Dan Rafael: Lamont Peterson

Video: FNF News And Notes

June, 28, 2014
Jun 28
videoESPN.com senior writer Dan Rafael joins "Friday Night Fights" to look at the Aug. 9 card featuring junior welterweight titlists Danny Garcia and Lamont Peterson, preview the July 12 pay-per-view bout between Canelo Alvarez-Erislandy Lara and update the latest on a possible featherweight tournament.

D. Garcia to top Aug. 9 card

June, 23, 2014
Jun 23
Danny GarciaEthan Miller/Getty ImagesDanny Garcia's next fight could pave the way for a 140-pound showdown with Lamont Peterson.
Whether the mandatory fight between welterweight titlist Shawn Porter and England's Kell Brook takes place or not, it won't be on Aug. 9, as originally planned.

That was the date that Golden Boy, representing Porter, and Brook promoter Eddie Hearn settled on as they made a deal for the fight and avoided a purse bid.

However, both sides told ESPN.com over the weekend that the fight likely will be moved to another date while Golden Boy will still go ahead with an Aug. 9 Showtime card at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Topping the show will be junior welterweight champ Danny Garcia (28-0, 16 KOs) with junior welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson (32-2-1, 16 KOs) defending on the undercard.

Neither has an opponent yet, but Golden Boy's intention, if they both win, is to match them later in the year to unify their titles. That means Garcia, who talked about a move to welterweight following his tough decision win against Mauricio Herrera on March 15, probably will remain at 140 pounds for at least two more fights before moving up next year.

Also on the card, Brooklyn's own Daniel Jacobs (27-1, 24 KOs) will face Australia's Jarrod Fletcher (18-1, 10 KOs) for a secondary middleweight belt; Gennady Golovkin has the same organization's main title.

Porter-Brook headed to Aug. 9

June, 11, 2014
Jun 11
Despite Richard Schaefer’s resignation as Golden Boy Promotions CEO last week those at the company say it’s business as usual.

There are fights to arrange and cards to promote. President Oscar De La Hoya, fresh off his Sunday induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, is coming into the office regularly and working on events.

The company is promoting a June 21 Showtime tripleheader at the StubHub Center in Carson, California -- welterweight Robert Guerrero’s return against Yoshihiro Kamegai, Vasyl Lomachenko against Gary Russell Jr. for a vacant featherweight title and former welterweight titlist Devon Alexander against Jesus Soto Karass -- and also working on other events later in the summer.

One date in the works is tentatively an Aug. 9 Showtime card at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

One of the fights ticketed for that show is welterweight titlist Shawn Porter’s mandatory defense against England’s Kell Brook. Golden Boy and Brook promoter Eddie Hearn reached an agreement and a purse bid scheduled for last week was canceled, according to the IBF and Golden Boy vice president and matchmaker Eric Gomez.

“We have a verbal agreement, but there are still some little issues,” Gomez told ESPN.com. “But we have enough of an agreement that (the IBF) was comfortable enough to call off the purse bid. The date we’re shooting for is Aug. 9 but that could change. We have to dot our I’s and cross our T’s but everything is moving in the right direction.”

Several other potential bouts have been mentioned as possibilities for the card. One of them is a fight between Daniel Jacobs of Brooklyn, New York and Jarrod Fletcher of Australia for a vacant secondary middleweight title (since Gennady Golovkin was made a “super champion” by an organization).

Junior welterweight champ Danny Garcia has also been mentioned for the card as has junior welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson. (No, they are not fighting each other.)

But Garcia could also wind up fighting in September instead, according to Gomez.

Golden Boy also has addressed the mandatory defense of lightweight titlist Omar Figueroa against Daniel Estrada. A purse bid had been scheduled for June 6 in Mexico City, but Gomez said the sides made a deal.

“We have a deal in place but no date just yet,” he said.
Lamont Peterson and Lucas MatthysseAl Bello/Getty ImagesLucas Matthysse had been destroying opponents until he met Danny Garcia in 2013.

In 2012 and for most of 2013, junior welterweight slugger Lucas “The Machine” Matthysse was all but untouchable against a series of good opponents.

