Boxing’s first high-profile championship fight of 2018 saw IBF welterweight titleholder Errol Spence Jr (23-0, 20 KOs) beat up former junior welterweight champion Lamont Peterson (35-4-1, 17 KOs) in front of just over 12,000 fans at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. This was Spence’s first defense of his title, eight months after dethroning Kell Brook in Brook’s hometown of Sheffield, England.
Spence knocked Peterson down in round 5, finishing off a combination with a left hand to the side of Lamont’s head. Already well behind on the scorecards, Peterson’s trainer Barry Hunter had indicated to Peterson that he had too much heart for his own good, and warned that he’s stop the fight if things didn’t get better. Unsurprisingly, things did not get much better, and while Peterson did land some good punches, he didn’t have the power to faze Spence, who was still beating him up to the body and head.
At the end of round 7, having not won a round on any of the scorecards, Peterson’s cornerman took a good look at his busted up face, and told a New York State Athletic Commission official that he was stopping it. The bell had run to start round 8 when the decision was made, so technically this is a stoppage :01 into round 8 instead of RTD-7.
“It was really hard [to stop the fight], but if you know Lamont, you know he was not going to give up,” Hunter said post-fight. “So I had to stop it. At the end of the day this is my son right here. And there’s nothing more valuable than his well being. If it comes to him or winning, I pick him. I care about him.”
And perhaps in a telling quote that highlights the difference between MMA and boxing re throwing in the towel, Peterson said, “I always respect Barry’s decision. If he asks me to fight a million people, I will. If he asks me to stop, I will stop. I will never question his decision. I know he has my best interests at heart.”
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