On Saturday night, at Xavier University’s Cintas Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, Lamont Peterson (35-3-1, 17 KOs) won the “regular” WBA World Welterweight title from a game David Avanesyan (22-2-1, 11 KOs) in gritty war of attrition.
In his first outing at Welterweight, Peterson proved early that he could’ve boxed Avanesyan comfortably from the outside, but he chose a more difficult path.
Peterson seemed more apt to fighting on the inside when the aggressive Avanesyan upped the intensity of his attack, hitting a cautious Peterson with fast combinations to the head and body, behind his guard.
Avanesyan also briefly switched to southpaw late in the second round, where an accidental clash of heads opened a cut above his right eye. The eye proved to be no issue for Avanesyan, though Peterson’s vicious assaulting of his midsection would over time.
Peterson’s body attack didn’t take root immediately, he seemed set on throwing one punch at a time, allowing Avanesyan to have a strong showing in the third and fourth rounds.
Although it wasn’t as effective as it seemed in that moment, Peterson was dead set on fighting on the Russian-born Armenian’s terms.
By the midway point, the fight had turned into a full-blown phone booth fight. Both fighters were standing forearm-to-forearm, trading shots to the body and head, as Peterson focused his most thudding shots to the body.
By the seventh, you could hear the Peterson’s crew loudly chanting “D.C.” as he bullied Avanesyan into the ropes with hard combinations; first to the body and then the head. Late in the fight Peterson’s body punching had worn the busy, but ineffective Avanesyan down, even though Avanesyan kept punching.
The former champion seemed to have lost any starch he had on his punches. Peterson knew it, too, because he began to bully Avaneysan. Peterson was pressing Avanesyan by thrusting his weight on him and forcing him back, all while punishing his midsection.
Those body shots were visibly taking the fight out of Avanesyan. In the final round, the rugged Avanesyan proved game despite his inability to land anything meaningful. Peterson finished strong, throwing caution to the wind looking to stop Avanesyan, but he walked away with a unanimous decision, returning a piece of the strap he once had at 140 pounds.
Judge Phil Rodgers scored it 115-113 for Peterson, while judges Steve Weisfeld and Robert Pope both scored it 116-112. Peterson is known to be a gym rat and though it seemed that the 16 months of inactivity had a slight effect on his performance, when asked about the long layoff, Peterson didn’t rely on the layoff excuse.
“I was expected to pick up where I left off. 16 months may seem like a long time, but if you’ve been in the gym and still work on your craft. It gave me some time to work on some things. Like Conditioning and Technique. We went over some things and I think I took some steps forward tonight,” said Peterson.
When asked about the effort Avanesyan put forth Peterson responded, “I expected to put pressure on him the way I did. I didn’t think that he would come back and fight at times as hard as he did, but He showed up, he showed why he’s a champion and why he belongs on this level.”
With the other piece of the WBA Welterweight title held by Keith Thurman, who is set to face Peterson’s rival, Danny Garcia on March 4, Peterson is definitely positioning himself to face the winner.
When asked if he would like to face the winner, Peterson gave a politically correct answer.
“Anyone in the Welterweight division, I’m up for it.”
Seems we have some new players in the Welterweight division with unfinished business. No matter who Peterson ends up fighting, it will be great for the fans.