This Saturday, boxing fans around the world are in for a special night of action as the 140-pound division brings you two of its elite in Lamont Peterson and Argentina's Lucas Matthysse. This fight has Fight of the Year potential, so you don't want to miss it. Check out what you need to know heading into the fight as Greg Rowe and Michael Samuels break down the advantages of both fighters.
DEFENSE: Neither Peterson nor Matthysse is known for their defense, so don't expect this to be a boring fight. Peterson is more of a boxer/puncher than Matthysse is and he will look to move around and use his legs, circling to his left to try and avoid the left hand hammer of Matthysse. Peterson can show flashes of defensive brilliance at times, but not on a consistent enough basis. Matthysse has better defense than people give him credit for and has that one punch power that, soon after a foe tastes it, he can limit their output, which in a way is defense in its own right.
EXPERIENCE: Neither fighter has a Hall of Fame resume yet, but both have faced good competition, and any time you have two top guys in the division willing to fight each other, it's never a bad thing. Each will gain a large chunk of momentum in this fight just having been in the ring with each other. At the present time, I'd give an advantage to Peterson because he has a few bigger names on his resume. This is in no way a knock on Matthysse's resume, which is solid; it's just not as solid as Peterson's at the moment, but when you can punch the way Matthysse can, it's hard to get top guys to sign on to face you.
CHIN: The chin category for this matchup is really not a close one, with Peterson being hurt and down a few times while Matthysse seems to eat punches like PacMan and gets stronger. Peterson has been in with some decent punchers, and that is always a plus heading into a fight with a one-hitter-quitter like Matthysse, but none of them were Matthysse. Does Peterson pack enough of a punch to hurt Matthysse? I believe so. Peterson has shown the heart of a champion in the past, and he's shown the ability and want to stand and trade at times as a show of masculinity, but that, however, is the wrong thing to do in this fight if he wants to come out with his hand raised. Plain and simple, Matthysse takes a better shot.
POWER: Both fighters can punch and that shows by their recent knockouts, but nobody in the division punches harder than Lucas Matthysse. Peterson has got to fight smart and be selective with his power shots because if he gets caught in an exchange with Matthysse's power, he's going to sleep.
SPEED: Matthysse has shown an increase in both hand and foot speed in his recent fights, but he will be a tad bit slower than Peterson. It might not end up being as big of a difference as some fight fans might think though as Matthysse has been working hard to become a well-rounded fighter. Very few fighters can match or compete in the hand speed category with Amir Khan, but Peterson was able to do so. Matthysse in his last fight against Mike Dallas Jr. showed the kind of improvement you'd like to see if you are his handlers.
FINAL VERDICT: This is a very fascinating matchup. Almost everyone you talk to will have an opinion and most will likely be different. I see Peterson as a top level fighter, as is Matthysse. This fight will come down to who is able to execute their game plan. As I previously mentioned, Peterson will need to box and use his hand speed while selecting when to exchange power shots and combinations with Matthysse. If he is able to do so, this fight will get very interesting. Matthysse needs to walk Peterson down, go to the body early, and look to catch Peterson in an exchange or counter Peterson's right hand with his powerful left hand. Expect Matthysse to walk Peterson down, and when he gets him on the ropes, look to do damage. I think Matthysse will be able to hold his own in the center of the ring. Peterson has shown a tremendous amount of heart to come back from being hurt and down and out to pull out a victory, as he did against Amir Khan. Problem is Matthysse is no Khan, who himself fades late. Peterson has had stamina issues in the past and Matthysse is wired like a machine that won't stop coming. He will not get discouraged easily. Look for Matthysse to wear Peterson down and when he fades, put him away and most likely in brutal fashion.
MATTHYSSE BY 10TH ROUND KO
DEFENSE: Matthysee moves a little, but he's not in there to razzle and dazzle you with cat-like quickness, shoulder rolls, and fancy defense. He's in there to inflict punishment and he's very good at it. No fighter is going to hit him without paying the price or putting themselves at risk of potentially paying the piper. He has a tight guard, moves his head from side to side enough to get inside, and then lets the chaos rain. Peterson is a very accurate puncher. The only way he doesn't hit Matthysse at will is if he can't handle the heat once he steps inside the kitchen. Peterson is a slick fighter, but he has a big tendency to let his defense slack when trying to prove that his pride is more important. This could prove to be a brutal mistake against a puncher like Matthysse, which adds to the intrigue of the fight.
EXPERIENCE: Peterson has been in the ring with a pretty solid set of opponents. Anytime you've fought Zab Judah, Victor Cayo, Timothy Bradley, Amir Khan, and Victor Ortiz all before eclipsing the 10-year mark as a professional, that speaks volumes. His only loss, to Timothy Bradley, was a good scrap that left him feeling unsatisfied. Matthysse's resume isn't garbage. He's been gaining steam and built a solid reputation in recent years as one of the most feared guys around or above his weight class. His two defeats to Zab Judah and Devon Alexander are questionable at best. I'm not sure ANYONE believes he lost either fight. Both guys are groomed with solid competition, but Peterson has a deciding edge.
CHIN: Clear cut edge for Matthysse. The guy is a tank and he's not afraid to push the tempo of a fight to his liking, regardless of any possible return heat from his opponent. He knows exactly what has to be done to win a fight and he's not afraid to do it. Peterson can punch, but he's by no means a devastating puncher. I have no doubt he could become one against Matthysee if he puts his mind to it and lets his ego get in the way of his boxing intelligence, but to do that, he will have to pay a heavy price. I'm not sure he can stand up to it. Matthysee is a tough SOB to crack and anyone who doubts his chin before this fight will not have those same doubts afterwards.
POWER: Peterson will stand and trade with anyone. He has that much pride when he fights. But standing and trading with Matthysse is like asking to get hit in the head over and over with a club. Matthysee is a monster puncher in volume. I can't put too much stock into his devastation of Mike Dallas because, well let's be honest, who the hell was Mike Dallas? There is no doubt that he hits harder than Peterson and it could become overly noticeable if Peterson elects to bang right from the start.
SPEED: Matthysee has crushing power and a granite-like chin, but nobody is going to mistake him as a fast fighter with regards to his foot movement or his hand speed. His punches are very predictable, almost to the point of a telegraphic nature, but he's able to get away with this because of his chin and power. Peterson is quick and he's not afraid to put his punches together. You aren't going to see him move around and pot-shot Matthysee. He's looking to unload at lightning speed. Matthysse has been in the ring with fast fighters before (Devon Alexander and Zab Judah to name a few), so it's not going to be foreign territory for him, but every fighter is different and Peterson is definitely fighting at a higher class than those previously mentioned.
FINAL VERDICT: A lot has been made of Peterson's PED distractions after his close and controversial win over Amir Khan and then on to the "false positive" results reported in error by RingTV.com scribe Lem Satterfield after his thrilling vicory over Kendall Holt. Peterson is looking to get past the skeletons in his closet and there's no better way to do it than against Lucas Matthysse, who is on the rise and a force to be reckoned with. Peterson should be able to find Matthysse after surviving a rough 3-4 rounds that will have Peterson tasting the canvas at least once. However, Peterson will regain his composure and mix in an attack that blends both brawling and boxing in perfect pugilistic poetry.
PETERSON BY UNANIMOUS DECISION