On Saturday night, Lamont Peterson will return to the ring in DC, to defend his 140 lb. IBF title, against undefeated prospect, Dierry Jean. This will be Peterson's first time back since being destroyed by Lucas Matthysse in their non-title fight, back in May of last year.
The fact that Peterson actually still has a belt to defend after being almost murdered by Matthysse, really points out just how irrelevant belts are in boxing today, but that's topic for another day. Regardless of the fact that this is a bogus title fight, it is still quite an interesting match up for several reasons. I think we are all interested to see how Peterson bounces back from such a devastating loss. However, I think what is even more interesting, is that we will find out just who Jean is exactly. The idea of a new man in the mix at Jr. welterweight is enough to get boxing fan excited
In Lamont Peterson you have a guy who is quite accomplished, he has been in with the best at 140 lb., and he has had plenty of success doing so, but he is coming off a massive loss. Sometimes when boxer has a loss like that, they never fully recover. Then you have Dierry Jean, a man we know very little about. Jean is undefeated, and he has been walking through his opposition, which is an achievement that would be far more impressive, If we knew these guys weren't just tomato cans. I am far from convinced Jean belongs at this level, but whenever you have a hungry, undefeated fighter, get a title shot, they are always dangerous. There was a time when I counted out Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter, yet both men ended up proving me wrong, although I must admit, they did have far better credentials compared to Jean.
I know people love to hate on Peterson because he tested positive for PED's, but I just cannot deny his skill. He is actually a very well rounded boxer, who can make adjustments on the trot, and he can really dig deep to get the job done. Against Matthysse, he made a stupid decision and paid the price, but outside of that one bad night, win or lose, Peterson has always made a good account of himself against top opposition. He was outgunned and outdone by Tim Bradley but he never gave up. He rallied home strong, and as much as he decisively lost, it was still a competitive fight. Bradley has since gone on to become a top pound-for-pound fighter, so in hindsight, we can see that there is no shame in losing to Bradley. He was also being out-boxed by Khan, and again he showed us that he could make the adjustments needed to get the win.
I really just haven't seen enough of Jean to have a clear judgment of him, but from what I have seen, I wasn't impressed. To me, he just looks like a club level fighter with a nice right hand. I just cannot see any way he will outbox or outwork Peterson to earn a decision. Peterson is the far taller man who can box well and counter from range. He can also apply pressure and bang if he needs to, and he is pretty handy when it comes to fighting on the inside. Peterson has tasted the canvas a few times, but he always gets back up and becomes more dangerous, with the exception to the Mathhysse knockout. If Jean had come into this bout with a few wins over fringe contenders like Mauricio Herrera or Nate Campbell, I might look at him a bit differently, but at this stage, I just can't see what Jean is going to bring, that Peterson hasn't dealt with before.
Jean does have a nice right hand, but he certainly doesn't have Matthysse type power. Peterson managed to overcome the power of Ortiz and Khan, so I can't see Jean's Power being a real factor. Peterson is a tough guy who is a fighter in every sense of the word; his parents abandoned him on the streets of DC, yet he still fought to become a world champion. I have seen the way he reacts to getting hurt in the ring, and I think the loss to Matthysse would have woke something up inside of him.
I think on Saturday night, it will be clearly evident that Jean has skipped a few steps to wind up in this fight. He is out of his depth in what will be just another day in the office for Lamont Peterson. I’m going with Peterson via wide UD.