Lamont Peterson chuckles, but he’s being serious.
He’s just been asked when he knew—really knew—that he could have a successful career in boxing, that his passion could double as his profession, that he could one day pay the electric bill with his fists.
“As soon as I saw it on TV,” Peterson answers, laughing a bit when he hears the words come out of his mouth because he knows how it must sound considering the circumstances: He was only 5 years old at the time in question.
It’d be another four or five years before he’d first lace up a pair of boxing gloves.
And yet Peterson contends that at barely kindergarten age, his path in life was set at that moment.
“Yeah, really,” he affirms. “It was funny because all I saw was me being champion of the world, holding the belt. I didn’t think about all the in-between parts, the amateur boxing, traveling the world, being a prospect, a contender. I just thought automatically that I was going to be good. And that was that. “
That really was that: The Washington D.C.-based 140-pound fighter would eventually become the world champion that he envisioned at such a young age.
The card will be broadcast on NBC beginning at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT. Peterson says that he’s been training since October, an excruciatingly long camp, but that’s way he likes it—even if his corner has to occasionally intervene and force him to take a break.
“Lamont is that type of athlete that you have to save from himself,” says Peterson’s longtime trainer, Barry Hunter, of his fighter’s intense workout regimen. “They will literally train until they pass out. Literally.”
A self-described homebody who leaves his house primarily for the gym, Peterson’s a study in quiet intensity and focus.
He says that he doesn’t watch much TV and prefers to spend whatever downtime he has with his 6-year-old daughter.
He’s the kind of guy who’s so dedicated to his craft that it doesn’t seem like dedication to him.
It’s just what he does.
To him, the glory and the grind are one in the same—and if anything, it seems like Peterson prefers the latter.
“A lot of time, my trainers try to get me to not train certain days, but I love what I do,” he says. “It’s hard for me to just sit home and not be around boxing. When it comes time to take a day off, I might argue a little bit.”