April 04, 2015
Before trainers arrive, and the structure of the day begins, one of the biggest fighters to ever come out of Washington, D.C., sits alone, in a newly built, state-of-the-art gym. While the building houses one of the districts most prominent and beloved boxers, These freshly painted walls will never bear witness to the backstory of its highly decorated brawler. While slowly taping his hands, his head slightly tilted forward, he seems to be lost in thought. One of the gyms’ members says it’s a ritual, a time for the boxer to meditate before grinding out a hard day of work. From this vantage point, it’s hard to imagine why he’s nicknamed “Havoc”, given the stillness of the facility’s mood. The Boxing Champ; part of the Premiere Boxing Champion series, will take on one of his toughest opponents, Danny “Swift” Garcia in a matter of weeks, yet he appears unscathed by all of the publicity and attention he is receiving as a result.
Once gloved, the non-assuming Lamont Peterson I noticed earlier, takes no prisoners inside the ring, ‘Havoc’ is awakened. His alter ego takes form in spectacular fashion, leaving most in the room happy that they will not have to stand in his menacing path, in just two short weeks. The older of the Peterson brothers is well known for his all around athletic skills, and from the amount of sweat, and ear splitting sound echoing from his gloves, as they rip through the unlucky training partners body pads, it’s clear to see why Mr. Peterson holds the IBF Light Welterweight title. Once given the chance to talk with him, we find out why work ethic, ambition and vision drive a once homeless pre teen, into becoming a part of boxing’s elite.
Q & A
Minnie: How do you feel, knowing you get to play a role in the PBC Bringing Boxing back to Prime time?
Peterson: It’s a great feeling and I’m honored to be a part of this whole movement. Boxing is alive and kicking, like I always say, “a lot of people like to say that it is dead”, but I know different. I watch a lot of the old fights and you had great fighters. They were great fighters because people recognized them as great fighters and champions. They (the fans) saw the actual bout; they fought in and they (the audience) fell in love with the fighters. Now if you’re not a boxing fan, you just hear word of mouth. They never really get to see boxers actually compete, the actual fight, the actual enjoyment of the bout, the excitement, and even if they get to see the fight, they really don’t know us. So its not lot of stories out there to tell our background and what we fighting for, Cause we all fighting for a reason. Its good our stories are being put out there, our names are being put out there right now and I think it will help put out boxing in a big way.
Minnie: This bout is scheduled for 10 rounds instead of the regular 12, who will get the advantage if it goes 10 rounds?
Peterson: If it is a 10 round fight that’ll benefit Garcia, it’ll benefit his style but of coarse you know I’ll make sure that it benefits me in the long run, I’ll make adjustments and make sure it benefits me. Here I’m training, I’m sparring 22 rounds straight, my conditioning is really great right now. So 12 rounds would do me some justice. I normally turn it on in the second half of the fight. I like the later rounds. I’ve seen Danny Garcia lose rounds towards the end you know, lose stamina; so 12 rounds would definitely me.
Minnie: The last time I was here, once you were gloved, you stepped in the ring and never left, although training partners did. You instantly switched to work mode.
Peterson: It’s a lifestyle.
Now, the conversation turns to the days of darkness Lamont and his younger brother Anthony, endured before being found by boxing trainer, Barry Hunter. Its common knowledge that as pre-adolescence, the siblings were forced to live in deplorable conditions, which ultimately caused the 8 and 9 year olds to become homeless. Living in and out of Foster care, with no real support, or common familial structure, the boys would go without everyday essentials.
Minnie: If given the chance to tell your younger self something, what would it be?
Peterson: The first thing I would say to the young Lamont Peterson is “ You were right!” I always saw myself being here, I knew it would be tough, and I knew it would be a long road, but I knew I would be here, at this position at a young age. I knew at 5(or) 6 years old that this is what I’d be doing. Of coarse Barry helped and taught me a lot along the way.
The main thing I would say to myself is to relax a little bit more, because, at those times, I was kind of, well I was never a wild child but, I just wanted to make it so bad. I had to be a man early and I felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders. So if I can tell myself something, I would say relax, the weight of the world is to heavy, just relax.
I think at the end of the day any human being going through anything in life, eventually [you] will have to make a choice about what you want to do, once you make that choice stick with it, and give it all you got. You don’t take no for an answer. I looked at my situation and I realized, my situation was different most, it wasn’t the worst situation in the world, but it was different…so I wanted better. So when I realized wanted I in life, I had to figure out, how I was gonna get.
I was already into boxing, I didn’t take no for a answer, they’re were a lot of obstacles along the way. Tough times, [and] of coarse sometimes I wanted to stop, sometimes I wanted to quite, but I knew ultimately the goal at hand was to make it to this point. It was tough but I did it. That’s the way I go about anything, attack it head on. You know a lot of times people get down on themselves, and they make excuses, and they want you to feel bad for them, your sympathy makes them feel better, for me, that don’t work. For me its I’ll make it better, I’m gonna make it better and I go right at.
A lot of times people focus on the right now, [and] a lot of times what kept me grounded was looking ahead. I didn’t look at what was going on right now, I kept my head in my dreams, to 2015 to be here, and it helped me a lot of times, because, If you focus on right now, (yeah right now its messed up so your gonna feel some type of way). Sometimes I felt myself smiling…with a lot of hope. I didn’t understand then why, but now, I get it.
Minnie: How has forgiveness played a role in your success?
Peterson: Forgiveness for me, especially early on, my parents, you know of coarse, you go through a rough childhood, your gonna put it on your parents [because] likely its their fault. Even if they don’t wanna admit it or not. Because you didn’t ask to be here, Its their job to make sure that you’re ok and when that don’t happen, you tend to point fingers at them, feel some type of way about them, but at the end of the day, I forgive them both. I forgive them both because the main reason is it helped make me become who I am and I’m proud of who I am, and I’m happy and comfortable in who I am. I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Then you know we went through what we went through but I have no permanent scar, no permanent damage, those memories can easily be pushed away. I feel like I benefitted from the whole thing, so it was definitely a plus. Now that its over and I made it through, I can say, I’m glad I made it through. Yeah of coarse going through it, you don’t wanna go through it. If you asked me to rewrite my whole story, I wouldn’t change it. And another thing is, I understand people more now, human beings, so I understand my parents more, I understand who and what they are, and what they not gone do, what their capable of and what they not [capable of], so I have to respect that. One way or the other, they are who they are. I respect that and I embrace it, and its ok with me. I’m not just saying I forgive them because I’m supposed to move on, I really do, I truly, [have] not just forgiven them, but I understand them. I understand the whole situation, and why it happened, its just life.
Minnie: Lastly, I just wanted to throw out some names and you give me the very first thing that comes to mind okay?
Minnie: Anthony Peterson?
Peterson: My other half, you can’t mention him without mentioning me, and you can’t mention me without mention him. Perfect combination, we mix pretty well.
Minnie: Head bangers Gym?
Minnie: Barry Hunter:
Minnie: And last, April, 11, 2015, Danny Garcia
Peterson: I feel like that’s when everything is going to come together. Everything in New York gone come together.