Many viewed him as the best 140-pound fighter in the world and he was the favorite when he squared off with unified titleholder Danny Garcia last September on the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Canelo Alvarez undercard in one of the year’s most anticipated fights, other than the main event.

It was understandable why Matthysse, who had an interim belt at the time, was expected to win after watching him obliterate his previous four opponents.

He crushed former lightweight titleholder Humberto Soto in the fifth round; became the first to beat then-undefeated Olusegun Ajose, knocking him out in the 10th round; annihilated poor Mike Dallas by way of pulverizing first-round knockout; and then walked through junior welterweight titleholder Lamont Peterson, dropping him three times in a destructive third-round tour de force in a nontitle bout.

But then Garcia did what he always does. Win.

Garcia blew up Matthysse’s right eye, dropped him in the 11th round and won a hard-fought decision victory to not only retain his belts but stamp himself as the true champion at 140 pounds.

Matthysse (34-3, 32 KOs) is now ready to embark on his comeback, hoping to shake off the loss and get back on track to another title opportunity.

He returns to face powerful but limited John Molina on Saturday night (Showtime, 9:30 ET/PT with preliminary bouts on Showtime Extreme beginning at 7 ET/PT) at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., in the co-feature of the card headlined by interim welterweight titlist Keith Thurman defending against Julio Diaz.

"All fights are important but this one is especially very important for me to win so that I can get back to where I was in the division,” Matthysse said through a translator at Wednesday’s media workout. “In my last fight, I thought everything was going my way until I caught an elbow in my right eye. I don't think it was a punch, but it turned the fight around.

"I felt I was dominating, fighting with two eyes, but with one eye he got the momentum. It was disappointing. I thought my career was on the fast track and I gave it 100 percent, but I could not fight like I wanted.”

A win on Saturday should put Matthysse, 31, right back in the picture for another major fight at 140 pounds or perhaps he will want to move up to the talent-rich 147-pound division, where his promoter, Golden Boy, and adviser Al Haymon have numerous elite opponents that he would match up well with.

"I don't believe the defeat has derailed me too badly, but I need to win against Molina to show that I am back,” Matthysse said. "Molina is a strong, confident fighter who comes forward. In his knockout victory against Mickey Bey, I saw a very hungry fighter. But I didn't really see a whole lot more from him. I have fought and beat much better."

Molina was being taken to school by Bey when they met in a lightweight fight in July. Molina, 31, of Covina, Calif., had lost virtually every round but rallied for a dramatic knockout in the final minute of the 10th and final round.

Molina (27-3, 22 KOs) then moved up to junior welterweight for an easy second-round knockout win in November against a low-level opponent. Matthysse, however, is a serious foe and many expect him to test the chin of Molina, who got knocked out in 44 seconds challenging then-lightweight titleholder Antonio DeMarco in September 2012.

"Fighting at 140 is a gift for me,” Molina said. “This is my second fight at junior welter but I feel better than I ever have. So moving up from 135 will not be a factor. The bad loss to DeMarco was a few years ago but I needed that to become the pro that I am today. I now have the experience of fighting on the big stage that I didn't then.

"The odds are against me each time out but I have a fighting spirit and I have a desire to win against all odds that others don't. There was never any self-doubt. Against the kind of fighter Matthysse is, I have the opportunity to show what I'm really all about. I showed it once against Bey on Showtime and I'm confident I can do it again on Saturday."

Khan joins Haymon's stable

April, 15, 2014
Apr 15
The stable of powerful adviser Al Haymon continued to grow Wednesday as he added yet another prominent fighter -- former unified junior welterweight titlist Amir Khan of England.

The signing comes as little surprise, as Khan has talked about signing with Haymon in recent weeks.

“I am very happy to have signed with Al Haymon, who has not only shown that he is a very astute businessman, but is extremely knowledgeable of the fight game and always has his fighters’ best interests at heart,” Khan said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to building a long and successful relationship during this exciting stage of my career.”

Khan’s next fight is already set. He will face former welterweight titlist Luis Collazo -- another Haymon client -- in a welterweight bout on May 3 in the co-feature of the Showtime PPV card headlined by the welterweight unification fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Marcos Maidana, both of whom also are Haymon clients.

The Khan-Collazo winner figures to be in great position to land a shot at Mayweather in the fall, assuming he defeats Maidana.

