"Let me say this, the word fear, as far as evidence, isn't actual reality. So that means that it's not real. We got in this game not to duck fighters, but to fight fighters, so if Lucas Matthysse is the next in line, and contractually it makes sense and financially it makes sense, then Lucas Matthysse it is. We are more than interested in fighting him and anybody else at 140 or 147. Unlike a lot of modern day fighters, we are not gonna be the type of fighter that picks and chooses who they fight based on their wins and losses. If you the man and you claim to be the best and we trying to be the best, you the one we want to fight," stated world-class trainer Barry Hunter, who talked about a potential clash between his fighter, IBF jr. welterweight champion Lamont Peterson, and top challenger Lucas Matthysse. Check out what else he had to say about that fight, their recent win over Kendall Holt, and much more.
PC: Congratulations on the win. I have to say, after the fight, that's the most animated I have ever seen you. Was that because you guys were at home, or just letting out some joy after the rough year you guys had last year?
BH: It was all of 2012, and I was real happy, man, because through it all, that was Lamont's true vindication that night.
PC: Was it imperative that Lamont stopped Kendall Holt? Did that make it that much more special?
BH: Absolutely, because when you think about it and you think about the previous year before that night, it wouldn't have been good enough just to get by. It wouldn't have been good enough going 12 rounds and it being that type of fight. To make that statement, it had to be that fight and put an end to Kendall Holt in a destructive way.
PC: A lot of people felt Lamont looked rusty early, but you guys say the game plan was to establish the jab and let Kendall get some confidence going. Can you elaborate on the plan going in a little bit?
BH: It was a total plan. Going into this fight, you guys know we have been doing it for years. It's my job to break guys down on paper and relay the information to Lamont, or any other fighter I have, and then it's up to them at that point to do what they need to do. We knew that Kendall had been watching our fights. Kendall knows us well. We knew that he would be prepared for a war in the first round and we knew he would be boxing more so than anything. So therefore, if you notice from each round, from round one to round two, because we were boxing him and not attacking him right away, he started to get real relaxed and real comfortable and almost cocky; dropping his hands, extending the right hand and then trying to land it. I think he missed about 6 to 8 times. Once or twice he touched Lamont with it. After the third round, Lamont came back to the corner and I asked him, "How do you feel, kiddo?" He said, "I feel good." I said, "It's time! Press him now!" And then right after that, when he started to walk behind his jab, it was a total switch from round one to three until four, and he wasn't ready for it. After Lamont got to him, his confidence totally went down. So we knew exactly what we were doing.
PC: The body to head attack was as good as I have seen from a fighter in years. Was the strategy to make sure he touched the body because Holt's defense is usually the ear muffs and you guys knew his body would be open?
BH: You are right, because Kendall Holt, if you go back to most of his fights, when he got these devastating knockdowns or knockouts, he normally does that in a wild exchange. Look at the Torres fight; both chins are up high in the air and it's whoever gets to whose chin first. For the most part, he's been successful in getting to your chin before you get to his. We wasn't gonna give him that opportunity in that flurry or moment that he was looking for. We made him hold his punches to single shots at most he may get off two or three in combinations. But he wasn't throwing in five or six where he normally ends up with that big hook of his. Once we took that away from him, he was just a regular guy.
PC: After one of the knockdowns, he came back to the corner and you told him he didn't need his stool because he was about to go out and finish Holt. Is that just a matter of knowing your fighter and what you were looking at?
BH: It was a bit of both because I know Lamont like the back of my hand, ever since he was a baby, and he is the same way then as he is now; just bigger and stronger. But yeah, I did sense it's like them video games when you throw your best move and your power energy just drops. I saw his energy source drop big time. I told Lamont just a little more pressure and he gonna quit, or either we gonna stop him; one or the other. And once we started touching him downstairs to that body and if you go back to that fight, the body shots were vicious and the hooks to the head was something else too. I knew he couldn't take that much punishment like that because he didn't have the defense to stop it.
PC: Teddy Atlas alluded to that when Lamont threw the barrage that stopped him. He said you did a great job of teaching him to throw hooks and mixing it with straight punches.
