Saturday night's IBF light welterweight title bout between champion Lamont "Havoc" Peterson (31-2-1, 16 KO) and Dierry "Dougy Style" Jean (25-0, 17 KO) will lead to redemption, or a new level of notoriety.
In Peterson's last bout—a non-title affair—with Lucas Matthysse, he was pummeled and stopped in the third round. It was just the second loss in Peterson's career and clearly the most lopsided. He'll be looking to rebound against Jean.
Peterson will be back in a familiar venue as the fight takes place in the DC Armory in Washington, D.C. He is from the area, and the two biggest wins of his career have taken place there.
In 2011, Peterson won the IBF and WBA light welterweight titles in a controversial split decision over Amir Khan. He was subsequently stripped of the WBA title but allowed to keep the IBF crown after testing positive for a banned substance.
After missing all of 2012, he returned to the ring and the D.C. area with an eighth-round TKO win over Kendall Holt.
The challenger hails from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, by way of Haiti. He earned the right to challenge Peterson with a spectacular fourth-round stoppage of Cleotis Pendarvis in May 2013. He's looking to remain undefeated and grab the IBF crown in the process.
On the undercard, Jermell “Iron Man” Charlo (22-0, 11 KO) of Houston will fight Gabriel “King” Rosado (21-7, 13 KO). It should be an entertaining night of fights in the nation's capital.
Here's how you can watch.
When: Saturday, Jan. 25
Where: DC Armory in Washington, D.C.
The Book on Peterson
Adversity is nothing new to Peterson. He endured a rough upbringing that saw him and his brother homeless for a time. He lost his first shot at a world title in 2009 when he was thoroughly outboxed by then-WBO champion Timothy Bradley.
After defeating Khan, he was stripped of the titles in the whole banned-substance fiasco. Now he must try to come back from a sound beating at the hands of Matthysse.
Per the Showtime press release, Peterson describes his status heading into the fight with Jean.
I feel great. I feel like I had a good training camp and I am just ready to go Saturday night.
This weather is typical winter. Sometimes it's going to snow. Sometimes it's going to be cold, but we get through it. We show up still so I don't expect it to affect the crowd or take anything away from the fight.
His weather references are in acknowledgement of the snow storm on the East Coast, but it also sounds like a narrative for his personal hardships.
After a vicious KO loss, you always wonder if a fighter will be the same. From the looks of the image above, there is no doubt Peterson is in marvelous physical shape. Where he is mentally won't be known for sure until he hits the ring on Saturday night.
The Book on Jean
Suddenly, Canada has become a hotbed for fighters. Light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson, contenders Jean Pascal, Lucian Bute and now Jean have all adopted Canada as their second homes. Each of them has made a name for himself.
Jean is the latest to get an opportunity at a world title. The challenger will have a small contingent with him from Canada, but he made it clear during the Showtime press event that this is a business trip. Jean said:
We have over 100 people that have bought ringside tickets. We have made sure that all arrangements have been made for everyone.
We are doing everything the way we should be as if we are home. We are not here as tourists. We are here to get the job done, to take that belt and go back home with it.
Jean has not only never lost a fight, but he's also never been significantly pushed. Even his wins that have come by decision have been by wide margins of victory. Havoc represents the stiffest competition he will have faced in his career.
Bleacher Report's Briggs Seekins discusses potentially unexposed holes in Jean's game:
If defense has appeared a secondary concern for him, it still hasn't caused him any significant trouble.
If he has been lazy with his jab or tends to lunge while trying to connect with his right hand, it hasn't cost him. If he's gone flat on his back foot with too much weight on it, he's had no problem getting away with it.
Can Jean continue to cover his bases and pull the upset?
Peterson is a battler, but he doesn't possess big power. When he wins, he either outworks opponents or wears them down with relentless pursuit and in-fighting.
Fighters who don't know how to keep Peterson off their chest or don't have the power to sting him have issues. The question in this fight is whether Jean can do either.
Yes, he can.
With all due respect to Peterson's chin, he was knocked out by Matthysse and even dropped by Bradley—who is not known for his power. Jean has real power in his right hand, as evidenced by his thunderous KO of Pendarvis.
He also goes to the body well. He stopped Ryan Barrett with a hard body shot.
Most impressive about Jean is the way that he demonstrates the ability to fight the style that suits the competition. Against Pendarvis, he used a pawing left jab to set up the power right hands. In most of the other fights I saw, he darted in and out to use his speed advantage.
Peterson's biggest quality is his heart and determination. On Saturday, skill and athletic ability will trump those traits, and Jean will win a unanimous decision and the IBF title.
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