Haymon also recently signed light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson, welterweight contender Robert Guerrero, junior welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson and his brother, lightweight Anthony Peterson.

Haymon also handles, among others, top fighters Adrien Broner, Danny Garcia, Lucas Matthysse, Deontay Wilder, Chris Arreola, Peter Quillin, Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman, Paulie Malignaggi, Sakio Bika, Chad Dawson and Rances Barthelemy.

Peterson brothers join Haymon

March, 18, 2014
Mar 18
Lamont Peterson, Dierry JeanTom Casino/ShowtimeJunior welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson was among three new fighters to align with Al Haymon.
The roster of Al Haymon fighters just keeps growing and growing.

Boxing's most influential adviser added three more fighters to his stable in the past week, signing the Peterson brothers -- junior welterweight titlist Lamont and lightweight Anthony -- along with junior lightweight contender Rances Barthelemy, according to Sam Watson, Haymon's right-hand man.

“We signed them and we're happy to have them," Watson said.

The signings come on the heels of other recent signings that include light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson, former welterweight titleholder Luis Collazo and former light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson.

Lamont Peterson (32-2-1, 16 KOs) defended his title on Jan. 25 and has nothing scheduled, but younger brother Anthony (32-1, 21 KOs), who has fought just twice since a disqualification loss in a title eliminator to Brandon Rios in 2010, returns in this week's "Friday Night Fights" co-feature on ESPN2 when he faces Marcos Jimenez (20-4, 13 KOs) in a 10-round bout at the Morongo Castino Resort & Spa in Cabazon, Calif.

Barthelemy (19-0, 12 KOs) thought he won a 130-pound world title by second-round knockout of Argenis Mendez on Jan. 3 but the result was later changed by the Minnesota commission to a no decision because the knockout blows were thrown after the bell ended the round. Mendez appealed the result and won, so the outcome was changed and he retained the title. They are due to meet in a mandatory rematch, probably in the early summer.

Haymon represents numerous top fighters, most notably pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. But there are so many more, including Marcos Maidana, Adrien Broner, Danny Garcia, Lucas Matthysse, Beibut Shumenov, Devon Alexander, Deontay Wilder, Peter Quillin, Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman, Erislandy Lara, Paulie Malignaggi, Andre Berto, Chris Arreola, Sakio Bika, Gary Russell Jr. and twins Jermell and Jermall Charlo.

Haymon also signed several members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic boxing team, including Dominic Breazeale, Marcus Browne, Terrell Gausha, Errol Spence Jr. and flyweight Rau'shee Warren.

HBO calls off April 26 plans

March, 13, 2014
Mar 13
Gennady Golovkin and Curtis StevensJoe Camporeale/USA TODAY SportsWith Gennady Golovkin not fighting April 26 following the death of his father, the card was canceled.

A few notes from the boxing world:

• HBO had planned to have a boxing card April 26 but now will go dark. The initial plan was for a card at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York headlined by middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin against Andy Lee. The co-feature was supposed to be junior middleweight James Kirkland against Willie Nelson. But two weeks ago, Golovkin withdrew following the death of his father in order to attend to family business in Kazakhstan. HBO was still planning to go forward with a card, but when it could not line up a suitable main event, the network said on Tuesday it was pulling the plug on boxing that day. That means it will also not televise Wladimir Klitschko’s heavyweight title defense against Alex Leapai from Germany. There was discussion that HBO would add a tape delay of Klitschko’s fight from earlier in the day to its prime-time telecast.

“With Gennady unavailable to us, HBO is moving off the date,” an HBO spokesperson said. “We will move on to our other boxing programming initiatives for the spring and early summer.”

• Lightweight Anthony Peterson, the younger brother of junior welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson, will make a rare ring appearance when he faces Marco Jimenez (20-4, 13 KOs) on ESPN2’s “Friday Night Fights” on March 21 at the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa in Cabazon, Calif., promoter Dan Goossen announced. The 10-round fight will be the co-feature on the card headlined by junior middleweight contender Vanes Martirosyan facing Mario Lozano.

