WASHINGTON, D.C. — Lamont Peterson looked like he was asleep through three rounds of his comeback fight with Kendall Holt on ESPN2's Friday Night Fights. But he woke up in the 4th round, and after a blistering attack, it was Holt who was left drowsy — referee Tony Weeks halted the bout in the 8th to prevent a longer slumber for him.
Maybe it was rust for Peterson, maybe it was nerves fighting on his home turf, maybe it was respecting the power of his talented junior welterweight foe, but after a semi-even 1st round, you couldn't be blamed for wondering if the Peterson wandering the ring in the 2nd and 3rd really DID suffer from low testosterone, his explanation for testing postive for having synethetic pellets of the stuff in his system and triggering a long layoff.
But whatever happened in the 4th, it produced nasty results. Holt and Peterson slugged it out, with Peterson getting the better of it by far. He dropped Holt with a swarming two-handed assault, and if it hadn't happened at the end of the round, he might've finished off Holt right then and there. But Holt somehow lasted most of another three rounds, even after suffering another swarming two-handed knockdown in the 6th. The final blows were sickening — in the 8th, Peterson trapped Holt along the ropes and unloaded flush power shots until Weeks stepped in, which he totally should've.
Peterson now wants Danny Garcia, and it's a nice match-up, in a vacuum. Before Peterson's long departure, he was one of the top few 140-pounders in the world. Garcia-Lucas Matthysse is an even better match-up, though. All three of these men are promoted by Golden Boy. I'd prefer to see Garcia fight Matthysse after his rescheduled bout with Zab Judah, but I'm guessing the kind of enthusiastic paying audience Peterson drew Friday in his home town makes Peterson a better risk-reward proposition for Golden Boy and Garcia than throwing him in with Matthysse. Alternately, maybe Peterson and Matthysse could get in there together, with the winner facing Garcia.
We'll see soon enough what comes next. But for as complicated as the Peterson story is — by all accounts, he didn't come off well in an ESPN interview explaining away his failed drug test, the latest chapter in that story — at least the part that took place in the ring was riveting material.