Lamont Peterson’s run as IBF junior welterweight champion is back on track with a 12-round decision over Dierry Jean in front of a crowd of 5,600 at the D.C. Armory in Washington, D.C. Peterson bounced back from his loss to Lucas Matthysse in a non-title bout in May of 2013.
“I knew that it was Dierry Jean’s first time fighting on a big stage and nerves would come to him and make him uncomfortable,” said Peterson after.
Jean, who had repeatedly stated that he wanted to take the belt back to his home of Quebec, entered the ring wearing shorts bearing the flag of the Canadian province and sporting its famous cap. Peterson entered to a thundering applause from his hometown crowd and chants of “USA! USA!”
The first round produced little excitement as both fighters landed as many punches as they took risks. In the second round, Peterson opened it up a bit by using his considerable reach advantage to pepper Jean with his jab. The challenger responded by working his way inside and landing a barrage of body shots at end of the round.
From there, the bout turned into a slugfest with two fan bases frequently rising to their feet. In the third, Jean landed a right cross that knocked a gob of spit out of Peterson’s mouth, causing about 100 Canadian fans at ringside to rise to their feet. Peterson responded with a Roy Jones-esque arm winding motion before throwing a flurry of punches.
Other than a vicious left hook from Jean in the seventh, Peterson dictated the pace of rounds six through nine using his size and jab to set up combinations. He would ultimately land 230 punches to Jean’s 123 in the fight. In the tenth round, referee Roberto Ramirez granted Jean a timeout following a Peterson blow that was a little low on his hip. Peterson continued to press Jean in the 11th round, but kept his distance in the 12th round, apparently convinced that he had the decision secured. He was right. The final scorecards read 115-113, 118-111 and 116-112 in his favor.
“With this being my first title fight, I’m definitely leaving with my head held high. My fans are with me and I definitely fought for this,” said Jean through translations by a French interpreter.
As for Peterson’s next fight, it’s more about the goal than the opponent.
“I’d like to be considered the best 140-pound fighter in boxing and if my next fight is (WBC and WBA Junior Welterweight champion) Danny Garcia, it’s Danny Garcia,” said Peterson.
In the co-main event, Jermell Charlo (23-0, 11 KOs) retained his WBC Continental America’s Super Welterweight title with a 10-round decision over Gabriel Rosado (21-8, 13 KOs). Charlo faced his toughest opponent to date in Rosado, who was so amped that he was leaping into the air during introductions. Throughout the fight, Rosado swarmed, whiffing as many punches as he landed and leaving himself wide open to Charlo’s powerful left hooks. By the end of the fourth round, there was swelling under both of Rosado’s eyes.
In the fifth, an accidental head-butt turned that swollen right eye into a nasty cut. It was yet another instance where Rosado’s eye was cut in a bout. The round ended with Charlo landing a series of heavy shots as Rosado defended himself against the ropes.
The later rounds saw punches being traded heavily in spurts, with Charlo maintaining control. In the tenth, Charlo nailed Rosado with a vicious one-two combination causing him to drop his hands in anger. The final bell sounded with Charlo keeping his distance from a frustrated Rosado.
“I absolutely knew that I was going to have box and cut him,” said Charlo. “He came to fight and he did exactly what we trained for. This fight was about being in shape. Regarding the clash of heads in the fifth, once I saw that his eye was cut, I knew that I had to keep it up and keep working on it.”
Cut or no cut, Charlo landed 239 shots compared to Rosado’s 94. The three judges’ final scorecards read 100-90, 99-91 and 97-93.
The undercard produced few shocking moments. Dashon Johnson (15-14-3, 5 KOs) did surprise up-and-coming D.C. middleweight Dominic Wade (14-0) by sending him to the canvas in the early seconds of the first round. Wade responded by landing enough body shots to win a close decision. The originally scheduled eight-round bout was shortened to six to make Showtime’s 9:00 PM start time for Charlo/Rosado.
Bantamweight Rau’shee Warren (18-0, 3 KOs) maintained his perfect record with a unanimous decision over German Meraz (33-27-1, 20 KOs). Warren, the only three-time Olympian in U.S. boxing history, won all eight rounds on all three judges scorecards.
Lightweight Robert Easter, Jr., improved to 9-0 by cruising to an eight-round unanimous decision over D.C. journeyman Daniel Attah (28-18-1, 11 KOs).
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV