But it will most likely break Lamont Peterson on Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, turning IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. into good “Money.”
*** *** ***
It's a cold blustery day in New York City, as the streets are laden with snow not allowed to be dirty. It's just consumed by the constant flow of New York's “fuck you!” energy. We don't believe the sky is falling, so as the precipitation turned to rain across the Brooklyn Bridge in route to legendary Gleason's Gym to study an expected reign of terror, it seemed like a good idea to recall an invisible raised middle finger at an unfallen god.
“Did you hear Spence's response to that FightHype interview by Floyd?” asked my intrepid, TMZ-like scoop collector running beside me, Jade. Asked as if she knew the answer (because I don't watch much YouTube content at all), she volunteered a very condensed verbal Op-Ed.
“Basically he's like: ‘This is my era now and I don't need you. I'll just beat up the man who was beating your ass in sparring, but not quite like [I was beating your ass] in sparring.' Like… He's over dude.”
Maybe, but duly noted.
I run into Lamont Peterson a little before 2pm inside of Gleason's. I can see he's at weight and can't wait until the weigh-in is over to rehydrate and sleep. He's not in the mood for bullshit. A quick fist bump and half hug later, I whispered: “Scale of 1-10, how overdue and disrespected are you feeling right now?”
LP pauses, drops a blank stare and just shakes his head. It's as if no number can describe it, based on the unimaginable hell he's been through to get here.
Peterson is a throwback fighter, like a solid 1970 all-black Duster that plows through and smashes cars of today with force upon impact. He goes through absolute boot camps damn near everyday. But Peterson is not confronting Spence because of gym war assaults on Mayweather. He's here because of the imaginary 13th round with Danny Garcia, one where “Swift” gets KTFO. That same DSG, after being bludgeoned by Peterson, mounted a late rally against WBC/WBA welterweight champion Keith “One-Time” Thurman before losing a split decision.
To the boxing world, possessing the WBC/WBA/IBF and RING titles is tantamount to unification, particularly, in the glamour division of welterweight. Spence wants Thurman about as bad as you (ED NOTE: Me? Yeah, you talkin' to me!) might want Donald Trump out of the White House, which is all the more reason to put Thurman, WBO champion Jeff Horn, former undisputed super lightweight champion Terence “Bud” Crawford and even Floyd Mayweather on notice if he wants it.
*** *** ***
Freddie Roach is in the ring honing what looks to be a brick wall in Iago Kilajdze (26-1, 18KOs). He's up against a talented and “fat” Adam Kownacki (16-0, 13KOs) in an intriguing heavyweight showdown. The Pole did spank a shot Artur Szpilka, but I don't believe it was real. If Kownacki doesn't have his act together, Kilajdze will put him together.
I glance over and spot a friend with underrated trainer Mike Stafford and boxing savant Robert Easter Sr., as the trio oversee charismatic IBF lightweight champion Robert Easter Jr. (20-0, 14KOs) warming up. I've searched the gym for his opponent on Saturday night, Javier Fortuna (33-1-1, 23KOs), and can't find him. I know I can get Easter to rabbit punch Fortuna while he's shadow boxing.
“What in the WORLD are you going to do to Fortuna this weekend?!” I'm asking Easter, trying to get him fired up. “I'm gonna knock his head off! He ain't want this fight!” grunted the 5'11 and long Easter, like an animated tree you don't want to encounter in the forest. I keep going, and the camp gets lively, as a colleague offers that Fortuna will be ready to get the W. I don't think so.
Fortuna will be broken like a fortune cookie. He looked bad in losing to Jason Sosa, and didn't exactly make anyone forget by climbing off the canvas to escape Omar Douglas. If I'm reading this right, he will be egg'd and painted black and blue by an Easter Jr. bunny that hops around in victory after the 9th round. All things considered, Easter Jr. might be the best lightweight in the world.
Showtime and Barclays have been sandwiching cards together like Peanut Butter & Jelly. The other reason to be in Brooklyn is the return of Marcus Browne (20-0, 15KOs. By the looks of his opponent during warm-ups, Francy Ntetu (17-1, 4KOs), he won't have the strength to endure the pure power of Browne, who should get rid of him after 3 rounds.
Look also for TMT prospect Richardson Hitchins (3-0, 1KO) to continue his rise as a pro from the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“He wasn't impressed on ‘First Take' Errol!” “He doesn't appreciate all of the talk about Keith Thurman!” “Tell us “The Truth”, you don't really think Lamont is real!” “What round are you gonna stop him Errol?!?”
Every since his summer 2016 mauling of Leonard Bundu on Coney Island, I've taken the opportunity to get into colorful banter with the always ready Spence. This time, while the champ struck the heavy bag at Gleasons.
“What round do you think he's gone go?” Spence finally offered, as TOTY Derrick James glanced over and winked.
For the record, Spence should probably grind out Peterson somewhere around 9 or 10 rounds. He's a compact, fully dimensional Sonny Liston from the southpaw stance with a work ethic that rivals his predecessors, Mayweather and Pacquiao. Because of what Lucas Matthysse did to Peterson years ago, in what amounted to good scouting by Team Matthysse with Peterson being unbelievably slow from the gate (he's improved on that greatly since), Spence won't really get the credit he deserves for dismantling Peterson. He doesn't really have “One-Punch” ability, but will bomb you at will, as LP will find out.
“How'd it go?” asked Jade, after catching up with her at a Starbucks on the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge later.
“Good. I was looking for what was a trace of diva in him, any trace of her, but couldn't find it. He's “The Truth.” That fact is what makes him,” I told her.
“That makes sense.”