By Jake Donovan
Showtime Championship Boxing makes its 2014 season premiere tonight, airing live from the D.C. Armory in Washington D.C. In the main event, local favorite Lamont Peterson defends his alphabet 140 lb. title versus unbeaten challenger Dierry Jean, a Haiti-born contender based out of Canada.
Peterson (31-2-1, 16KO) has endured one of the stranger title reigns in recent memory. Tonight’s fight marks the second defense of the belt he won in controversial fashion, claiming a disputed split decision over Amir Khan at home in Dec. ’11. A planned rematch fell through after pre-fight random drug testing unearthed excessive levels of testosterone in Peterson’s system, though resulting in his being stripped of only one of his two belts.
A year-long ring ban was followed by the lone defense of his title to date, a stoppage win over Kendall Holt last February. Peterson played with house money in his clash with Lucas Matthysse last May, a non-title affair in which Peterson was drilled in three rounds yet left the ring as champion since the bout’s contracted weight was a maximum of 141 lb., one pound over the super lightweight limit.
Eight months of inactivity have followed heading into tonight’s fight, which comes one day after Peterson celebrates his 30th birthday.
Jean (25-0, 17KO) is the definition of a seasoned veteran who has paid his dues to earn his title shot. The 31-year old has steadily improved through seven years as a pro, but never more impressive than in his U.S. debut last May. Jean’s first fight outside of his native Canada saw an explosive introduction to the title stage, scoring a 4th round knockout of Cleotis Pendarvis in their ShoBox televised bout.
The win earned Jean a mandatory title shot, which he cashes in tonight.
Will hometown surroundings once again prove comforting for the defending titlist, or will the blue-collar challenger overcome a hostile crowd to score an upset on the road?
Read on to see how the staff at Boxingscene.com believes the super lightweight title fight action will go down tonight.
BOXINGSCENE.COM STAFF PREDICTIONS – LAMONT PETERSON vs. DIERRY JEAN
“Peterson defends his title in spectacular fashion against an unbeaten challenger.”
- Damien Acevedo (Peterson by knockout)
“I think thus will be Jean's coming out party. Peterson gas been inactive as of late and would have benefitted from a tune up after his knockout loss to Lucas Matthysse last May."
- Ryan Burton (Jean by TKO)
“It's a significant step up for Jean, but I like him to join fellow Haitian-Canadian boxers Adonis Stevenson and Jean Pascal in the winner's circle. A knockout might be needed to win on the road, but I see Jean's forthcoming inspired effort properly rewarded by at least two judges."
- Jake Donovan (Jean SD)
“Dierry 'Dougey' Jean just might be one of boxing's best kept secrets as he possesses a lot of the skills fight fans look for in becoming fans of theirs. Good power, good handspeed, and a willingness to use all the tools in his shed will be on display Saturday and while Peterson has the decided edge in experience I do see this being the type of fight that introduces the world to Dougey."
- Ernest Gabion (Jean TKO9)
"Dierry Jean's an up-and-comer who can punch, but he's relatively untested and Lamont Peterson is his first bona fide world-class opponent. Though Peterson is coming off a brutal stoppage loss to Lucas Matthysse, I think the Washingtonian's wealth of experience and ability to box when necessary will take him back to the win column."
- Ryan Maquiñana (Peterson by decision)
“Peterson continuing to make 140 is probably tough and Jean is going to be as ready as he can be. I like the mild upset here."
- Cliff Rold (Jean by decision)
“Very interesting match up as Jean has never lost and Peterson is coming off a tough defeat. Peterson has proved he can hang with the top level while Peterson will serve as Jean's biggest test to date. I see Peterson winning a very hard fought decision in a intense affair."
- Luis Sandoval (Peterson UD)
“I don't have any faith in Peterson, whose best time is past him. Jean is on a hot roll, he is capable and can hit a bit. Peterson's is not a champion at first place (which counts for his positive drug test plus a blowout from LM Matthysse in May) - just a trinket owner. So I would got with power of Jean rather than with a luck of American."
- Alexey Sukachev (Jean TKO8)
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox