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BARRY HUNTER: "AMIR IS A GOOD GUY...BUT...WE GOTTA SEE WHAT'S THE BEST OPTION FOR LAMONT"

By Percy Crawford | December 15, 2011
BARRY HUNTER:

"Amir is a good guy, first of all. Let me say that. He's hurt right now...he is speaking from emotion more than anything. I don't have a problem with the referee. Going into the fight, I didn't care who was the judges, the referee, or anything. As a matter of fact, when they gave me the list before the fight, I didn't know who the judges were or the referee because that wasn't my mission. My mission was going in and trying to knock him out. That was the deal. It just so happened it went the distance. So now, that warrior side of us says we definitely want to do the rematch. We definitely want to fight Tim again and Amir again, and we welcome that, but on the flip side of that, it is a business that we have to run. We have to be wise now, so instead of jumping right off and going off of emotion and saying we gonna get it back because they say the judges did this and we gonna go right back in and prove them wrong, no, we gotta be smarter than that. We gotta see what's the best option for Lamont and for his baby, so therefore, it will put them in a situation where they will never ever have to live on nobody's street and wading through nobody's trash can," stated world-class trainer Barry Hunter, who talked about Lamont Peterson's impressive victory against Amir Khan, as well as their future plans, which could include other options other than a rematch with Khan or Bradley. Check it out!

PC: Congratulations on a big night for your camp. How do you feel about the way the Peterson Brothers performed?

BH: In Anthony's case, I thought he did very well considering he had been off for 15 months. I didn't realize it was that long until one of the guys told me about it. Time went by so fast. I thought he did very, very well. He had very little rust on him, but that's going to come off in the next fight or two. In Lamont's case, I thought he did tremendous, man. To pull that fight out the way he did and to dig down deep the way he did was a beautiful thing.

PC: Not only was Anthony coming off of an extensive layoff, but he was also coming off of the first setback of his career. Given the circumstances of the time off and his first loss, how do you feel he handled this fight mentally?

BH: I thought he held up very well mentally. And like you said, it had been a long time since we tasted defeat like that. We had been very successful throughout the amateurs and pros. When you take a loss like that, it is a humbling experience man, so psychologically, it can wear a person down. In his case, I thought he handled it very well. They know me and they know my creed; if you ain't right, you don't fight.  He had to come right and that's why he fought that night.

PC: I know you don't like your fighters inactive like that, so being that he was off for so long, how soon would you like to see Anthony come back?

BH: We looking at probably between February and March.

PC: Moving on to Lamont, the thing I was most impressed by is the fact that he didn't fight like he was fighting in his backyard, but more like a fighter who was going to take a title. Was that the concept during camp and the mentality entering the fight?

BH: Yeah, we knew Lamont's biggest lesson learned was in the Bradley fight. The one time we really had a bad night was on the grand stage, and a lot of times, when you lose like that, it does something to you. you're going to do one of two things. You either going to stay there or you gonna rise. You go from that fight to the Ortiz fight and you see progress, and you go from the Victor Ortiz fight to the Cayo fight and he knocked him out in 12, and then you see the Amir Khan fight and you saw what he did. He learned his lesson and I thought he did very, very well, and in order to take the championship from the champion, you gotta take it and that's the mindset we had going into this fight.

PC: I thought there were a few ways you guys could approach this fight. One was to box on the outside and the other was to bite down and go right at Khan. You guys obviously picked the latter. Was that the game plan going in or something you guys adjusted to after a few rounds?

BH: It's funny that you say the things you said because you pretty much said the game plan. The game plan was simply this. Lamont can box, as you know, and he can definitely fight on the inside. He is a beautiful inside fighter and he is a dog fighter, so going into the fight, it's funny because one day we were in the gym and I got to the gym and I was thinking about it all night. I said, "Man, listen, we got an option. We can go in there and Amir is not used to people out-boxing him because that's what he does." I said, "We can keep our punch stats low and keep the punch connect percentage high. Therefore, instead of throwing a whole bunch of punches, we can go in there and the punches that we throw, make them count." I said, "Other than that, we can put him on his heels because he has problems. He does have an offensive deficiencies and that's the fact that he's not a very good inside fighter." I felt he would try to gain separation in order to get his straight punches off. He is a volume punch type of guy. His offense is his defense, he is very, very fast, and he throws so many punches that sometimes his opponents are reluctant to fire back in fear of being countered. So we knew that if we can put him on his heels and Lamont could back him up on his heels, then we would be inside of that range of inside fighting; he wouldn't have no chance. That's what happened. So once we got to that plan, which was plan B, and it started to pay dividends, we stuck to it. The only thing that I wanted Lamont to do more of is jab more and a little bit more upper body movement.

PC: You were pleading with him to throw that jab. Although you were pleased with the outcome and his performance, I could see why you wanted the jab because I don't think he would have had to go through so much to get his off.

