Lamont Peterson has been through two tough fights at catchweights between 140 and 147 pounds this year, and been on both sides of majority decisions. He lost a close one to Danny Garcia in April, but righted himself Saturday at EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia, with a win over a game Felix Diaz.
After getting the nod on two of the three judges' scorecards, though, Peterson said it’s time for him to leave the 140-pound division behind and step up for good to 147.
“I didn’t like the way I felt in the middle rounds,” Peterson said. “Especially in the last round, you saw me touch my ab. There was a big knot in one of my abs. It wasn’t a feeling I wanted during a fight. I get it in training sometimes, but never in a fight. It’s time to move up.”
If this was Peterson’s last fight below 147, he went out with a bang, capturing a win over a foe who didn’t give an inch.
Lamont Peterson (34-3-1, 17 KOs) came out looking to make a quick start with a sustained body attack and keep Felix Diaz (17-1, 8 KOs) moving backward in order to prevent the shorter man from getting up a head of steam.
But Diaz had other ideas. He would frequently pounce after Peterson threw his shots, coming in and answering with combinations of his own.
Whenever Peterson would get Diaz on the ropes or in the corner, the 2008 Olympic gold medalist from the Dominican Republic showed tremendous skill and savvy in pivoting off, frequently with a counter to open up space between himself and Peterson.
“Part of my game plan was don’t let him go to my left, his right, and over and over again I let him get away on that side,” Peterson said. “It’s something I’m going to have to go to the gym and work on and keep getting better.”
Peterson came into the fight expecting Diaz, who had never been in a 12-round fight, to flag during the later rounds. But that never really happened.
Diaz was strong and spry through the 11th and 12th rounds, including a furious final frame during which he outpunched Peterson 85 to 36.
“In the middle rounds I thought he was going to be done,” Peterson said. “He didn’t shock me, but it surprised me he sucked it up and kept fighting. He was fading toward the middle. I guess he knew this was his shot, so he fought hard.”
Diaz did enough to keep it close with a sharp performance that should open doors for him at 140 and 147, where he’s competed in the past. Maybe too close for Peterson’s comfort, after that majority decision against Garcia—who himself stepped up to 147 after their April fight.
Judge Brian Costello scored the bout 114-114, but Peterson received winning margins of 117-111 and 116-112 on the other two cards.
“It kind of got to me when they said 114-114, but once they said 117 I knew,” Peterson said. “No way he got that many.”
For video, photos, highlights and more, make sure to check out our Peterson vs Diaz fight page.