This Saturday before the big middleweight slug-off between David Lemieux and Gennady Golovkin, PBC will broadcast the non-title fight between DC-native Lamont Peterson and Olympic gold-medalist Felix Diaz of the Dominican Republic. Diaz is undefeated at 17-0, already with a few wins over decent competition, such as his most recent decision win over Gabriel Bracero. Bracero is coming off a thrilling, but disturbing, one-punch knockout after only 40 seconds in his rematch against Danny O’Connor this past weekend in Lowell, Massachusetts. While the result can be attributed partially to luck and to bad defensive technique from O’Connor, Bracero looked formidable knocking O’Connor unconscious before he hit the mat.
Peterson, of course, is coming off of the controversial “loss” to Danny Garcia, whose 140-pound championship was not on the line for the fight, even if the judges had scored it accurately. He is obviously looking for an impressive win to buoy him back to the top of the division where he can continue to campaign against the A- fighters. While Peterson always struggles with elite competition, Garcia has never quite qualified for that label. While he managed to showcase impressive heart and pull out a skillful comeback in his win over Matthysse, his other opponents, while mostly marketable names, are carefully selected to keep him out of danger. For example: Judah, Malignaggi, Herrera, Morales. None of these guys are in their prime, but the wins drew plenty of attention to Garcia as an undefeated fighter crossing names off his list. While I’d like to see a rematch between Garcia and Peterson, I don’t think many other people are pushing for it, and I doubt Garcia is very eager himself. The most likely scenario, unfortunately, is that Garcia will be dethroned by a better fighter before Peterson makes his way back to the top. This Saturday’s match, however, is a great way to get Peterson started on that road. Diaz is experienced enough as an undefeated prospect to make the fight legitimate, while ensuring a win for the DC-native. As skilled as Diaz might be, his height and reach deficits (4″ and 5″, respectively) are just too much to overcome against a fighter at Peterson’s level. This was most effectively illustrated in the recent upset when Lucas Matthysse was dismantled by the much taller Viktor Postol, who was expected to lose. I see Peterson pulling away in the middle rounds with a unanimous decision.
Also featured on the undercard will be local middleweight mainstay Jimmy Lange (38-6-2). The Eaglebank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia, previously the Patriot Center, has been Lange’s venue of choice since 2005 and at 40 years old, he seems to have settled in completely, holding 15 of his last 17 fights there. Lange was the headliner in the first professional fight I ever saw in person. I noticed his impressive jab and footwork, and wondered why he wasn’t more famous. He’s an exciting fighter to watch. I look forward to seeing him again with an educated eye. His opponent this Saturday will be the undistinguished Mike Sawyer with a record of 6-4.