ATLANTIC CITY — Three thoughts from Lucas Matthysse’s knockout win over Lamont Peterson …
1. Matthysse is scary good. Yes, Matthysse has two losses on his résumé, narrow defeats to Devon Alexander and Zab Judah. Yes, they were his two biggest fights. But in blowing away Peterson on Saturday, Matthysse firmly established himself as the most dangerous fighter in the junior welterweight division. Because this was never close. Peterson was clearly wary of Matthysse’s power early, fighting backing up, trying to keep Matthysse at bay with his jab. But Matthysse is relentless. He stalked Peterson in the second round, dropping him with a crushing right hand. In the third, Matthysse dropped Peterson again. Referee Steve Smoger allowed a wobbly Peterson to continue — “He’s a champion,” Smoger told me afterwards. “I wanted to give him one more shot.” — but Matthysse stormed in to close the show, dropping Peterson again, forcing Smoger to wave it off. Make no mistake, Lamont Peterson is a very good fighter and a legitimate titleholder. But Matthysse simply destroyed him.
2. Can anyone stand up to that power? Watching Matthysse walk through Peterson made me wonder: How did Alexander and Judah stand up to this? After the fight, Bernard Hopkins walked over to press row and said that if he were fighting Matthysse, the crowd would be booing for the first six rounds. “Because I’d be running,” Hopkins said. “I’d be trying to tire him out.”
And maybe that’s the only way to beat Matthysse. He can get a little wild — Matthysse actually went down after swinging and missing on a wild left hook — which could make him prone to fatigue in the later rounds. But nobody in this division can stand and trade with him. Nobody.
3. Bring on Danny Garcia. Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer made it clear before the fight: The winner gets a shot at WBC titleholder Danny Garcia. Matthysse has been chasing Garcia for more than a year and unless Al Haymon — the shadowy advisor who represents both Garcia and Matthysse — stands in the way of it, Golden Boy and Showtime will make it in the fall. Schaefer floated the possibility of a Garcia/Matthysse headlined card in Washington D.C., with Peterson, whose IBF junior welterweight title was not at stake against Matthysse because of a technicality, defending his belt on the undercard against Judah.
Will Garcia fare any better? Garcia is coming off a win over Judah, who he outboxed in a decision last month. And he has more power than anyone Matthysse has fought before. But Hopkins said if it was up to him, he wouldn’t make the fight. He said that Garcia is “tailor made” for Matthysse, and if Garcia does want to stand toe-to-toe with Matthysse, he’s right.
– Chris Mannix