"I was looking at him today in the gym as a matter of fact and he looked great, his mind was in a great place, and he looked extra sharp. I think that you are gonna see the same Lamont that you are used to seeing during a bout. As far as a lot of the stuff, it's going to depend on what Holt brings to the table. Whatever that may be, of course we will be ready to make adjustments," stated world-class trainer Barry Hunter, who gave us an update on how training is going as IBF jr. welterweight champion Lamont Peterson prepares for his upcoming February 22 title defense against Kendall Holt. Check out what else he had to say about the fight, their recent signing with Golden Boy Promotions, and much more!
PC: You guys are back on ESPN on February 22nd against Kendall Holt. Tell us about it Barry!
BH: February 22nd in DC at the DC Armory. Lamont Peterson will be defending his IBF title against Kendall Holt, and it's a great thing for the city. To have Lamont there to defend the title is special.
PC: Also, you guys announced that Lamont has signed on with Golden Boy Promotions. When you look at their 140-pound division roster, did that move just make the most sense?
BH: Well, it's funny because we were at one point trying to wait and fight Bradley again and that never did come to pass. And then it was Marquez and Pacquiao, and Brandon Rios or Mike Alvarado, and once all of those kind of hit a stalling block, we got a call from Golden Boy and at the end of the day, everybody put their heads together and we really thought about it and it absolutely made the most sense. If you look at the 140-pound and 147-pound weight divisions, especially that 140 division, it's just packed with talent, and most of the guys that were on that list, a lot of them were with Golden Boy. And if done the right way, we can be looking at a situation where it was back in the day, when they had fighters like Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns, Benitez, and all of those guys in one weight class, and I'm looking forward to it.
PC: It was supposed to be Zab, and then like you said, possibly Bradley, and now it's Holt. Other than the fact that Zab is southpaw and the other two are orthodox, stylistically, they are very different. How have you guys handled the changes?
BH: The thing is, you are absolutely right, but I don't think discrimination exists a lot of times in regards to who we are fighting or not fighting. Lamont is that guy that will take on anybody, so we stay in the gym and we have a very talented gym as far as fighters are concerned. So we have several different styles in that gym. Lamont is that guy that will go against all of these different styles in one day; southpaw or orthodox, bangers or boxers, the whole nine, so we are prepared for every fight, not just one particular fight.
PC: Not only for Lamont the fighter, but also you as the trainer and manager, how important was it for you guys to get this Golden Boy deal done, so that way you can both focus strictly on boxing?
BH: Absolutely, because at the end of the day, it all boils down to this: once you look at the whole picture in the terms of who they have on their roster, and now with the addition of Lamont Peterson, who is another top guy at the 140-pound weight class, sky is the limit. You can have all kinds of round-robin tournaments that can be done. Not only is it great for Lamont career-wise and financially, the whole nine, but for the fans, it's outstanding. Again, I watched Matthysse, which some would say is the best at 140, some would say should be undefeated, and you got of course Lamont; Amir Khan is still there and Danny Garcia. The list just goes on and on. And again, from a fans point of view, not even as Lamont's trainer and manager, just from a fans standpoint of boxing, that would be outstanding and I would love to see all of these guys mix it up; winners vs. winners and losers vs. losers, and mix that up. This can be Super Bowl type of action and they can just let it all hang out, man. And when it's all said and done, I think boxing will be the beneficiary.
PC: They say sometimes you have to go back to where it started and you guys are doing just that. I remember seeing the Peterson Brothers on Friday Night Fights in Biloxi, Mississippi. What is it like for you guys to go back to ESPN to get back to where he rightfully belongs on the big stage?
BH: (Laughing) I am a firm believer that sometimes the beginning can dictate the future and you gotta go back from time to time to get it right. Like you said, years ago, Lamont and Anthony pretty much grew up on Friday Night Fights. We know the network, we know the guys that work for the network, and ESPN is like family to us. I didn't even hesitate to be honest with you. I thought it would be a good thing. The last time we fought here at the Armory was on ESPN, so this is the homecoming of sorts.
PC: With the way things went down with the suspension and changing of opponents etcetera, have you had to keep a watchful eye on him, because you didn't want him overtraining or just burning himself out? How did you handle that?
BH: That was a trying time because all kinds of stuff was breaking out. I lost my mom around the time of all of that. We were constantly in the gym, which we always are, even during the times when we don't have a big fight on the horizon. We stay in there just in case we do get that call. So for the most part, we always try to stay somewhere on point, just in case you get that call, you will be ready. We were training of course for Zab. It went from Zab to possibly Timothy Bradley, then back to Zab, and then from both of those guys to Kendall Holt, so it's almost like Lamont was fighting. We did pull back a little bit. We would stay on our grind, but we didn't spar as much. We wouldn't do certain things as much as we normally would do to prepare for a fight. But we pretty much stayed on the grind with his foot on the gas and we will probably pull off one or two more weeks of hard training, and then we come down the hill and get ready to fight.
PC: From a fans standpoint, can we expect to see the same Lamont Peterson based on what you have been seeing in the gym?
BH: I think you will see the same things that you have grown accustomed to seeing. I think you might see very little rust. Maybe some here or there; maybe something that the average Joe wouldn't pick up on, but I definitely will pick up on it. I was looking at him today in the gym as a matter of fact and he looked great, his mind was in a great place, and he looked extra sharp. I think that you are gonna see the same Lamont that you are used to seeing during a bout. As far as a lot of the stuff, it's going to depend on what Holt brings to the table. Whatever that may be, of course we will be ready to make adjustments.
PC: It should be an exciting year for you guys. I have to say your mom raised a helluva man and I'm sure she is proud. Is there anything else you want to add?
BH: I appreciate that my man. First of all, I want to thank you and people like you and people who have been fans of ours from the beginning that have supported us every step of the way during our trying times. It's times like this where you really find out who your real friends are, and we found that out. I would like to say on behalf of the whole team, Headbanger Boxing family, we thank the fans for their patience and understanding and resolve, and I'm looking forward to a brighter future for all of us.
[ Follow Percy Crawford on Twitter @MrFighthype ]