Once a highly regarded contender, Peterson (32-1, 21 KOs), 28, of Washington, D.C., has been inactive in recent years. Since being knocked down and then disqualified in the seventh round for repeated low blows against Brandon Rios in a September 2010 light title eliminator, Peterson has fought just twice against low-level opponents, once in 2011 and once in 2013.

• Hall of Famer Azumah Nelson of Ghana, a former featherweight and junior lightweight champion, has been released from the hospital after a car accident with a taxi last week, according to media reports in Ghana. Nelson suffered a gash on his head and was taken to the hospital.
For one week at least, ESPN2’s “Friday Night Fights” will come to you on a Thursday night with a special May 1 edition from Hialeah Park, the iconic South Florida race track, and there’s an interesting main event: Robert Garcia versus Victor Manuel Cayo in a 10-round welterweight fight.

Garcia (34-3, 22 KOs), of Weslaco, Texas, who is moving down in weight from junior middleweight, is riding a six-fight winning streak since a decision loss to former welterweight titlist Antonio Margarito in 2010. In his most recent fight, Garcia headlined “FNF” on Feb. 7 and won a spirited split decision against Norberto Gonzalez.

The Dominican Republic’s Cayo (32-4, 23 KOs), who will be in his second welterweight fight since moving up in weight from junior welterweight, was a longtime fringe contender at 140 pounds, although he lost when he stepped up in competition, getting stopped by Marcos Maidana, Lamont Peterson and Nate Campbell.

"Garcia is on the comeback trail,” Warriors Boxing promoter Leon Margules said. “He lost a unanimous decision (to Margarito), but that's the only defeat on his record dating back to 2004.

"Cayo is also trying to work his way back into title contention as well. He lost a tough fight last year against a real good fighter named Emmanuel Taylor. But in his most recent bout, he knocked out his opponent in the first round.”

In the 10-round co-feature, Puerto Rican middleweight Jonathan Gonzalez (17-0-1, 14 KOs) will face an opponent to be determined. Also on the card in a six-rounder will be middleweight James McGirt Jr. (22-3-1, 11 KOs), the son former welterweight titlist and noted trainer Buddy McGirt, who hasn’t fought since 2010.

Thurman, Matthysse doubleheader

March, 7, 2014
Mar 7
LAS VEGAS -- Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer likes for his fight cards to have a theme. For example, Saturday night’s Showtime PPV card, headlined by an expected brawl between Canelo Alvarez and Alfredo Angulo, is called “Toe To Toe,” for obvious reasons.

On April 26, Schaefer is planning to call a Showtime card “Heavy Hitters,” because he is penciling in two of the company’s most exciting punchers to appear in separate bouts against opponents to be determined -- interim welterweight titlist Keith Thurman (22-0, 20 KOs) and junior welterweight banger Lucas “The Machine” Matthysse (34-3, 32 KOs).

Schaefer said he hopes to stage the event at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., which has been home to many exciting fights over the years, although the venue is not locked in.

Thurman had a breakout 2013, rolling to a shutout decision against former welterweight titlist Jan Zaveck last March, knocking out Diego Chaves in the 10th round to win an interim title in July and then mowing down Jesus Soto Karass in the ninth round of an exciting fight in December.

Matthysse, from Argentina, had been on a knockout binge, including a stunningly easy third-round knockout of junior welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson in a nontitle bout in May. But then Matthysse, although the favorite, lost a decision in a hard-hitting fight to junior welterweight champ Danny Garcia in September on the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Alvarez card.

Schaefer declined to talk about potential opponents, but said he was excited about having two of boxing’s most fan-friendly fighters on the same card.

“These are two of our big guns,” Schaefer said. “We want to put them in with good opponents and watch the punches fly.”

Canelo PPV date set for Las Vegas

November, 20, 2013
Had a chat with Golden Boy chief executive Richard Schaefer on Tuesday and he mentioned a few things:

• Former junior middleweight titlist Canelo Alvarez's March 8 Showtime PPV fight will take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Schaefer originally said he was also looking at sites in Texas and Southern California. Alvarez, coming off his title loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in their record-breaking unification bout in September at the MGM Grand, does not have an opponent yet. However, an offer for more than $10 million has been extended to former titlist Miguel Cotto.

