By Cliff Rold
Some fights just jump out at you.
When Lamont Peterson bested Kendall Holt in good, hard fight earlier this year, the post-fight press conference had plenty of people wondering the same thing aloud. “Wouldn’t he be good against Lucas Matthysse?” Two fighters who make good shows who didn’t have an imminent dance card? Same division?
It just jumped right out.
Now it’s here and, while this doesn’t have the star attention of some other recent affairs, the hardcore fans are salivating. They should be.
Let’s go the report card.
Titles: IBF Light Welterweight (2011-Present, 1 Defense)
Previous Titles: WBA “Super” Light Welterweight (2011-12)
Weight: 141 lbs.
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 140.4 lbs.
Hails from: Washington, DC
Record: 31-1-1, 16 KO
Rankings: #1 (BoxRec), #2 (BoxingScene, Ring), #3 (ESPN, TBRB)
Record in Major Title Fights: 2-1, 1 KO
Current/Former World Champions Faced: 4 (Timothy Bradley L12; Victor Ortiz D10; Amir Khan SD12; Kendall Holt TKO8)
Title/Previous Titles: None
Height: 5’6 ½
Weight: 140 lbs.
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 139.05 lbs.
Hails from: Junin, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Record: 31-1-1, 18 KO, 1 No Contest
Rankings: #1 (Ring), #2 (ESPN, TBRB), #3 (BoxingScene, BoxRec)
Record in Major Title Fights: 2-0, 2 KO in interim title fights
Current/Former World Champions Faced: 5 (Vivian Harris TKO4; Zab Judah L12; DeMarcus Corley TKO8; Devon Alexander L10; Humberto Soto RTD5)
Pre-Fight: Speed – Peterson B; Matthysse B
Pre-Fight: Power – Peterson B; Matthysse A
Pre-Fight: Defense – Peterson B; Matthysse B-
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Peterson B+; Matthysse B+
Before digging in to the fight, an only in boxing moment: this is a non-title fight where one of the fighters will still have a title on the line. With Matthysse weighing in at 140, his interim WBC belt, not to be confused with the other belt the WBC charges fees for worn by Danny Garcia.
It’s so mind numbingly silly sometimes.
On to the fight.
Neither man is super fast but both are good at placing punches. Matthysse is a bit more the marksman while Peterson is good at adjusting and multiplying the affect of his blows. Peterson sets it up off a grinding body attack. Matthysse will attempt to match him to the belly.
It is a good thing for fans that neither man is unhittable. Peterson gets harder to hit as fights go on. His biggest failing over the years has been slow starts against tough foes. That adds an element of drama as Matthysse comes with big power from start to finish. His best chances to land might come early.
Peterson’s best chances come in a war of attrition. As rounds develop and he warms to the task, Peterson gets better. He times opponents and begins to counter. Matthysse can be awkward, and what he lands is thudding, so timing may be tougher here. It is still a quality in Peterson’s favor. That said, Matthysse has shown the ability to wait, time, and catch quicker men like Zab Judah and Devon Alexander; he dropped both in debated losses.
Peterson doesn’t have the same type of speed either Judah or Alexander bring. That could make him more of a target.
In terms of intangibles, both men have shown solid stuff. Peterson has a ton of heart, and didn’t seem fazed against Holt by the dark cloud of his PED issues in 2012. Matthysse could well be undefeated but we haven’t seen him push through all the way yet to the elite level. This should be a defining test of how deep his well goes.
This fight is as intriguing as anything this year. Peterson is a terrible starter. He got off slow against Bradley, Ortiz, Khan, Holt...and was a handful by bout's end for all. Matthysse is more dangerous than any of them early and has shown the ability to keep bringing it all night. It would be no surprise to see this one end early, Peterson caught before he can warm up. It's more likely to see Matthysse off to a strong start and then rallying for a stoppage win after a dramatic comeback by Peterson. This should be a bruiser.
Report Card Picks 2013: 16-13
So there’s more than just this one on tap this weekend…Devon Alexander-Kell Brook was a Welterweight fight to look forward to. Alexander (24-1, 13 KO) versus Lee Purdy (20-3-1, 13 KO) doesn’t look of quite the same quality. Alexander should win this one solidly on points…Sugar Shane Mosley (46-8-1, 39 KO) is as badly shot as anyone active and this could be a dangerous fight if Pablo Cesar Cano (26-2-1, 20 KO) starts to just pound on him. That said, how good is Cano really? He blew a shot against Malignaggi by not putting in the work and wasn't good enough to beat an old, faded Morales. If Mosley pulls it out it would be no shock but he's just looked so bad. Cano is the pick by decision…Finally, a fantastic coin flip fight at Flyweight. Giovanni Segura (29-2-1, 25 KO) took a beating from Viloria, but Viloria is much quicker than Edgar Sosa (48-7, 29 KO) and Sosa isn't a young man for a Flyweight. That said, the sounder technical talent in Sosa should beat Segura to the punch often enough.
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org