Lamont Peterson, left, hits David Avanesyan during their Welterweight Championship fight on February 18, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. PHOTO/COURTESY
From where he has come — and trust, he has been places few can relate to — one might think Lamont Peterson would have stood atop the ropes of the boxing ring in Cincinnati a fortnight ago, pounded his chest and screamed when it was announced he had won the WBA welterweight championship.
Instead, Peterson accepted hugs from his corner and the gaudy title belt he snatched from Russia’s David Avanesyan with the demeanor of a man who had completed a task expected of him. Nothing more.
Part of his composed reaction stemmed from the fact that he had been a champion before. Most notably, he was the WBA and IBF light welterweight title holder six years ago before being stripped of the WBA belt after testing positive for synthetic testosterone. (The IBF found the tests inconclusive.)
“Been there, done that,” he said.
Yes, but no. This championship was different, meant more, because Peterson, at 33, affirmed his skill and longevity at a time when there was much doubt about his future.
He had not fought in 16 months and moved up to welterweight for the bout. But neither the unusually long wait nor the heavier weight class deterred him from again reaching the apex of his sport.
Mostly, though his subdued reaction to winning reinforced the notion that Peterson is not built like other fighters. Neither is his younger brother Anthony, the 37-1 super lightweight contender who hopes to reach the championship level again this year.
Boxers often come from harsh, hard-to-bear backgrounds. The Peterson brothers’ story, however, is especially chilling because they were mere kids when confronted with unfathomable crisis.
That experience has given them an internal reservoir from which to draw strength and courage and fortitude — and even calm and patience — in desperate moments. Forced to battle, they do so with the enthusiasm of street fighters.
Read More: https://theundefeated.com/features/boxer-lamont-petersons-first-victory-was-over-homelessness/
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