By Jim Dower
Lamont Peterson (35-5-1, 17 KOs) announced his retirement last Sunday night immediately after being stopped in the 10th round by Sergey Lipinets at the MGM National Harbor, in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
In the 10th, Peterson was hurt with a left hook to the head by Lipinets. Moments later, Lipinets caught Peterson with a rabbit punch to the back of his head that hurt him, causing him to stumble across the ring. Peterson moved to the ropes and covered up, and Lipinets nailed him with a left hook followed by a right hand rabbit punch that knocked him down. Just as Peterson was starting to get up, his trainer threw in the towel to have the fight stopped. It was a good move on Peterson’s corner’s part, as he was hurt and there was too much time for him to recover.
Peterson, 35, has been a pro for 15 years, and he’s captured world titles at 140 and 147. He was a better fighter at 140 than he was at 147 due to his lack of punching power. Retirement would seem to be a slightly premature move on Peterson’s part, as he was fighting out of his best weight class, and he didn’t use the best game plan against the pressure fighter Lipinets.
“It’s been a long career but today is the day,” said Peterson. “I’m sure it’s time for me to hang it up. I couldn’t go out in a better way here at home. This will be the last time you see me in the ring.”
If Peterson does decide to come back, he needs to move back down to light welterweight, and stay away from the bigger fighters that have a lot of power unless he can change his fighting style to stay on the outside more. Against Lipinets, Peterson employed the wrong fight strategy by focusing on throwing body shots the entire night. There’s nothing wrong with going to the body, but it left Peterson in a position where he was getting hit all night by Lipinets’ left hooks. Peterson’s lacked the power on his shots to win a war of attrition with Lipinets. It would have been smarter for Peterson to stay on the outside, use his long reach to jab, and move in circles to keep Lipinets from walking him down. Instead of doing that, Peterson fought Lipinets’ game by staying in close, and exchanging shots with him. The only chance Lipinets had of winning the fight is if Peterson stayed in his power alley all night, and that’s exactly what he did.
“I was expecting to keep him at range but not back up too much where it feels as though he’s putting pressure on me, but me putting pressure on him but not getting too close,” Peterson said to Fighthub after the fight. “I think it was working fairly well early on. I was able to land my jab but, things happened the way they happened.”
It wasn’t working well for Peterson even early in the fight. He was throwing too many body shots, and getting hit by solid shots from the more powerful Lipinets. The difference in power between the two fighters was significant.
As for Peterson’s retirement, it’ll be interesting to see if he stays retired. If he’s offered a nice payday for a fight against one of the other popular Premier Boxing Champions welterweights, it might he hard for him to resist.
“You’ve seen what I did at 140-pounds and now what I can do here,”said Lipinets. “I made a big jump in competition from my last fight to this one. I feel great about the statement I made to the welterweight division. I just fought an excellent fighter. This let me know where I’m at in the 147-pound weight class. I went into deep waters and showed that I belong,” Lipinets said.
Beating Peterson would be a statement for Lipinets if he were fighting at 140, but not at 147. To make a statement at welterweight, Lipinets needs to at least beat someone like Yordenis Ugas or Danny Garcia at the very least. To make a big statement obviously, Lipinets would need to defeat Spence, Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman or Terence Crawford. Those guys guys might out of his class talent-wise. Lipinets has a lot to prove at welterweight before he can be considered one of the elite in the division. What he showed last night wasn’t enough.
Lipinets is a good fighter, but he was facing a career long light welterweight in Peterson, and not a true welterweight like Errol Spence Jr. Keith Thurman or Shawn Porter. Lipinets would have had major problems with his plodding style if he’d been facing one of those fighters. Peterson didn’t have the pop in his punches to take advantage of Lipinets’ come forward style of fighting. Lipinets would also be better off moving back down to 140. He’s not likely going to do well at all when he eventually faces a good welterweight. Getting a title shot will at least give Lipinets a payday against the likes of Spence or Thurman. WBC welterweight champion Porter will be facing IBF champion Spence in a unification match next, so those two belts will be unified. It would nice to see Lipinets face the loser of the Spence-Porter fight to try and earn a title shot. Danny Garcia or Yordenis Ugas would also be a good fight for Lipinets to take to earn a title shot.