On Saturday, Lamont Peterson (34-3-1 17 KO) boasted before his fight that he had sparred 500 rounds in preparation for his opponent, Felix Diaz (17-1 8 KO), but at times during the bout it looked to have been a mistake.
Peterson did get the win via majority decision in a 144 pound catchweight fight with scores of 114-114, 117-111, and 116-112 but the latter two not indicative of his performance. The fight was very close and went back and forth not only throughout but also with little swings within several of the rounds making it difficult to score.
The fight started innocently enough with both men tactical and landing jabs but as the round progressed it became evident that Diaz was here to win and this was not going to be easy for “King Pete”.
Diaz countered and worked the body while shooting from his compact stance and landing solid combinations. Peterson countered by landing straight rights and left hooks and also committed to the body.
As we moved in the next few rounds, Peterson negated his own physical advantages by fighting small and not utilizing his length. He did this throughout most of the fight and moved into Diaz’s power zone. When Peterson attacked, Diaz would answer just enough to make Peterson defensive and have to reset his offense.
Both men worked the body throughout the fight with Diaz using it as a counter tactic at times and Peterson, when he did use his length, knowing it would allow him to be out of harm’s way.
Diaz was a 2008 Olympic gold medalist for a reason; this kid can flat out box. Diaz exhibited excellent lateral movement and the ring generalship of a seasoned pugilist through the course of the fight. Diaz would throw slick combinations and use excellent footwork to escape, pivoting away from Peterson’s counters.
When Peterson did use his jab, he would set up his combinations and back Diaz up. The fight was fought in close quarters where both men did good work, not surprising for Peterson, but surprising that Diaz was able to outwork the former champion at times. Through the first four rounds, you could argue that Peterson held a 3-1 advantage but an even fight would not have been out of the question.
Surprisingly, it appeared that Peterson took the fifth round off. All of the pre-fight sparring work may have taken its toll. In this round, Diaz was the clear aggressor landing to the body and while not fully sitting down on his punches, landing hard enough to keep Peterson guessing.
In the sixth Peterson was more active, stalking his shorter opponent jabbing his way in and setting with tight combinations. Diaz was able to make the round close with good body work and left hooks as both men landed to the bell.
Over the next two rounds, Diaz was the aggressor landing combinations while Peterson started to show frustration landing individual punches or a few combinations very economically.
In the ninth, Diaz looked to be wearing Peterson down. A relentless Diaz used the ring exceptionally well, while landing body shots, left hooks, and a big uppercut. Peterson got Diaz to the ropes and had brief success before Diaz showed he could fight off the ropes when needed.
The tenth had the ebb and flows of an ocean under duress. Fought in a phone booth, advantage Peterson early and late landing jabs and power shots to the body, advantage Diaz in the middle landing high and low, in and out.
In the championship rounds, Diaz appeared to want it more. The aggressor of the two, a relentless Diaz backed Peterson up attacking to the body, landing left hooks and timely rights while looking like the guy who sparred 500 rounds. While Peterson did very little in the eleventh he had a few moments in the twelfth.
After the fight, Peterson was asked if he had another Danny Garcia moment of a majority decision loss after hearing the first score card of 114-114.
“Kind of, anytime you hear close scores, you kind of get nervous, I thought I controlled the fight, I thought I was ahead, I thought I won the fight, having that majority decision kind of shocked me a little bit” said Peterson
On Diaz’s performance-
“He (Diaz) didn’t really surprise me because I knew he would be difficult, like I said in the fighter’s meeting, I’d rather fight taller fighters and he’s a southpaw and you know he has great experience. He showed up, I knew he was going to come tough, with this big opportunity and he wanted to win”
Diaz gave a good account of himself, so much so that with his southpaw style and strong boxing skill set he may have trouble finding an opponent. He was a hard luck loser on a majority decision, he did enough to win the fight and at the very least, a draw.
With the win, Peterson can continue his quest for another title shot; however, had he been in the ring with a more seasoned contender, he may not have left with a victory.
Before getting into the specifics of the co-feature which saw Terrel “Tyger” Williams (15-0 13 KO) defeat rising prospect Prichard “Digget” Colon (16-1 13 KO) by ninth round disqualification, it would be thoughtless to not send prayers and well wishes to Colon and his family. It was reported after the fight that Colon had been taken to an area hospital after fainting and experiencing prolonged dizziness and vomiting. Additional reports have surfaced reporting that Colon may have experienced a brain bleed.
