By Jake Donovan (photo © Showtime)

It seems every time there's a lightweight fight of relevance, the rest of the division is standing in line shouting over one another in calling out the winner. Unified titlist Nate Campbell goes so far as to provide a blog for, giving his thoughts on everything from the state of the game to humbling select divisional rivals in shame.

With no fewer than three bouts of major divisional significance in the month of September alone, chances are the winners will have their share of contenders lined up demanding a fight.

There's one top ten contender that may be worthy of such a fight. Just don't expect him to shout it from the roof tops any time soon.

"It wasn't good enough," was how undefeated lightweight contender Anthony Peterson (27-0, 19KO) summarized his most recent performance, a lopsided 12-round decision over Fernando Trejo last Thursday in Las Vegas. The bout was the main event on Versus, while also serving as Peterson's debut under the Top Rank banner.

It's not often that a virtual shutout is dismissed as a disappointing performance. But as many critics voiced their displeasure over the lack of sustained action, Anthony is right alongside of them in agreement.

"I still have a bad taste in my mouth from that fight," he admits. "I don't like it when guys give a bad performance than start calling out the world. You won't hear me calling anyone out anytime soon.

"Right now, I'm calling out Anthony Peterson."

No excuses for the performance, which all things considered wasn't that bad. For the perceived lack of action in the fight, he and Trejo combined to throw 1,800 punches in the fight, with Peterson himself landing 296 out of 918 punches. The numbers average out to 25 punches landed out of 85 thrown per round, stats most fighters would not only gladly accept, but have their publicists release self-congratulatory press releases on their behalf.

For Peterson, it wasn't good enough. Not even close.

"It was a good fight, but not a great fight, I like great fights."

With time should come plenty of great fights at lightweight, especially now that he's with one of the premier power brokers in the sport.

Along with his brother Lamont, who makes his Top Rank debut this Saturday on Showtime, Anthony spent the majority of his pro career fighting out of the Mid-South on shows promoted by Prize Fight Boxing.

It was as fitting a location as any for the two to develop in the early stages of their career. While forced to survive the mean streets of Washington D.C. while growing up youths, at times parentless and homeless, Memphis served as a home away from home.

Seven months after both fell short in the 2004 Olympic Trials in nearby Tunica, Mississippi, Anthony and Lamont turned pro at the FedEx Forum in Memphis. Their careers began on a show where a legend's appeared to end, as Roy Jones was knocked out for the second time in as many fights in his fight with Glen Johnson.

The Peterson's were knockout winners that night, with Anthony going on to develop a reputation as a multi-talented boxer-puncher. Despite his vast skills, it's his trademark grunt he releases with each punch that has become the identifying mark of his young career. Some claim that it serves as a telegraph to the incoming; others recognize it as the intense amount of effort he puts into every punch and every performance.

It's for that reason that he sought – and received – a step up in competition, having been matched relatively weak through the first three-plus years of his career, considering his talents. On most nights, Fernando Trejo is a serviceable trialhorse. Peterson made it look easy, but only because he knew what to expect going into the fight.

"(Trejo) was a very tough opponent, which is what I needed. I'm glad this was my first test for Top Rank; I'm a guy that loves being close to perfection, so I wanted to start tough and keep working my way up."

The only downside to the fight was an injury suffered early in the fight. "I went to the doctors afterward; they said I have a contusion in my left hand, which will require two weeks to heal."

That would normally earn a fighter a trip to the injured list, with his next performance not even considered until he's once again ready to go full throttle.

Dammit if Anthony Peterson will spend any more time away from the ring than has already been the case in 2008. He went into the Trejo fight having not fought since the first weekend of the year, the five-month period representing the longest of his young career.

The expected turnaround between last week's fight and his next? Five weeks – and that's including rehab time for the injury suffered in the Trejo fight.

"I'm coming right back, August 2 on HBO," insists Peterson, with deceptively strong Puerto Rican lightweight Jose Reyes rumored to be the opponent. "I'm still in great shape; I just can't hit anything until my hand fully heals. But they offered me the August 2 date on HBO; this is my shot, and I'm not letting any opportunity slip by."

Five weeks between fights is unheard of in today's market, at least beyond the prospect level. But it's another era to which Peterson believes standards should be held.

"I'm a big fan of Sugar Ray Robinson. I remember reading his record, seeing that he'd fight three times in one month. If I can mimic that, it'd be great on my behalf."

Between now and then, Anthony gets to play spectator, as he watches his older brother ply his craft at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino, as he faces Rogelio Castaneda in the televised co-feature on Showtime (Saturday, 11PM ET/PT).

Often has been the case where the brother act appeared on the same card, billed as separate co-main events. But while the two thrive off of living up to the standards set forth by the others, Anthony believes it's time they make names for themselves in separate capacities.

"It always feels good to watch my brother fight; it's a good experience. It was nice when we were on the same cards for a minute, but I'm now comfortable on my own and so is he. You can't give 'em two main events in one night, and it's unfair for one of us to take a step back for the other, it's not appropriate."

Instead, they give them a double dose in the same city in back to back weeks. That city being Las Vegas, where neither brother has appeared prior to Anthony's fight last week and Lamont's forthcoming fight. In making his Sin City debut, Anthony believes he's right at home.

"It felt good," Peterson said of his first fight under the bright Vegas lights. "The air and everything is on point. This is the town where Sugar Ray Leonard and so many other superstars made a name for themselves. Now we're trying to make our names in Vegas."

Both will be attempting to do so in divisions overloaded with talent. Lamont's making his run at junior welterweight, which has been fully loaded for years. Anthony, on the other hand, is coming on at a time when the lightweight division is making a major comeback, in fact threatening to become the hottest division in the sport.

"Lightweight was in a drought, but is now packed with names. It's perfect timing for me."

It's a time he believes where, no matter the opponent, he will rise to the occasion.

"I'm on that level – I'm just as good as the competition. They'll bring out the best in me. No more growth period for me; I'm ready for the best."

Not that he's calling out anyone specific – at least not until he comes correct in the ring.

"Until I give a performance that has people demanding more of me, the only person I'm calling out is Anthony Peterson."

Jake Donovan is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Tennessee Boxing Advisory Board. Contact Jake at