canvas following two, third-round knockdowns.