By Rick Reeno
In of the more anticipated fights in the first half of 2013, IBF junior welterweight champion Lamont Peterson (31-1-1, 16KOs) will face WBC interim-champion Lucas Matthysse (33-2, 31KOs) on May 18th in a Showtime televised headliner from the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
Earlier this week, the fight had an interesting twist when Golden Boy Promotions announced that Peterson-Matthysse would held at a catch-weight of 141-pounds - which means neither boxer will be risking their title in the contest.
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer explained the situation to BoxingScene.com. While both fighters were more than willing to unify their belts, there were some issues with getting both sanctioning bodies on board.
Neither boxer was open to the idea of dropping their respective title, and rather than cancel the fight over a sanctioning technicality, both fighters and Golden Boy decided to move forward with a non-title fight.
However, Schaefer is attempting to resolve the sanctioning body situation and hopes the match will once again become a championship fight in the coming weeks.
"It's really interesting. Both fighters wanted to fight for both belts, so there was no issue there. The IBF said that they do not recognize unification bouts with interim-belts. Then the approach was for Lamont to only defend his belt, or for Matthysse to only defend his belt - that was one possibility. Or have the IBF rule that they can fight for both belts and then the winner would have to decide within a week which belt he will keep. All of that was not acceptable. So we really had a choice of not doing the fight because of that or to do the fight and make it a non-title fight," Schaefer explained to BoxingScene.com.
"This is one of the most anticipated fights for fight fans, the media. Many of your colleagues Rick, and even yourself, are always saying that belts are not really important. And then you make a fight without the belt and people are starting to say - 'what's going on? It's supposed to be a title fight.' I think the importance of the matchup, and the excitement in the ring, is still the same."
"It's a big fight but I do hope that the IBF will reconsider and allow the fights to take place for both belts. I had a meeting last night with the WBC and they did confirm that they would allow the belt to either be unified, or having just Matthysse defend his belt or Peterson defend just his belt, or the third option of having the winner decide within a week which one they are going to keep. All of that would be okay with the WBC, so I hope the IBF - by the time the fight happens, will allow it to be for the title."