Bradley pounds Peterson to keep 140-pound title
Timothy Bradley took Lamont Peterson's best shot and didn't exactly smile.
Even with a sore midsection in the toughest fight of his career, Bradley stuck to his strategy and finished up another impressive victory for one of boxing's rising champions.
Bradley defended his WBO 140-pound title and remained unbeaten with a dominant unanimous decision over Peterson on Saturday night, delighting the hometown crowd that was chanting his name even before the opening bell.
Bradley (25-0, 11 KOs) impressed with his superior skill and speed, blemishing the perfect record of his friend and former roommate from their amateur days. But Peterson provided a formidable test, even before the fight.
``Lamont had me nervous,'' Bradley said after the bout, grinning below his oversized sunglasses. ``I don't get too nervous, but this is one fight I was nervous for. I felt like an amateur again.''
Peterson (27-1), the Washington, D.C., native who overcame childhood homelessness to become a title contender, was knocked down for the first time in his career by an overhand right in the third round.
Peterson rallied courageously, landing some of his best shots to Bradley's body later in that round, but Bradley picked him apart through the rest of the fight in his usual ``Desert Storm'' style.
``He came out and made me fight like no one ever has,'' Bradley said. ``I think experience played a real big role. He had the right game plan, but he got a little careless, and he was rushing in there instead of following his jab. When he came in is when I nailed him.''
Judge Fritz Werner gave every round to Bradley, scoring the fight 120-107, while Jose Cobian gave one round to Peterson for a 119-108 total. Judge Denny Nelson and The Associated Press both scored it 118-110 for Bradley.
Bradley had another outstanding night in the same desert casino where he dominated Nate Campbell for three rounds on Aug. 1 in a fight eventually ruled a no-contest due to an accidental head-butt.
Bradley might be the world's top fighter at 140 pounds, and he's hoping to be the biggest name in a division that no longer features Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton.
``I will fight whoever they want me to fight, and I don't care where I have to go,'' Bradley said.
Gary Shaw, Bradley's co-promoter, said the WBO already had been approached that night by Frank Warren, who promotes British Olympic silver medalist Amir Khan, about a matchup in England early next year.
``I would have no problem going over to England to fight in front of 40,000 screaming Brits,'' Shaw said. ``(Khan) has been down once for the count. I don't think this is a hard fight for Timothy Bradley. I'm surprised that Frank Warren wants it, but we would do it.''
Bradley caught Peterson with a nasty right hand to the nose about 60 seconds before the end of the first round, staggering Peterson back to the ropes. Bradley landed another handful of damaging right hands in the second round, with Peterson struggling to contain his speed and power.
``My game plan was to win the first round, but in the middle of the first round, I got hit real hard by a couple of right hands,'' Peterson said. ``It really bothered me. I lost the round, I fell behind, I got reckless. I couldn't make it up. I gave it all I had. He's a great champion.''
Bradley was credited for a knockdown early in the third when Peterson slipped to a knee after catching a right while leaning forward, but Peterson rallied later in the round with body shots. Bradley fought more defensively for the next few rounds before catching a second wind and peppering Peterson with counterpunches.
``He tried to break me down, but my condition was superior,'' Bradley said.
Peterson, who had never been past the 10th round, kept moving forward but found no holes in Bradley's attack. Bradley caught Peterson with a handful of big shots in the 11th and cruised to the win, flexing for the crowd at the final bell.
``He left it all in the ring,'' said Barry Hunter, the Peterson brothers' trainer and mentor. ``He had no more to give. ... We will get to where we're going. It might take a little longer, but we'll get there.''
Earlier at the Agua Caliente Resort, Vic Darchinyan (33-2, 27 KOs) stopped Tomas Rojas with a single right cross in the second round to defend his 115-pound title.
After struggling in the opening round before his perfect punch, Darchinyan immediately called out Bay Area champion Nonito Donaire, who stopped Darchinyan on July 7, 2007, to win the IBF flyweight title.