Tonight Lamont Peterson will be involved in what will probably be one of the most significant fights of his career. Taking on knockout artist Lucas Mathysse, Peterson will have to avoid his opponent’s punching power while putting his own to good use. In his most recent fight against Kendall Holt, Peterson was matched against a slick puncher whose defensive ability required great patience and focus to overcome. In the fight against Mathysse, Peterson will have to focus more on his own defense and punch output than his opponent’s. Being too relaxed early on could cost the D.C. native the fight, but if he’s too eager to trade with Mathysse he’ll likely get hurt just as quickly. Peterson demonstrated a durable chin and an admirable heart in his exciting performance against Amir Khan, so if he can make it past the early rounds he may be able to wear Mathysse out enough to take all the later rounds. The style matchup should make for some good exchanges but the fight won’t be as active as it would be with guys who punch harder and who have iron jaws. Peterson will need to hold and move early to maximize his defense while he feels out his opponent, and Mathysse will need to brawl and smother in the late rounds to open an offensive opportunity if he’s forced to go that far into the fight. The end result will be an extraordinary fight that dedicated boxing fans will enjoy enormously, and the general public will probably watch during the commercial breaks for another show.
Whatever the pace of the action, the fight will be important to a very competitive division in boxing. Paulie Malignaggi has made a comeback that has put him at the top of the division again, while Amir Khan is still expected to be a star after recovering from two consecutive losses. Danny Garcia sits atop the 140-lb class but I think his limited skill set will make his reign transitory. Tonight Lamont Peterson could ascend to a new status and a new phase of his career with another win over a big-name opponent. Then again, Mathysse could position himself at the top of the division by beating Peterson, and with Adrien Broner’s recent announcement that he will move up to fight Malignaggi, the division is primed for change.