"Lamont trained straight through. He is an amazing individual. Anybody else that had been scrutinized in the manner in which he has and persecuted without having a chance to even be heard, and to go through what he went through and to still be standing strong as Lamont stood shows me he is a special individual...we're gonna reach out to Zab and his people and find out exactly where we going from here and make sure everybody is on the same page and we look forward to this bout. Zab is a friend, always has been, and his father and me are like brothers and like a family member. We would love for it to be against someone else. You hate to go against family, but at the end of the day, it's business," stated world-class trainer Barry Hunter, who talked about Lamont Peterson's potential IBF jr. welterweight title defense against Zab Judah, their future plans, and much more. Check it out!
PC: I'm sure you guys are happy about the IBF's decision to let Lamont remain a champion. You look at Lamont as your son and one of your own. What has it been like these last couple of months seeing him go through all of this?
BH: It was more difficult for me and my wife going through this because you hate to see anybody you love in a situation where they are hurt. But it was our mission and our job to make sure that we protect this young man by any means necessary, so today is a much brighter day.
PC: I was happy to see the IBF not strip his title. Of course he has to fight Zab Judah next. What's the process from here and when can we see Lamont fight again?
BH: Well, like I said, you know Lamont trained straight through. He is an amazing individual. Anybody else that had been scrutinized in the manner in which he has and persecuted without having a chance to even be heard, and to go through what he went through and to still be standing strong as Lamont stood shows me he is a special individual, because the average person would have broke down a long time ago. He maintained his stance, he maintained his innocence throughout, and he didn't fold nor did he falter. Lamont actually been in the gym and he been sparring and the whole nine all the way through. He took it a whole lot better than what we took it. He never lost sight of what the mission was and what he wanted to do and what he had to do, so therefore we're gonna reach out to Zab and his people and find out exactly where we going from here and make sure everybody is on the same page and we look forward to this bout. Zab is a friend, always has been, and his father and me are like brothers and like a family member. We would love for it to be against someone else. You hate to go against family, but at the end of the day, it's business. If it's Zab, we're looking forward to a great fight; if not, whomever else, it will be the same.
PC: Will we see Anthony again when we see Lamont, the way you guys have been doing it, or will you like to get Anthony back in before then?
BH: We have been called about Ant several times before this whole thing started going to the left. He was supposed to fight on the undercard in Vegas and you know how that turned out, so therefore we had gotten a call recently for Ant to fight Darley Perez, and of course we accepted the fight, but I think they wanted an option and right now options is not one of the things that we looking forward to right now. We have been on this ride this long and we wanna keep riding it out. We are definitely looking to put Ant back in the ring and we have some discussions going on about his next bout. But definitely when Lamont and Zab or whoever take center stage, we gonna definitely put Anthony on that card also. You know he's only like 2 fights from getting his shot back again also.
PC: Has this been a situation where you had to keep the team together or has it been where everyone has been like glue and stuck together through this thing?
BH: You know real soldiers gonna ride and die and I got a lot of real soldiers with me. The ones that had hidden agendas leading up to these, of course they always flee. The real soldiers, we still standing strong, never bent a little bit or took a back step, and we kept our eyes on the prize. We stayed focused throughout and Andre [Johnson] is one of 'em, my wife Cologne, I mean, she battled tooth and nail for this man. And definitely Anthony and Lamont, I never worry about them faltering. I close my eyes and I put my life on the line and gamble my life due to the fact that I knew Lamont would never do nothing like that. It's not in his DNA. He don't even know how to cheat; I put it that way.
PC: I spoke to Mickey Bey and he said if I was to ask him who the most honest and standup fighter in boxing is, he said Lamont would probably be number one. He also told me when his brother was out there training with you guys, you wouldn't even let him drink protein shakes.
BH: That's the truth, and the crazy part about it is I talk to a few people. Naazim Richardson called and gave his support, Mickey Bey was another one, and Timothy Bradley and Bob Arum. We had a lot of supporters man. Some people from the UK who come to know Lamont and know what type of person he is, like I told them quick story to you, when they were small, they were raised in the gym almost like you would be raised as a Navy Seal; not to feel pain, not to feel mad, and keep your eyes on the mission. And if I thought that they lost a fight and they were awarded the victory, I would make them give the trophy to the opponent in front of everybody. So he was raised a certain way. They all were and they know that we didn't take no shortcuts. This was a case where it really made me look at the whole judicial system as far as you have guys now that are in the penitentiary, and they been in there for 25 to 30 years, that are finally getting to be heard through DNA and now they are finally getting to be free. But you can't give them their 30 years back. You can't give them their 25 years back. And they maintained the whole time that they were innocent and nobody heard them. So I know how they feel. In my 49 years of life, these last 4 or 5 months really make me look at people in a whole different way. Then on the flip side of that, you have the IBF that did go through the right process and did take the time out to look at not just some of the facts, but they looked at all the facts, and they came to their conclusion. Now they didn't come to their conclusion because they love Lamont or they didn't like Lamont. They did it solely based on the facts and that's what it's all about. No matter how you feel about them or me, what are the facts? Because with the facts, you got the truth and that's all that should matter.
PC: I'm sure this experience made you look at people different; from people in the media, fans, and within your own circle. At 49 years of age, you are still learning and having life altering experiences.
BH: You are absolutely right. Sometimes and the crazy part about it is because of the way we grew up, you kind of have certain things built inside of you that you rely on. And you know, every once and a while, you kind of let your guard down and you start letting any and everybody around you, and you get involved with them. But it really, really put everything in its proper perspective for me. My circle now (laughing) is smaller it might be the size of a coin. And I watch everybody because everybody that say they with you, they not with you. I learned a very valuable lesson throughout this whole process and I thank the IBF, like I said, for just taking the time to hear and just look at all of the evidence. I want to thank all of the people out there who never wavered or lost faith in Lamont and the team. And on the flip side, even the ones that didn't believe him or the ones that did criticize him, I look at them too and I take something positive away from them. It lets you know that you cannot trust everybody.
PC: Amir Khan had some pretty harsh words for Lamont after all of this fell out. Man, he got it in a major way and now his career is kind of reeling for what Danny Garcia did to him. What did you think of that fight and the landscape of the 140-pound division now?
BH: It's crazy how that whole situation went down and a lot of people don't know this; everybody knows Lamont beat him and he beat him handily in DC, number one. Number two, Danny was a fighter that I recruited during my days with Shelly Finkel and after Danny was recruited, I was talking to him and his dad one time at a small show in Philly. It was a little outside show, and his father came up and he wanted to thank me for recruiting Danny. And I met Danny toe to toe that day and I thought he was a good fighter then and a very good young man. And so it was crazy how they got away from Lamont, which I really don't think they wanted to fight him again. It was a much harder fight and they thought Danny was gonna be easy, but Danny flipped the script on 'em. So once again, that apple cart got flipped over and this mega-fight that they were looking for against Floyd didn't come to pass.