(Lamont Peterson at the weigh-in. Credit: me)
First things first: Amir Khan weighed 140, Lamont Peterson weighed 139 and both looked to be in fine shape at Friday’s weigh-in. That’s the boring part. The less-boring part comes from roaming around the Carnegie Library talking to the people at the weigh-in. Below, find some musings from Paulie Malignaggi and Paul Williams on their next fights, from promoter Oscar De La Hoya and ring announcer Henry “Discombobulating” Jones on boxing’s future in Washington, D.C. and more.
Jones: The local ring announcer said D.C. had gotten “complacent” after a period where the region hosted titlists like William Joppy, Sharmba Mitchell, Keith Holmes, DeMarcus Corley and Mark Johnson, among others. “We had it on lock for a minute, but we didn’t sustain it.” Now there’s some local talent in the pipeline, like the Peterson brothers, Gary Russell Jr. and Seth Mitchell, who’s also fighting Saturday. The show is selling well — Jones said it was on track to sell out, in fact — and if it does, maybe the region can again become a boxing hotbed. “That’s what we’re hoping,” Jones said. “But the fighters got to their jobs.” Even if they don’t win, though, they can maintain local interest in their careers with good showings, like Peterson showed against Timothy Bradley. “There’s no disgrace in losing how he did.”
De La Hoya: Take everything the Golden Boy Promotions boss says with a grain of salt, but I liked the sound of these words from Oscar, shouted to the crowd prior to the weigh-in: “D.C. — We will be back over and over and over again with world class boxing.”
Malignaggi: The talkative welterweight is doing commentary on this card for BBC Saturday, having fought and lost to Khan once. He said he tried to make fights with both Marcos Maidana and Devon Alexander, but instead they’re fighting each other. So now he’s going after Ring’s #5 rated welter, Viacheslav Senchenko. The question is whether Paulie will go over there — which he’ll do for the right money, he said, because he’s worried people don’t tend to win decisions in Senchenko’s part of the world — or whether Senchenko, a Ukrainian, comes here. Senchenko, my frequent reporting partner David P. Greisman said, might feel the same worries about getting decisions on U.S. soil. But Malignaggi answered that there’s at least an advantage for Senchenko coming over here. “Nobody knows him. It’s easy for him to stay over there and fight garbage. He could come here and fight somebody.” He thinks Khan is going to be too busy for Peterson, and with Peterson holding his guard high it could be like Khan’s fight with Andriy Kotelnyk, where Khan might not land much of consequence but he’ll be the one to win over the judges.
Don Chargin: The Hall of Fame promoter is working as a consultant for Golden Boy Promotions, and he’s affiliated with Timor Ibragimov, who’s fighting Mitchell. Chargin likes Ibragimov’s chances. Is it because Mitchell is too green? “I’m hoping so.” He’s less bullish on Eloy Perez, a junior lightweight he’s worked with, defeating Adrien Broner if they face one another in early 2012. He doesn’t think Perez, who’s just coming into his own as a fighter, is quite ready for someone like Broner yet. “He’s gotten better” over the past year, Chargin says of Broner, but needs more seasoning.
Williams and George Peterson: Williams said he’s due to fight Jan. 21, but it’s not clear if it’ll be Nobuhiro Ishida. “I don’t know who,” he said. “If it’s the way we usually do, we’ll get our opponent at the last minute.” Williams doesn’t care if it’s Ishida or anyone else. “It doesn’t matter. When I fight you’re going to see something, whether you like it or not. It’s going to be something you’re going to talk about. I put on a show.” He said he doesn’t have any worries about fans being upset about him getting a decision win over Erislandy Lara that has been called one of the worst robberies of recent years. “I feel good. I’m still 40-2, 27 KOs. I don’t go by what the commentators say.” If he had his way, he’d do a rematch with Lara or Martinez, but he’d also be interested in a fight with Saul Alvarez or Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. While his promoter has talked about him staying at junior middleweight, Williams said he’d move up to 160 for a Chavez fight. “I go where the money goes.” As for what went down, per a question from RingTV’s Lem Satterfield he said Lara’s style “didn’t throw me off.” But he was coming off a long layoff and Lara’s decision to “pot shot” and “run” helped make the fight less appealing. Style-wise, he’d prefer to fight people less like Lara: “Of course I want someone to just come in and mix it up.” As for what he would want in his next fight, if it’s with Ishida, Williams said: “I’m going to have a Paul Williams performance. I’d go in there and break him off. I’m thinking pain.”
Wiliams trainer Peterson seconded the notion of a Lara or Martinez rematch, but said Lara’s promoter (Golden Boy) is looking in a different direction. Peterson wants the most competitive fight for Williams possible. “Paul will fight anybody at anytime. We would take any fight we could get.” Williams’ notorious tendency to get hit with left hands is something Williams had worked on in camp, Peterson said, but in the ring Williams didn’t “execute.”