• Junior welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson's mandatory defense against Dierry Jean is likely going to be Jan. 25 on Showtime at the D.C. Armory in Peterson's hometown of Washington, D.C. A junior middleweight bout between Jermell Charlo and Gabriel Rosado is in the works for the undercard.

• A Feb. 15 Showtime card at the Staples Center is in the works to be headlined by the rematch between featherweight titlist Jhonny Gonzalez and former titlist Abner Mares. Gonzalez knocked out Mares in the first round on Aug. 24 and Mares exercised his contractual right to a rematch.

Peterson to defend against Jean

November, 6, 2013
Lamont Peterson, Kendall HoltJim Watson/AFP/Getty ImagesA purse bid was held for Lamont Peterson's junior welterweight title defense against Dierry Jean.

Golden Boy Promotions won the purse bid for junior welterweight titleholder Lamont Peterson’s mandatory title defense against Dierry Jean on Tuesday and has 90 days to put on the fight.

Golden Boy, which promotes Peterson, won with an offer of $156,000 at the auction at IBF headquarters in Springfield, N.J., beating the only other bid, which was $111,121 by Jean promoter Eye of the Tiger.

As the titleholder, Peterson is entitled to 75 percent of the winning bid ($117,000) with Jean to receive the remaining 25 percent ($39,000).

Golden Boy chief executive Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com that although the exact date and location for the 140-pound world title bout has not been set, he is looking at doing the fight on Jan. 30 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., or in early February at a venue in Washington, D.C., which is Peterson’s hometown.

“The plan is clearly to have it on the East Coast,” Schaefer said. “I’m planning to do an event tied to Super Bowl week in New York, so we could have the fight then in Brooklyn or we might go to Washington in early February. It depends on finalizing the TV platform. I am going to talk to those who have expressed an interest in the fight and I will work on that in the next few days.”

Schaefer said the bout could be on Showtime, Fox Sports 1 or ESPN2.

Although Peterson (31-2-1, 16 KOs), 29, holds the title, he is coming off a nasty knockout loss. On May 18 in Atlantic City, N.J., Lucas Matthysse drilled Peterson in the third round of a one-sided nontitle bout fought at a contract limit of 141 pounds, one over the division maximum. So even though Peterson lost, he still has the title.

“Lamont Peterson is an exciting guy who got caught in his last fight by Lucas Matthysse, but many before him have been caught by Lucas Matthysse. That happens,” Schaefer said. “I am sure Lamont has learned from this. He knows this fight is high noon for him. It’s like do or die for him. I know Lamont will come prepared.

“He doesn’t want the road to end here. He knows what’s at stake. The 140-pound weight class is still a loaded weight class and so defending his title is important and I am sure he wants to do it in spectacular fashion.”

Peterson won his title in Washington by controversial split decision against Amir Khan in December 2011. The rematch was slated for a few months later, but Peterson failed a random pre-fight drug test for elevated levels of testosterone and the fight was canceled.

Peterson was stripped of one of his two world title belts and did not fight again until scoring an eighth-round knockout of former titleholder Kendall Holt in a February title defense in Washington. In Peterson’s next fight, Matthysse knocked him out.

Jean (25-0, 17 KOs), 31, a native of Haiti living in Montreal, scored his biggest win in his last fight on May 10, a fourth-round knockout of Cleotis Pendarvis in Miami, Okla., in a title eliminator that made him Peterson’s mandatory challenger.

“Dierry is exciting and even though he is not that well known in the United States, I think that based on his style, we will see a helluva fight between him and Lamont,” Schaefer said.

Garcia-Matthysse on Sept. 14 card?

July, 18, 2013
Danny Garcia, Zab JudahElsa/Getty ImagesDanny Garcia, right, is close to being matched with Lucas Matthysse on an enormous Sept. 14 card.

One of the most anticipated fights in boxing is a showdown between top junior welterweights Danny Garcia and Lucas Matthysse, a matchup that has been in the works since Matthysse destroyed Lamont Peterson in three rounds in May while a stunned Garcia watched from ringside.

Now it appears that not only will the fight happen, but that we will get it as the co-feature on the Sept. 14 Showtime PPV card headlined by the biggest fight of the year -- pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. taking on Canelo Alvarez in a junior middleweight unification fight.

