IBF light welterweight champion Lamont "Havoc" Peterson (32-2-1, 16 KO) is always good for a thrilling and action-packed bout. Fight fans can only hope his title defense against Edgar Santana (29-4, 20 KO) on Saturday helps to energize a Showtime card that looks less than thrilling on paper.
Both Peterson and Santana are all-action fighters, and the latter boasts an impressive string of five KO wins in his last six fights. The Peterson-Santana clash is sandwiched between two potentially less attractive fights.
The main event is a bit of a mismatch, as WBA super light welterweight champion Danny "Swift" Garcia will take on "Lightning" Rod Salka in a non-title affair.
Garcia is listed as a minus-5000 favorite over Salka per Odds Shark, so that one may not offer fans a ton of excitement.
Cancer survivor Daniel Jacobs will attempt to win his first world title by taking on Jarrod Fletcher as well. Interested in watching? Here's how you can catch the action.
When: Saturday, Aug. 10 at 9 p.m. ET
Where: Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York
Live Stream: Box Nation (subscription required and region restricted)
Peterson rebounded from being demolished by Lucas Matthysse in May 2013 with a solid unanimous-decision victory over the talented Dierry Jean in January.
Peterson's title was not on the line when he faced Matthysse, so he held onto the crown officially. Still, it's hard to look at a fighter as a champion after he's been thoroughly dominated like Peterson was in that bout.
One way Peterson can change his perception is to set up and win a unification bout with Garcia. It appears that is what's on Peterson's mind.
Per ESPN.com's Dan Rafael, Peterson said this about appearing on the card with the lineal 140-pound king: "I'm really excited about this fight and about making a statement to the boxing world that I'm the true junior welterweight world champion. I know Danny will be watching me, and I'll be watching him. After August 9, there will be only one fight to make at 140 pounds."
That goal seems logical, but there's one problem: Garcia looks to be positioning himself for a move to welterweight. His fight with Salka isn't a title bout because it's being held at a 142-pound catchweight.
Garcia wants to face Floyd Mayweather Jr. before he retires, and that bout will almost certainly be a 147-pound affair.
Is it possible Peterson is chasing a fight he won't get unless he moves up in weight? It seems like it.
Even then, it's hard to imagine Peterson being high on Garcia's list. Swift is looking for major paydays, and he won't be able to get that against Peterson.
Nonetheless, the route to creating the opportunity—no matter how impractical—runs through Santana.
Better Than You Think
Many people don't know who Santana is. If the 35-year-old Puerto Rican from New York has his way on Saturday, he'll gain some notoriety with a win.
Santana was once a highly touted prospect, but an arrest and subsequent jail sentence caused a serious detour in his career path. Santana was busted and pleaded guilty to third-degree sale of a controlled substance in 2008, per Ryan Songalia of RingTV.
He did four months in jail, but the fallout from the situation left him inactive for more than three years.
Prior to getting locked up, Santana had just defeated former world champion Josesito Lopez. Santana told Songalia: "That definitely changed my perspective on life. That was a turning point for me. It was something that was in the past. We all commit mistakes; we all do things that I guess that set you back quite a bit, and it did set me back. I paid my dues, and I got right back to work."
Santana is a skilled boxer with above-average power in his right hand. When you watch him now, it's easy to see the skill that once had folks excited about his future. Yet, at 35 years old and without having faced top-notch competition in the last six years, there's room for doubt.
Some still believe he has what it takes to make some noise—especially against Peterson. Oubobcat, a commenter on The Boxing Channel website, said, "Santana definitely has a great opportunity. As I have said before, of all the opponents on this card he has by far the best opportunity to at least make things interesting."
While Peterson tries to put himself in position to unify the titles, it would be one heck of a story if Santana spoiled the party. An all-Puerto Rican unification bout between him and Garcia would probably be an even bigger draw in Brooklyn than one featuring Peterson and the WBA champ.
I'm just saying.
Peterson only knows one way to fight. He barrels forward, throwing wide hooks and power shots. His stamina is excellent, and he has a good chin despite what we saw happen against Matthysse.
Santana's challenge is going to be creating space to work. He is the more skilled boxer and the harder puncher, but Peterson's pressure and endurance can cause problems for opponents.
Something in me wants to pick Santana to win, but something stronger says Peterson will wear him down. Look for Santana to win some early rounds but to slow down near the fifth or sixth frame.
Peterson will commit to attacking the body, and that approach will be the proverbial money in the bank. Havoc will retain his title and win a tough unanimous decision in a close and competitive fight.
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