Few could argue the 140 lb. light welterweight division is one of, if not the most exciting at the moment based on the level of competition throughout.
It was only a few weeks ago in Brooklyn that Zab Judah (42-8, 29 KO’s) gave the current WBA Super, WBC, and The Ring Magazine Light Welterweight champion Danny Garcia (26-0, 16 KO’s) all he could handle in what many would agree one of 2013’s most action packed fights.
This Saturday night, Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City hosts another highly competitive bout between current IBF Light Welterweight strap holder Lamont Peterson (31-1-1, 16 KO’s) and arguably the division’s most dangerous contender, Lucas Matthysse (33-2, 31 KO’s).
The bout is being contested at a “catch-weight” of 141 lbs., meaning no championship belt will be on the line, but rest assured there’s plenty to gain. The winner cements his name as the No. 1 contender at light welterweight, ultimately securing his next ring walk will conclude with Danny Garcia awaiting inside the ring as he attempts to unify the gold at 140 lbs.
Oddsmakers originally had Matthysse as high as a -275 favorite, but the price dipped to -200 and now sits at -220. The take-back on Peterson is +190. Lamont was stripped of the WBA Super Light Welterweight strap (now owned by Garcia) after failing his post-fight drug test after beating Amir Khan by way of a controversial decision.
Many credit Peterson’s upset win against Khan, who at the time was considered the top guy at 140 lbs., to “home cooking”, having fought that bout in his home town of Washington D.C. Couple that with Khan being deducted a point for “holding” of all things, and it’s no surprise Peterson never received the credit one would expect for beating that caliber of opponent.
Anyway, this is a fight that will not let fight fans down. Both men aren’t afraid to mix it up. A quick glance at Matthysse’s KO ratio instantly reflects why he’s been avoided whenever possible. But it was Peterson who issued the challenge by calling him out immediately after disposing of his previous opponent, Kendall Holt via knockout.
Stylistically we have a classic case of “boxer vs. puncher” and I’m sure you don’t need to guess who will be playing which role. Peterson has an extremely effective jab that he likes to work behind by throwing it with conviction, then landing a strong straight right hand right down the middle.
Peterson is an efficient boxer who isn’t shy about fighting inside. Against Matthysse, we should expect he’ll attempt to keep him in range while avoiding a test of chins. Peterson will be the more skilled of the two, and is taller, quicker, and possesses the much faster hands.
If he is able to make Matthysse bend to his will by making this a boxing match more than a fight, he will walk away victorious. That’s a big “if” because so far in his career, Matthysse has forced top level boxers like Devon Alexander and Judah to stand and trade with him.
Both Alexander and Judah ultimately hit the canvas, though each got back up and won decisions. Matthysse has power in both hands and his trademark is to work an opponent’s body until lowering the hands so he can start to land upstairs with bad intentions.
Against Peterson, Matthysse will need to start fast. Otherwise, he may lose a lot of rounds working the body and find himself having to secure a KO. It’s no secret that Matthysse is known to have bad luck when the verdict lies in the hands of the judges, therefore he will not want to leave his fate up to the trio come Saturday night.
For Peterson, he’ll need to check his pride some and continue to put rounds in the bag because we’ve seen him get dropped in the past against opponents who don’t pack the power he’ll feel in this one.
Bottom line: I just don’t think I can lay this price to back the favorite. Instead I will look to the OVER and expect that even if either or both hit the canvas, they will be able to get back up and continue.
Look for Peterson to fight smart and not engage much early on, in an attempt to frustrate Matthysse into becoming a fighter looking to land that one big punch to end the night. The fight will be very close and most notably controversial when the decision is read. I believe the judges will award Peterson a chance to recapture those 140 lbs. titles he feels are rightfully still his, having not lost them inside the ring.
Record: 102-55 (65% over 3 years)
Vegas-Runner, a pro sports bettor in Las Vegas, has been featured on CNBC/ESPN. Follow him on Twitter @vegasrunner , at Pregame.com and on AM 1100 ESPN (also FM 98.9) on Fridays and Sundays from 11 pm to midnight when he co-hosts First Preview. Contact Vegas Runner at [email protected] ay.com.