On Wednesday, Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer scheduled a Thursday afternoon media teleconference "to make a major fight announcement."

The immediate speculation was that it would be to announce that Garcia-Matthysse was not only made but that it would be on the Mayweather-Alvarez undercard. According to two sources involved in the promotion, that is exactly what the call is about, both told me Thursday morning.

It doesn't come as a huge surprise, if that indeed is what the call turns out to be for, even though the initial target date for Garcia-Matthysse was Sept. 7. Schaefer has told me numerous times in recent weeks that his aim was to not only get the fight done but to figure out a way to add the very expensive bout to the undercard to make it a truly special show.

If Schaefer -- who didn't return messages seeking comment -- has gotten this deal done, it gives the Mayweather-Alvarez pay-per-view two A-plus fights and makes the card at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas one of the most can't-miss pay-per-views in history.

Garcia-Matthysse is a fight that, in virtually any other circumstance, would headline its own major Showtime card. Although the fight probably won't get as much attention as it would have on its own, the tradeoff should be worth it for the fighters, who still will earn major seven-figure paydays.

By appearing on Mayweather's undercard, the winner of Garcia-Matthysse -- assuming it's a crowd-pleasing fight (and how could it not be?) -- will create buzz as the obvious next opponent for Mayweather, who undoubtedly will return to the welterweight division (where he also has a title) after facing Alvarez. The Garcia-Matthysse winner will have done all that he can at junior welterweight, will be the recognized champion at 140 pounds and be poised for a move up in weight for a megafight with Mayweather.

Just on their own, the fights between Danny Garcia and Zab Judah, who met April 27, and Lamont Peterson and Lucas Matthysse, who meet Saturday night (Showtime, 9 ET/PT) at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., are attractive matchups.

Garcia is a unified junior welterweight titleholder and the No. 1 fighter at 140 pounds. Judah is a former three-time titleholder with one of the biggest names in the sport. As it turned out, they waged an excellent fight with plenty of drama, and Garcia survived to win a unanimous decision.

Peterson, who also has one of the world titles, and Matthysse, an interim titleholder, are the Nos. 2 and 3 fighters in the division, and they have styles that should mesh beautifully and make for a terrific fight.

But when Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer and Showtime Sports boss Stephen Espinoza put together the fights, they had a grander idea than simply having the individual bouts separated by three weeks.

The plan was for the Garcia-Judah winner to face the Peterson-Matthysse winner to crown a 140-pound king in an unofficial tournament because the four fighters have not signed contracts calling for the final.

But that remains the plan, and everyone involved appears to be on board. The target date for Garcia to meet Saturday night’s winner is Sept. 7.

After Garcia defeated Judah, he came to the post-fight news conference and said to count him in.

“You know me, I'll fight anybody,” Garcia said. “If that's what [manager] Al Haymon [who recently signed Matthysse] wants, then that's what I'll do. I think Peterson will win [against Matthysse].”

Garcia plans to be ringside on Saturday night,too.

“Garcia is committed to it and the other two want to do it as well,” Schaefer said. “All the fighters are on board and so are the managers. I have to still discuss the money but [after Saturday] we’ll sit down with Showtime and work out a license fee.”

Although Peterson and Matthysse face a difficult assignment against each other, both also want Garcia next.

Peterson has wanted nothing more than to face elite opponents. He has faced Victor Ortiz and Timothy Bradley Jr. (both of whom are now welterweights). Peterson said he is all about proving he is No. 1 at 140 pounds.

“At the end of the day, those are some of the top guys in the division and to me that’s what boxing’s all about,” Peterson said. “Once you get to this level it shouldn’t be no more 'C class' fighters. There should be top-level guys, top five. I don’t even want to say top 10. It should be the top five guys. And those are some of the names that are in the top five, in my book, so I have no problem with that lineup. [So as for fighting Garcia], yeah, yeah, I’m definitely OK with it.”

As interim titlist, Matthysse is Garcia’s mandatory challenger, and that is the fight he has wanted even more than the one with Peterson.

“Yes, definitely, definitely, that’s what I want,” Matthysse said of facing Garcia. “I want that, if that’s the reason for this fight [with Peterson]. I hope that everything comes out OK because, yes, I would love to fight Danny Garcia.”

