By Ryan Waugh: Lamont Peterson arrived in London this week to promote his rematch as the proud WBA and IBF light welterweight Champion.
With the rematch with Amir Khan billed as ‘No doubt’, the American can now look forward to defending his belts against the British challenger on the 19th May at the Mandalay Bay resort in Las Vegas,Nevada.
The life narrative of Peterson is a fairy-tale and it is hard to believe a man who has been through what he has in his young life, can now be a light-welterweight world champion-it really does beggar belief.
At the age of 10, Peterson was homeless after seeing his father sent to prison for a drugs offence. His mother was unable to look after him and his younger brother Anthony, who were both left to fend for themselves.
The siblings managed to survive on the streets of Washington DC with many evenings spent sleeping in cars, the basements of rat infested buildings and under train and highway bridges.
Food was hard to find and many a night, both he and Anthony would manage to live off scraps from trash cans or left over’s from restaurants.
Severe risks were always prevalent and Lamont would have to protect his younger brother from the other city kids who would challenge them to a ruck on regular occasions-life was extremely rough and dangerous.
However, fate was to take a twist as they bumped into his current coach and mentor, Barry Hunter, while leaving one of the shelters in Washington.
Hunter duly took them in and provided them with the love that was so dearly missing from their lives and provided them with life skills which have made them who they are today.
“To endure what he had to endure, it is painful and he hasn’t had a normal life compared to most people who have been brought up with a mother and father who are always there to protect you and comfort you,” said Hunter.
“At a young age, they had to learn to survive on their own. Definitely this has a lot to do with his grit, a lot to do with his toughness, he is that type of person that very rarely shows emotion.
“However, Lamont is that sort of fighter that he even said that he will give his life in the ring, it is not a game with him. I honestly believe and hope to god, that it would never come to that.
“The magical things that I and Lamont share are his willingness to listen to me and my abilities to adjust any game plan for any opponent-when we put the two together, its magic.
“When we are just the opposite- when my message does not get across to him, this is a problem.
“When the general delivers his message to the troop, if the troop does not understand the message this can cause all sorts of problems, once the troop understands what the general is saying-the troop will be successful.”
Peterson, 28, will go into his 33rd professional fight with a record of 30-1-1 (15KOs) as the clear underdog once more when he pits his wits with ‘King Khan’ for a second time in five months.
However, Peterson is the people’s champion and Khan will have to be at his 100% best if has any chance of dethroning the titleholder.
He may be a champion in the ring-but outside the ring he is the real champion-and as the old adage goes-true champions lie within the heart.
Sometimes in life, it is not how much you achieve, but it’s what you have been through to get to where you are now-knowing this makes you wise and in Peterson’s case, this is strikingly obvious.