(Quick note: Please don’t let this post distract you from the one just below it where I grade all of boxing’s divisions; I posted it late in the day, so maybe you didn’t see it yet. Give it a look please, if you haven’t.)
In his two most important fights, Lamont Peterson performed admirably against top junior welterweight talents Timothy Bradley and Victor Ortiz, but came up short with a loss and draw, respectively. Friday night on ESPN2, Peterson this time turned a strong showing into a win against Victor Cayo. Cayo is at least one full notch down in talent from Bradley and Ortiz, but it was good to see one of the Peterson brothers of my town of Washington, D.C. get a big victory, especially after Lamont’s frustrations and Anthony’s peculiar disqualification against Brandon Rios.
The 1st round was fairly even, but Peterson closed strong, scoring what at first looked like a knockdown but that the referee ruled was not after Cayo complained of cuffing punches. Peterson gunned for the knockout in the next couple rounds, thinking he had Cayo hurt, but Cayo outworked and frustrated Peterson’s KO bid. In the 4th, though, Peterson turned things around by boxing and letting Cayo lead. That worked for a few rounds before Cayo switched it up and went on the inside, but whatever luck Cayo had with that approach was short-lived because Peterson used his strength and better infighting skills to work Cayo’s body and head with sharp punches. By the 12th, Cayo had accumulated a lot of punishment, and while he tried to plead with the referee about illegal shots following a knockdown, he clearly was disoriented and didn’t rise by the count of 10. It was a good, competitive scrap, despite Peterson winning most every round.
Peterson fought very smartly and was impressive throughout, even if he wasn’t perfect. He’s now in line for a fight with Amir Khan, a fight he turned down because he didn’t like the contract terms but now stands a chance of negotiating on more even footing as a mandatory challenger to Khan’s belt. Khan might do something else in December — he could drop his belt and fight for the title that will be decided by the winner between September’s Erik Morales-Jorge Barrios — and Khan would be a heavy favorite over Peterson. But Peterson is now in line for bigger fights coming off this win, no matter who he faces.
On the undercard, light heavyweight Yordanis Despaigne got a disqualification win over Edison Miranda, but referee Vic Drakulich probably pulled the plug a little early; he didn’t see a low blow last weekend in Khan’s knockout win over Zab Judah, and this weekend he overreacted to them. Granted, Miranda did stray low a few times and get warned for it, but the immediate point deduction Drakulich issued at the close of the 2nd round was premature, and after another point deduction, the DQ call came in the 5th when Miranda landed a low blow that was a direct result of Despaigne pushing his head down. That, and some of the fight antics — Miranda putting his hands down to intentionally take a series of unanswered blows, the weigh-in staredown that saw Miranda cover up Despaigne’s face and Despaigne flip him off — overshadowed that Despaigne handled himself pretty well in there. He was quicker than Miranda and landed fluid combinations. He rebounded from his first loss, against Ismayl Sillakh, while Miranda was becoming more competitive as the rounds went on but didn’t really seem to have much of anything left from the days when he was a fearsome puncher and middleweight contender.