BH: You know, sometimes you have to save Lamont from himself. He got so much heart. But the deal is, we've been smart throughout our whole career. We don't want to turn into that fighter that gives up 2 or 3 bombs to get off a thousand punches, so what I was telling him was, it's cool attacking Amir the way he did, but go in behind your ground fire. He could have made the fight much easier.

PC: I don't know if you have had time to watch the HBO telecast or not, but I've had people tell me that they thought that, through your body language and your instruction, you got more out of your fighter than Freddie Roach got out of his. You brought up Lamont's upbringing and things like that to motivate him.

BH: There is a difference. First of all, Freddie and myself are very good friends. In fact, he called me the other day and I have to return that phone call. We both were involved in helping the U.S. Olympic team getting them ready for the 2012 Games. The difference is my connection with Lamont and Freddie's connection with Amir is different. Amir and Freddie just really got together about a year and a half, 2 years, and at the most 3 years ago. Lamont is my child. I raised him, and everything that he knows about boxing, his strengths are my strengths and his weaknesses are my weaknesses, so therefore, we have a connection unlike most trainers have with their fighters. This is almost like a blood connection. I can look at him with my eyes for the most part and he knows exactly what it is I'm saying to him, so I know when it's time to coach, when it's time to be a friend or psychiatrist, and at that particular time, since most of our game is being mentally sound, I knew I had to get into his mind. I had to remind him of some of the things it took to get there and what we had to go through to get there, so we let it go.

PC: Max Kellerman said Lamont looked drained at the weigh-ins making 140 pounds. Is that Lamont's home or will he be moving to 147 pounds in the near future?

BH: Well, he don't really have a problem making weight, but here's the deal. You look at these guys size, they look real big. Then the least little thing they do, as far as dips or push-ups, they blow up. The fight before this particular fight, which was Victor Cayo, we didn't do any kind of weightlifting or anything. We stayed away from anything that would bulk him up and the weight just melted off of him. Muscle weight is harder and heavier to get rid of than fat. Muscle is harder to get rid of; it's more compact than fat and therefore it's harder to get rid of, so we had more muscle going into this fight than I wanted and therefore it took a little bit longer than normal to get off. Before the Timothy Bradley fight, we actually shed 15 pounds of muscle. Going into that fight, we didn't lose that weight until maybe a day or two before. I took the brunt of that because I don't care if they have a conditioning coach or whatever. I'm still over the overall operation. Because it got by me, and it was the first time I ever took my hands off and not watch the whole thing all the way through, I took the blame for that. It took a long time to take all that weight off, therefore, once you drain yourself like that, it messes with your mind. Psychologically, you can't comprehend like you should. Everything is not firing together.

PC: Amir Khan wants an immediate rematch, but there are fights out there, like a rematch with Timothy Bradley as well as Floyd Mayweather out there looking for an opponent for May 5th. What do you see as Lamont's next logical move?

BH: Going to Amir, Amir is a good guy, first of all. Let me say that. He's hurt right now, so he's going to say several things that maybe one day he will look back and say, "I should have thought about that before I said it." So I think right now, he is speaking from emotion more than anything. I don't have a problem with the referee. Going into the fight, I didn't care who was the judges, the referee, or anything. As a matter of fact, when they gave me the list before the fight, I didn't know who the judges were or the referee because that wasn't my mission. My mission was going in and trying to knock him out. That was the deal. It just so happened it went the distance. So now, that warrior side of us says we definitely want to do the rematch. We definitely want to fight Tim again and Amir again, and we welcome that, but on the flip side of that, it is a business that we have to run. We have to be wise now, so instead of jumping right off and going off of emotion and saying we gonna get it back because they say the judges did this and we gonna go right back in and prove them wrong, no, we gotta be smarter than that. We gotta see what's the best option for Lamont and for his baby, so therefore, it will put them in a situation where they will never ever have to live on nobody's street and wading through nobody's trash can. And that's where I'm at.

PC: I think you are finally going to get your just due as a trainer. You did great work in the corner. Congratulations to you and both Peterson Brothers. Is there anything that you want to say in closing?

BH: I'd just like to say, especially to the people in the area, we could have had that fight anywhere on the planet. When Golden Boy first brought that fight to me and Khan agreed to it, we had agreed to it. It wasn't just about us. It wasn't about the belts or the money; it was about DC as a whole. Because if you look at this city, for a long time, for whatever reason, we done been wounded so bad, it's almost like we done lost hope, lost pride and our self-respect. So we just wanted to come here and show the people here that they do have hope. You got kids coming from situations, like Anthony and Lamont, and some of them even worse. If you got one of your own from your city that did sleep in cars and things of this nature, pick themselves up and rise all the way up to the world championship in boxing; and not just get there, but win it. Hell, if they can do it, then anybody can do it.



[ Follow Percy Crawford on Twitter @MrLouis1ana ]

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