Unbeaten boxers and former junior national roommates Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley and Lamont Peterson met the media on Tuesday to discuss their World Boxing Organization (WBO) Jr. Welterweight world title mega-matchup Saturday, Dec. 12 live on SHOWTIME® (9p ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast). “We’ve traveled together and are friends and know each other pretty well but it’s part of the business,” said Bradley from the ballroom at The Show at Agua Caliente Casino • Resort • Spa in Rancho Mirage, Calif., less than 10 miles from where he grew up in North Palm Springs. “I had to take this fight. I didn’t really want to take this fight but I had to. Once we get in the ring our friendship is out the door.”
“We do have a lot history together,” said Peterson. “We met when we were like 14, 15 years old. We always had a good time hanging out together. I want to see him do well in his career and I’m sure he wants the same for me but at the end of the day we have to get in the ring and someone has to lose. Someone’s career is going to go backwards.”
Added Bradley: “Lamont is laid back and quiet. Those are the guys that I fear the most. He’s always thinking. I know they’ve been breaking down my videos and studying me and that they’ll come in with a game plan.”
The 26-year-old Bradley (24-0, 11 KOs), who is coming off a no contest against former unified lightweight world champion Nate Campbell on Aug. 1 on SHOWTIME, is on a hot streak in the stacked 140-pound division. Bradley originally won the fight via highly controversial third-round TKO, but the decision was later changed to a NC by the California State Athletic Commission due to an accidental head butt that opened a cut over Campbell’s left eye.
Peterson (27-0, 13 KOs), of Washington, D.C., who is one of the hottest prospects in boxing, is coming off a seventh-round TKO over previously unbeaten Willy Blain on April 25, 2009 for the interim WBO junior welterweight title. Now he has his first shot at a world title against a man that no one in the 140-pound division has been able to beat.
In a co-feature, devastating knockout artist Vic “Raging Bull” Darchinyan (32-2-1, 26 KOs) of Sydney, Australia, will defend his International Boxing Federation (IBF) World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Association (WBA) 115-pound crowns against the hard-hitting Tomas Rojas (32-11-1, 22 KOs) of Veracruz, Mexico, in the co-feature.
The event is promoted by Gary Shaw Productions. Tickets went on sale Monday and are available for purchase online at www.HotWaterCasino.com/TheShow or by calling Star Tickets at (800) 585-3737.
Here’s a sampling of what the fighters had to say on Tuesday.
“The real reason I didn’t want to take this fight is to be honest there is no big money involved. I’m looking to make some big money and I want the bigger money fights. At this point in my career each fight is critical. A loss to Lamont Peterson and my career is down the toilet. Every fight is critical. I’ll take on any and all challengers as long as the money is there. That’s all I’m worried about.
“But I want also want to keep my WBO title. I love my WBO title and that’s why I have to go through guys like Lamont Peterson to keep my title and to get the bigger fights maybe next year.
“The promoters know I’ll fight anyone. When I fought Edner Cherry I fought another world champion. Most fighters won’t do that. Once they get in the Top 10 they don’t want to fight anyone.
“I know Lamont and I know his story and I know he’s from the streets and tough and that this is his defining moment. It’s kind of like when I went over to England and fought for the world title and I wasn’t going to take no for an answer. I’ve got a lot to lose by taking this fight and he’s got everything to gain. I know that. It’s a major, major fight for both of us.
“I just have to keep winning, that’s all. Knockout or no knockout I have to win. I pray every day for a knockout in front of my hometown crowd.
“The first fight here was amazing. I know the crowd will be electrifying and will come out and support me again.
“I’m so happy to be fighting on SHOWTIME. The bottom line is they have the most competitive fights.”
“You’ve got two young undefeated fighters going at each other so I know it’s going to be a great fight.
“I was actually here for Timothy’s last fight and I couldn’t believe Nate Campbell quit like that. As a fighter I don’t care if your toe comes off you or one of your hands comes off it’s your responsibility to fight while you’re in there. It’s up to the referee or the guy in your corner to stop the fight and not you. You’re supposed to fight no matter what the circumstance.
“I don’t care that he’s fighting at home. Whatever happens in the ring will happen in the ring. I can’t change a decision but I can control the things that happen in the ring and that’s all I can do. That’s all I can worry about and that’s all I can control.
“If I stick to my game plan it will be a good fight so I don’t really have to worry about putting on a good show for the fans or SHOWTIME. Timothy throws a lot of punches and I throw a good amount of punches so when there are a lot of punches thrown you’re going to be assured of a good fight.”
GARY SHAW (Bradley’s Promoter)
“This fight is going to be all about the action. Real fighters don’t want their fights stopped and that’s exactly what happened the last time Timmy fought against Nate Campbell. He just flat quit and he knows it and he should hang his head about it.
“When you come from the streets like Lamont did you have to be a survivor and a fighter like Lamont Peterson will never quit on a fight.
“Timothy Bradley does not know how to lose. He is a winner. But this is not an easy fight. Lamont Peterson is for real. Timothy has the advantage of being at home and that will be the key.”
On the Darchinyan-Rojas matchup: “Someone will knock the other one out. You have two guys who have a total of 48 knockouts. The oddsmakers have it at 4 to 1 in favor of Darchinyan but that doesn’t seem right. This is going to be a competitive fight. There will be a knockout.”
BOB ARUM (Peterson’s Promoter)
“This (Agua Caliente Casino) place is about to be discovered. Palm Springs has a rich boxing history and a lot of tradition. “Mavelous” Marvin Hagler used to train here and Bob Hope and Kurt Douglas and all the Hollywood luminaries would come and watch him and Roberto Duran train.
“You can’t have a better fight than this. Lamont’s story is one of the feel-good stories in boxing about how Barry Hunter found him and turned him into a fighter. Barry Hunter is one of the finest people in all of boxing.
“I have never met Timothy Bradley but I hear the same things about him. He has known Lamont since the JOs (Junior Olympics) and they have traveled all over together.
“These are two very respectable fighters. This sport is not about showmanship or trash-talking. Both of these fighters respect each other and are competitors who will go in there and see who the better fighter is.”
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