The ten round welterweight bout was expected to produce fireworks and most likely no need for score cards as both men entered with an 80% knockout rate. Williams eight years Colon’s senior imposed his will throughout the fight.
In the first round, Williams landed a left hook on Colon that seemed to stop him in his tracks and provide a level of doubt about his strategy. In this round, Williams landed a rabbit punch that Colon was quick to tell referee Joe Cooper about. At first glance it didn’t appear to be intentional but it would continue throughout.
In the second, Colon went to the body and landed a solid uppercut while Williams looked to land his left hook. Both fighters did good work; Colon was tighter in his guard and more accurate while Williams pressed the action.
In the third, Colon established his jab looking to throw his right behind it. Williams again hit Colon on the back of his head. This actually would occur several times in the fight as Colon would turn away from Williams when coming in, exposing the back of his head while Williams was already sending a punch his way; however, Williams never attempted to pull any of the felonious swings. Colon went down in this round, which was correctly ruled a slip/push.
The fourth round saw accurate combination punching from Colon, fighting well off of his back foot as Williams walked him down. Williams landed a big right in this round which looked to really affect Colon.
To start the fifth, Williams attacked Colon landing a series of huge rights. As they begin to throw flurries in close, Colon lands a big punch south of the border which drops Williams immediately writhing in pain. Williams gets up and drops down still not recovered. Colon is deducted two points for an intentional low blow. It is suggested by the broadcast team that the punch probably was intentional as Colon was hurt badly by the right hands that began the round. To finish out the round, Williams’s lands a series of nice combinations as Colon looked to work the body.
The fight gets a bit rough in the sixth as both men are warned for their tactics. Williams controls the round with body work and backs up Colon making him uncomfortable and not giving him a chance to get into a rhythm.
Williams continues his onslaught in the seventh. Williams is very physical and is wearing Colon down. Williams lands an uppercut hurting Colon. As Colon is trying to clinch, Williams again hits him with a rabbit punch. This time Colon hits the canvas. Colon gets up a bit wobbly and is checked by the ringside physician. The replay showed the punch hit Colon very hard at the base of the skull. Colon told the physician he was dizzy. Williams is deducted a point and the fight continues to the bell.
Colon is much better to start the eighth, snapping his punches in combinations. Williams continues to make the fight very physical, raking Colon over the face with his glove. Colon lands an uppercut; colon outboxes Williams getting back to what made him successful early.
In the ninth, Williams lands a big left and right to the head hurting Colon. Williams attacks with a flurry as Colon goes down. As Colon gets to his feet, Williams attacks and lands a big uppercut. As Colon is falling away towards the canvas, Williams lands a punch to the back of Colon’s head as Colon hits the mat. Colon up again and makes it to the bell.
After the ninth, Colon’s corner begins taking their fighter’s gloves off. Referee Joe Cooper, confused asks what they are doing and if they are stopping the fight. Colon’s corner states that they thought the fight was over. After some mass confusion and due to their actions, Colon is disqualified.
It is assumed that they took the gloves in a delay tactic as their fighter was badly hurt after the ninth.
After the fight, Williams was asked what fans have learned about him after his performance-
“I’m here, I’ve been fighting years, smaller cards been my résumé, now I’m with the right team, Al Haymon and I’m going straight to the top” said Williams
On what he thought was going on prior to the stoppage between rounds-
“I thought he quit, technical knockout, I thought he quit, I don’t know what happened but it’s all good, I got the victory”
Williams was extremly physical, rough, and slightly dirty in this fight. Outside of the rabbit punches he added an occasional elbow and would add a few sneaky fouls inside on the clinch.
Cooper should have taken better control from the opening round.
The only silver lining is the glove fiasco. Colon was DQ because his corner took the gloves off after the ninth thinking the fight was over. That action probably saved his life, had he gone out for the tenth, he may have been killed.
On Saturday morning, Colon was the highly touted undefeated prospect who had his whole career in front of him. By Saturday night, it was no longer about the game and only about battling in life. Our thought and prayers are with you Mr. Colon; you were a warrior in defeat and a champion.