By Marc Livitz: In just over two weeks’ time, pugilism will return to the land of the Potomac. Boxing will once again be the evening’s showcase at a famed locale in Washington, DC which originally opened as a National Guard Armory during World War II. At stake in the main event will be the IBF light welterweight title and DC native Lamont “Havoc” Peterson (31-2-1, 16 KO’s) will no doubt seek to not just securely keep his belt, but also to please his home fans as well. Standing in his wake will be Dierry “Dougy Style” Jean (25-0, 17 KO’s), who is an unbeaten fighter looking to add another belt alongside his NABF light welterweight championship.
The back story of Peterson’s early life with his brother Anthony (light welterweight contender) on the streets of DC is well known. His fighting ledger includes victories over such combatants as Amir Khan and Kendall Holt. The two defeats in his nearly decade old career were to former and current champions, Timothy Bradley and Lucas Matthysse. Although his IBF crown was not on the line last May, “Havoc” Peterson suffered the first and only knockout loss on his record when he was soundly beaten and floored three times in as many rounds by Matthysse.
By contrast, his Montreal, Quebec (by way of Haiti) opponent has yet to taste defeat and is coming off of his own knockout win, which took place last May as well. His fourth round TKO victory over Cleotis “Mookie” Pendarvis put him in pole position for the IBF title. Dierry Jean will be fighting for just his third time outside of his native Canada.
Just before the night’s main event, Golden Boy Promotions will feature a co-main attraction which should have its own potential for explosive action. Unbeaten Houston, TX native and USBA junior middleweight champion Jermell “Iron Man” Charlo (22-0, 11 KO’s) will perhaps face his toughest test yet in the form of hardnosed Philadelphia tough man Gabriel “King” Rosado (21-7, 13 KO’s). To some members of the boxing know, Jermell Charlo’s time as a work in progress has run its course and the twenty three year old fighter is due for a bona fide challenge.
There is virtually every reason to believe that Gabriel Rosado will present such a task. The Philly native is mired in the midst of a losing streak of sorts. One year ago and much to his protest, Rosado’s corner threw in the towel in the seventh round of his championship bout with the intergalactic crusher that is Gennady Golovkin. “King” Rosado gave his all in the middleweight fight, but he was reduced to a bloody wreck.
Last May, Gabriel took part in the undercard of Floyd Mayweather’s bout with Robert Guerrero. He lost on two of the three scorecards to J’Leon Love (a Mayweather Promotions fighter) and dropped a controversial decision, yet the result was later overturned after Love tested positive for a banned substance. Rosado’s most recent outing was a TKO defeat to Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin last October. As was the case in his bout with Golovkin, Gabriel was bloodied once again and the action came to a close in round ten due to a cut over his eye.
The bouts will be televised on Showtime Championship Boxing on Saturday, January 25 (7PM ET/PT) and all four contestants took part in an international media conference call this afternoon.
Selected highlights are listed below.
Richard Schaefer, CEO Golden Boy Promotions: “This should be another sensational year for the sport. In 2013, we did our best to put together the most evenly matched fights. It was easily the best year in boxing and for boxing. This card has competitive matchups and not tune up’s. Washington has great fight fans and they always come out in large numbers.”
Opening Statements, Dierry Jean: “My training camp has been good. So far, so good. I am in the best shape of my life so I can go out there and do my job. We have a mission to go out there and win the belt.”
Opening Statements, Lamont Peterson: “Everyone knows that I come to fight and that I’m always in shape.”
Dierry Jean on going for a knockout: “It’s a great opportunity for me. I don’t think he’s one hundred percent right now. I’ll go straight at him.”
On Fighting in Washington, DC: “I would prefer to be in front of my crowd, but it’s not a problem. Only he will be in the ring with me and not the crowd. I can handle the pressure just fine.”
Lamont Peterson on returning from a KO loss: “The loss happened in one day. It’s part of boxing and it happens. It’s in the past, so who cares? You have to keep on moving. I’m a fighter and I train hard. I give it my all. The belts mean nothing to me. It matters to the media, but not to me. I have this belt and it just means that I can fight Dierry Jean.”
“My mentality has to be that way. Who cares about my last fight? Pick yourself up, forget about it and move on to the next fight.”
