By Keith Idec
Two doctors told Lamont Peterson he needed shoulder surgery following his last fight.
The third doctor Peterson visited assured the former junior welterweight and welterweight champion physical therapy and rest would be enough to help heal the torn muscle in his left shoulder. Peterson is thankful that he took that path to recovery.
Otherwise, surgery would’ve prevented him from returning to the gym until this month, which would’ve kept him out of consideration for his upcoming title fight against IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr.
“I would’ve just been getting back from sitting, from not doing anything,” Peterson told BoxingScene.com. “You’re not gonna take a fight when you’re just sitting, especially a world title fight against a top-level guy. You’re just not gonna do that. I probably wouldn’t have even been in the conversation at that point.”
A press conference for the January 20 card headlined by Spence (22-0, 19 KOs) and Peterson (35-3-1, 17 KOs) is scheduled for Wednesday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, also the site of their fight. Showtime will televise it.
Peterson, 33, hasn’t fought since February 18, the night he defeated Russia’s David Avanesyan by unanimous decision to win the WBA world welterweight title in Cincinnati. The Washington, D.C., native hurt his shoulder while training about a year ago, but avoided visiting a doctor before facing Avanesyan because he figured he wouldn’t have been cleared to fight with a torn deltoid.
“When it first happened, it hurt,” Peterson said. “I had a lot of pain, a lot of weakness in the shoulder. I could barely throw anything fast or anything hard. But I was like, ‘I’ll just give it time.’ I turned southpaw, did anything I could do to take the pressure off the left hand and I just used my right, thinking it’ll just get better as the fight gets closer. And it did.
“It wasn’t a hundred percent. It was hurting a bit, but I knew I could fight and I could throw it and I knew that win or lose, I wasn’t gonna make any excuse about my shoulder. Because if I thought I couldn’t win, I wouldn’t have got in there. So I was able to get through that and went to the doctor. I wouldn’t say I made it worse [in the fight]. By the time I went to the doctor, it had actually got better.”
Once an MRI revealed that he had a torn muscle in his shoulder, Peterson preferred to let it heal naturally.
“If I would’ve done surgery, I wouldn’t have been back in the gym until November, until now,” Peterson said. “I would’ve just gotten back in the gym to start boxing training. So doing it the natural way, I ended up taking a couple months off. I was jogging during the summer and by the time August came around, I was back in the gym, training.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.