Gatekeeper or Contender? Lamont Peterson vs. Sergey Lipinets Preview

Two-division world champion Lamont “Havoc” Peterson (35-4-1, 17KOs) will take on former IBF junior welterweight world champion Sergey “Samurai” Lipinets (14-1, 10KOs) in a 12-round welterweight matchup on Sunday, March 24 at MGM National Harbor in Maryland.

Peterson has not fought since losing to Errol “The Truth” Spence (25-0, 21KOs). The fight was stopped in the 7th round of that bout when his corner threw in the towel. He stayed in the pocket too much and tried to bang with “The Boogeyman”, and it cost him big. He took a beating. After such a long layoff, where is he mentally? How much ring rust will he have? Can he still compete at the top level of the welterweight division? Is he going to put himself back in the mix or become a gatekeeper at 147lbs? A lot of questions to be answered. This is a classic 50-50 toss up fight. If Peterson stays out of the pocket, utilizes his height and reach to his advantage, and boxes, rather than trying to brawl… he could win this fight. My biggest worry is that he took too much time off, but I hope I’m wrong.

Lamont Peterson vs. Errol Spence Jr. ended by corner stoppage in the 7th round

In the other corner, Lipinets is coming off a majority decision victory over welterweight journeyman Erick Bone (22-6, 10KOs). It was his first fight at 147, and this fight a good step up in competition to gauge where he is at. Peterson did have the long layoff but he is still a quality opponent at 147lbs. Lipinets’ only loss came against Mikey Garcia (39-1, 30KOs). It was a competitive fight but Lipinets was definitely dominated. Mikey Garcia is an elite fighter, especially at 135 and 140lbs, so it’s hard to know where Lipinets stands at this point in his career. He’s 29 years old and we will find out if he belongs with the top dogs or not. I expect him to bring the pressure early and just keep coming. If he can get inside consistently, I could see him scoring a KO. He’s been knocked out before (against Lucas Matthysse in 2013), getting KO’d in the 3rd round. If Lipinets can use that relentless style to his advantage, he could win this fight in dominant fashion.

Sergey Lipnets’ (l.) only loss came at the hands of Mikey Garcia (r.)

This fight is truly 50-50, and I can’t give an edge to either fighter. So many questions on both ends need to be answered. If Peterson chooses to box Lipinets and stays out of the pocket, I could see him winning by decision. If Lipinets gets inside and can apply relentless pressure, I can see him winning by a wide decision or knocking out Peterson. Both fighters have a lot to gain and even more to lose. If either wins, then they would put themselves into the mix against the top tier fighters in the division. If Lipinets loses, he has a little more to lose than Peterson. He would have to start from square one again. Peterson would most likely become the gatekeeper at 147 if he drops this fight. If he gets KO’d or takes a lot of punishment – he career could be finished. So many “what ifs”. They will all get answered on Sunday.

The card will be shown on FS1 and FOX Deportes. It begins at 8 p.m. ET and will feature Anthony Peterson (37-1, 24KOs), Lamont’s younger brother, clashing with former IBF Junior Lightweight World Champion Argenis Mendez (25-5-1, 12KOs) in a 10-round junior welterweight bout as the co-main event.

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