Dierry’s View of Peterson: “I see that I’m a better fighter. I hit harder and I want it more. I’m much more vicious as well.”
Lamont on a fast start: “It doesn’t make a difference whether I fight fast or slow. It’s all about a twelve round fight and winning the contest.”
On How Jean Compares to Previous Opponents: “I’m not sure, but we’ll find out.”
On Training Even Harder After a KO Loss: “How could I train any harder? I always give it my all. I’m not just talking about physical training. I put all things aside and live a strict lifestyle.”
Dierry Jean on Mental Preparations: “This fight means everything to me. I’ve been working so hard and I’m ready to go get the belt. I think I deserve it now. From the bottom of my heart, I have worked so hard. It is my time now. It is no longer Lamont Peterson’s time.”
“I’ve had good sparring partners who can throw punches as well as take them. In my last fight, I got a very big knockout. This will be a difficult fight. Peterson has my respect because he has done his work.”
Opening Statements, Gabriel Rosado: “I am having a great training camp and I just got to Caguas, Puerto Rico for the second half of it. I am excited for this opportunity at 154 pounds. I gave up my one number ranking when I moved up to fight (Gennady) Golovkin.”
Opening Statements, Jermell Charlo: “I am going to jump right into this. It’s a good fight between us and it’s been matched well. This is my time and it’s my season. In order for me to be the fighter that I need to be, then I need to step out. I appreciate Gabe for coming down from 160 and I’m eager to get this ball rolling.”
Rosado on 2013: “Boxing is a sport that is also entertainment. It’s about doing just that. The fans love to see knockdowns and blood. They respond to controversy and they voice their opinions. Golden Boy and Showtime acknowledge that. I think people want to see you put it all out there. It’s exciting, even though I didn’t have an official win in 2013. I feel like this is a fresh start for me. I know what I have to do and that’s to knock him out.”
On his decision to fight Gennady Golovkin at 160 Pounds: “It’s funny how things play out. I don’t regret any of my decisions. I wasn’t a natural middleweight when I moved up to fight Golovkin. I am a big guy, but I can still make junior middleweight. I didn’t get a win last year, but I won the support of the fans. I plan on being a world champion this year.”
On his tendency to cut easily: “Cuts are part of the game of boxing. Guys like (Miguel) Cotto, (Manny) Pacquiao and (Juan Manuel) Marquez have all experienced it. My stoppage was premature in the (Peter) Quillin fight, but I am not focusing on that. I got my eye checked with a surgeon and he said it was okay.”
Jermell Charlo on getting a title shot: “Defeating Rosado would be like the end of the ladder. This is my time and timing is everything. I’m going to make it happen. We can handle adversity. We just haven’t been able to show it yet. I will get in the ring and do what I do best and that’s get the win.”
Rosado on moving back to 154 pounds: “I thought that I was winning the fight with “Kid Chocolate”. I didn’t get that call and I was waiting for another opportunity to come my way. There’s a lot of talent in this division. The USBA didn’t approve of me because I didn’t win my last fight. I don’t understand it.”
Charlo’s View of Gabriel Rosado: “I can only tell you after the fight. His background says that he has both put up and shut up.”
Gabriel on training in Puerto Rico: “I have camps in various places. Training in Puerto Rico helped because we got hit with a major snowstorm in Philadelphia. I’ve already dropped six pounds since I came here. It’s playing out great.”
On Fighting Charlo: “This is not a fight where I can’t go in for the kill. I am not happy with the outcome on my last two fights, so I am going to take it out on Charlo on January 25. I’ll look to fight either (Erislandy) Lara or Canelo (Alvarez) after I beat him.”
Jermell on Rosado’s Claim: “I’ll just have to knock him out. I’m not going to do the talking. I’ll just be doing the training.”
Closing Statements, Gabe Rosado: “You can’t say that you can face adversity if you haven’t been there. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I’ll test him and we’ll see what he’s made of. He’s not sure of it but he will find out what adversity really is.”
Closing Statements, Jermell Charlo: “We’re coming to win. My skills are way better than his. I’ll beat him at whatever he tries to do and take his game plan away from him. He doesn’t know what other fighters have been through. I had surgery on my eye last March, but I don’t complain about it.”
January 9, 2014