BH: If you speak to Lamont or any other fighter in here, I always tell them from day one, "If there isn't an opening, then you create an opening and you create it with either feints or punches in bunches." Lamont did something very brilliant at that time; he didn't hit the gloves or the elbows, but he hit behind the elbows and behind the gloves. What that did is create the openings. If you go back to that last flurry of punches when he stopped him, he threw 4 hooks from the right and left side. Because he threw the hooks and they were hitting him in the ear area, he spread his gloves to try and protect his ears, but that opened a crease down the middle and that's when he went down the middle.
PC: I let Lamont speak on the IBF, so I gotta let you speak on the IBF and their support of you guys since everything came out.
BH: Well, of course we got big respect for the IBF, not because they ruled in our favor, but because they took time out to listen. They let due process take its course. They didn't take our word or the other side's word; they took our evidence and weighed our evidence and then they brought their own specialist in to go over everything that the doctors before this particular specialist had done and they came up with the same conclusion. These people had no affiliation with one another, they didn't know one another but yet they came up with the same conclusion because this is their field of expertise. And I respect that because I could tell you anything; Lamont and I or anyone from my Headbanger's organization, we didn't want anyone to take our word. The only thing we wanted you to do is look at the facts and with the facts you have the truth. Regardless of how you feel about us, at least take time out to listen. I can't just take one side and not the other one and say that side is golden. That's not the way the law works, last time I checked anyway. Hell, if that was the case, then damn near everybody would be guilty.
PC: I like what Lamont said. Had the IBF did their research and decided to strip you guys of their title, he would have been okay with that and accepted it.
BH: You are 100% right. If anything I am a big boy, just like Lamont. If you saying that I done something wrong or that I wronged you in any kind of way, I'm going to spend the rest of my life trying to make it up to you. But if I didn't do wrong, then I'm going to be as cold as that steel outside and as hard as that steel outside and I'm not gonna fold because it is what it is. I'm not gonna let you make me guilty when I know I'm not.
PC: They are talking about a quick comeback. I know titles like "most feared" and "most avoided" don't exist to you guys. In the boxing circles, those are some of the titles attached to your next possible opponent Lucas Matthysse.
BH: Let me say this, the word fear, as far as evidence, isn't actual reality. So that means that it's not real. We got in this game not to duck fighters, but to fight fighters, so if Lucas Matthysse is the next in line, and contractually it makes sense and financially it makes sense, then Lucas Matthysse it is. We are more than interested in fighting him and anybody else at 140 or 147. Unlike a lot of modern day fighters, we are not gonna be the type of fighter that picks and chooses who they fight based on their wins and losses. If you the man and you claim to be the best and we trying to be the best, you the one we want to fight.
PC: How easy does that make your job when you have a fighter like Lamont willing to fight anybody?
BH: Very easy. If you ask Lamont today what we do with the weak, he will tell you we kill 'em. One weak one will fluctuate throughout your whole pack and make your whole pack weak. We don't have that. It's the same thing with my kids I got kids in here 9 and 10 years old and it's the same thing with them. I'm like the Marines: the proud and the few. That's what we looking for.
PC: So you are not one of these trainers that need 50 plus fighters. You want 10 good soldiers that will go to battle for you.
BH: Give me 10 good ones and out of them 10 good ones, if they stay solid, we could rule the world. I can't stand a fighter that get in the game, don't sacrifice for the game, don't sacrifice to get a skill level, and then turn around and want to call yourself a champ or best pound-for-pound fighter. How the hell you gonna be pound-for-pound the best when you ain't fighting the best? How is it fair that you get a guy at the top of his game fighting a guy that you know can barely hold his hands up? And you proud of that? Come on, man.
PC: Congratulations again. It's always a pleasure to speak with you. Is there anything else you want to add?
BH: I want to thank everybody that stood by us in that trying time. It's easy to love someone or measure somebody when they win, but to me, you really find out the true nature and character of a person at their lowest point and then you get high again and he did that. So I want to say thanks to everybody that believed in him and stuck by him during that time. I appreciate you and I love you.
[ Follow Percy Crawford on Twitter @MrFighthype ]