Matthysse nearly stuck at home

May, 17, 2013
Lucas MatthysseJeff Gross/Golden Boy Promotions/Getty ImagesLucas Matthysse almost missed Saturday's fight after a robbery at his home, according to one source.

Interim junior welterweight titlist Lucas Matthysse was supposed to arrive in New York on Tuesday morning on a flight from his native Argentina that would give him plenty of time to make it the final news conference on Wednesday to promote his 141-pound nontitle showdown with junior welterweight titleholder Lamont Peterson.

They are scheduled to meet Saturday night (Showtime, 9 ET/PT) at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.

But when Matthysse was a no-show at the media event, the reason for his surprising absence was glossed over. Promoter Golden Boy simply attributed it to "a travel issue" and moved on to Peterson and welterweight titlist Devon Alexander and his challenger, Lee Purdy, who will meet in the co-feature.

But behind the scenes there was worry. Golden Boy officials were concerned about whether Matthysse would make it to the United States in time -- or at all -- for the fight.

A source involved in the fight told ESPN.com that Matthysse's home in Argentina was robbed last weekend. During the robbery, according to the source, Matthysse's passport was badly defaced and rendered unusable. It is believed by Matthysse's camp, the source said, that it was an inside job by somebody clearly upset with Matthysse and purposely trying to screw up his travel plans for the fight. After all, burglars don't break into a stranger's home and then go hunting for a passport to destroy.

The intruder almost prevented Matthysse from fighting. Golden Boy spent the early part of the week contemplating a contingency plan in case Matthysse couldn't make it to America in time. What Golden Boy hoped to work out with Showtime in the event that Matthysse couldn't travel would have been to elevate Alexander-Purdy to the main event, with the welterweight fight between unbeaten prospects Shawn Porter and Phil LoGreco getting bumped up to the main broadcast from its slot on the Showtime Extreme portion of the card.

As of last Friday night, Matthysse didn't have a usable passport and needed to get one on short notice in order to get a visa. His team in Argentina was up to the challenge and worked very quickly. Somehow the time-consuming process was completed in a few days.

According to the source, Matthysse had been issued a new passport by the time the Wednesday news conference had started, saving Golden Boy officials from having to explain the situation to the media and to Peterson (31-1-1, 16 KOs).

With his paperwork in hand, Matthysse (33-2, 31 KOs) flew overnight on Wednesday night from Argentina to New York and arrived on Thursday morning. He and his team then drove to Atlantic City and were there by Thursday afternoon to rest, work out, do some interviews, get ready for Friday's weigh-in and, thankfully, Saturday night's big fight.

Holt cleared of taking HCG

April, 9, 2013
Kendall Holt, Lamont Peterson Jim Watson/AFP/Getty ImagesKendall Holt, left, still needs some medical testing, even after being cleared of taking HCG.

Former junior welterweight titlist Kendall Holt believes the issues surrounding his atypical urine test following an eighth-round knockout loss to Lamont Peterson in their Feb. 22 world title fight have been cleared up, but he still needs further medical testing.

Holt’s sample showed the presence of the banned substance human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). However, the test results were deemed atypical -- simply not normal -- as opposed to a failed drug test because HCG can be naturally produced by the body and could be an indicator of some other medical issue, including the presence of cancer.

On Monday Holt released a statement updating the situation.

“I am pleased to announce that according to laboratory results I am not under suspicion of having taken a banned substance in connection with my bout against Lamont Peterson,” Holt said. “We have received an email from Dr. David Eichner, director of the [World Anti-Doping Agency] accredited Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory that my results ‘do not suggest doping.’

“As explained to me, ‘intact HCG’ indicates the use of that banned substance. A confirmatory test reflected that I did not have ‘intact HCG’ and thus doping was ruled out in my case. There is an atypical finding for ‘non-intact HCG,’ which, as explained to me, is naturally produced. That finding will be explored further by my physicians. This explanation, too, was provided directly by the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory located in Salt Lake City.

“I requested a full WADA drug screening at the time of my bout with Lamont Peterson. Under the circumstances I am very glad that I did because it not only provided protection against drug cheating but also alerted me when I finally got the proper information of the need for further medical testing. I look forward to returning to the ring at 147 pounds.”