By Keith Idec
Dierry Jean didn’t bother trying to hide his strategy.
The undefeated contender from Montreal plans to quickly attack Lamont Peterson on Saturday night to see if Peterson has overcome the psychological effects of his knockout defeat to Lucas Matthysse. His IBF junior welterweight title defense against Jean represents Peterson’s first fight since Argentina’s Matthysse (34-3, 32 KOs, 1 NC) dropped Peterson (31-2-1, 16 KOs) three times on his way to a surprisingly easy, third-round technical knockout win May 18 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
“It’s a great opportunity for me because I think in his mind he’s not 100-percent OK,” Jean said on a conference call. “So it’s going to be a great opportunity for me to strike him again, for me to catch him again, to remind him [of] the nightmare he [experienced] last time.”
Peterson, who’ll turn 30 on Friday, clearly has mental and physical questions he needs to answer in the ring Saturday night at D.C. Armory in Washington. Jean has plenty to prove, too. The Haitian-born, Quebec-bred boxer is undefeated and has won each of his last three bouts by knockout, but he hasn’t faced anyone as accomplished or as experienced against top competition as Peterson.
Jean understands why critics have doubts about his resume. He just asks that they wait until Saturday night before judging whether he is a championship-caliber fighter.
“This fight means everything for me,” Jean said. “I’ve been working so hard to get there, and now I’m there. It’s time to go conquer the belt. This means a lot for me. I started at 18 years old and now I’m 31. I think I deserve it now. I work so hard, from the bottom of my heart. So now it’s time to go get that belt. It’s my time now. Lamont [had] his time. Now it’s my time.”
The confident Jean (25-0, 17 KOs) has fought almost exclusively in his adopted hometown of Montreal since he made his pro debut in December 2006. He still isn’t overly concerned about boxing Peterson in his hometown, where Peterson won a controversial split decision over England’s Amir Khan in December 2011.
“It’s OK,” Jean said. “It doesn’t matter. For sure, I would prefer to be in [front of] my crowd, but it’s going to be OK. I can deal with pressure, and he’s going to be the only one guy in the ring with me. I’m not going to be against the fans.”
Regardless, Jean doesn’t expect their scheduled 12-round fight to go to the scorecards. Coming off an impressive fourth-round stoppage of Los Angeles’ Cleotis Pendarvis (17-4-2, 6 KOs) in their IBF elimination match eight months ago, Jean envisions this fight ending early as well.
“I see I’m a better fighter,” Jean said. “I’m more vicious. I can hit harder than him and I want it more, so I own every [advantage] to earn that title.”
The Peterson-Jean fight will headline a “Showtime Championship Boxing” doubleheader set to begin at 9 p.m. The telecast will open with a 10-round junior middleweight match between Houston’s Jermell Charlo (22-0, 11 KOs) and Philadelphia’s Gabriel Rosado (21-7, 13 KOs).
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.