A recap of the highest-profile boxing matches of the weekend.
Lamont Peterson is back
Lamont Peterson, the IBF junior welterweight champion, returned to the ring in his hometown of Washington, D.C., to face Kendall Holt after a 14-month layoff.
Everyone's last memory of Peterson was a positive test for a performance-enhancing substance that derailed his rematch against Amir Kahn -- whom Peterson narrowly and controversially outpointed in December 2011 to claim the WBA and IBF titles. The champ took a while to get going, but looked pretty solid Friday night.
Peterson (31-1-1, 16 KOs) was a little rusty in the first three rounds, but he took control of the bout with a big right hand and then flurry in the fourth that put Holt down. Holt got back up and fought valiantly, but he was essentially done after that.
Peterson punished Holt (28-6, 16 KOs) in the sixth, landing a big left hand that forced him to take a seat on the ropes, and finished the former champ with a big flurry up against the ropes in the eighth.
After the bout, Peterson admitted he needed to get his second wind to put Holt away, but that isn't too shocking considering the long layoff.
What's next? Peterson, despite looking like someone's old dad, is only 29 and feels he has a lot to prove. He wants to reclaim his WBA belt, which he lost after his failed drug test and is now held by Danny Garcia. Garcia is scheduled for an April 27 bout against Zab Judah, who seems to be a required opponent for every junior welter or welter contender in the world. As for Holt, 31, he appears to be a shot fighter. The heart and the will were there, but he could never land his big right hand. After Peterson shook off the rust, it was pretty much a mismatch as Holt lost for the fourth time in his last seven fights.
The last words: "I'm a little bitter about the WBA belt being taken from me and I want to show everybody I deserve that belt. Danny Garcia holds that belt, and if they can match it up, I would like that fight." -- Lamont Peterson
Ishe Smith finally arrives
Ishe Smith hasn't had an easy road, but he put the struggle, pain and disappointment behind him Saturday night in Detroit.
Smith outworked Cornelius Bundrage for a split decision victory to claim the IBF junior middleweight title and make a lifelong dream come true. It wasn't the most exciting or action-packed bout -- and it was weird watching Bundrage (32-5, 19 KOs) run for a couple of middle rounds -- but it was a satisfying ending nonetheless. Smith (25-5, 11 KOs) turned up the pressure in the last few rounds with the action culminating in the 11th as he took control of the bout. To watch Smith rejoice after being announced as the winner was one of those rare, genuine moments in sports. "Sugar Shay" broke down in tears and could barely speak between sobs in his postfight interview in the ring. It beat any drama from Oscar night, that's for sure.
[Related: Smith-Bundrage recap]
What's next? Smith is part of Mayweather Promotions and in becoming the first native Las Vegas fighter to win a world title, he finally has some genuine career momentum. It almost seems wrong to look ahead with Smith, 34, relishing such a landmark accomplishment so late in his career. It's probably safe to say that with Floyd Mayweather backing him, he'll be just fine. As for Bundrage, 39, he's not getting any younger, and his awkward footwork and technique really prevent him from letting his hands go. His questionable decision to run didn't serve him well in a bout that was there for the taking, and his future appears to be as a stepping stone or solid opponent for up-and-comers.
The undercard: J'Leon Love, also a Mayweather Promotions fighter, earned a solid decision over Derrick Findley (20-9, 13 KOs), but the bout was most notable because of who worked Love's corner. With trainer Roger Mayweather unavailable because of diabetes complications, Floyd Jr. stepped in to help push Love (15-0, 8 KOs) to a unanimous-decision victory. Love, 25, sparred with Mayweather and helped the champ prep for the Miguel Cotto bout and is a solid prospect. He has nice length for a middleweight and has good feet. You expect his hands to be faster, but he knows what he's doing in the ring and will benefit greatly from the teachings of Team Mayweather.
Oh, Floyd: The Showtime card was the first since the announcement of the network's mega-deal with Floyd Mayweather Jr. So naturally, with it also featuring Mayweather Promotions fighters, Floyd was brought in a couple of times to talk about Showtime, his career, his future and anything else he felt like. And frankly, Mayweather was really good. Out was the patented Floyd bravado and in was a measured, gracious businessman doling out compliments to other fighters and opponents -- well, except for Top Rank boss Bob Arum. When asked if he watched Juan Manuel Marquez knock out Manny Pacquiao live, Mayweather said: "I'm not gonna support Top Rank. I'm not gonna put any money in Bob Arum's pockets." Mayweather said he watched the fight later.
[Related: "Money May" gets a crazy birthday cake]
In other news of note, Mayweather said he and his father are getting along again and Floyd Sr. will work the corner with brother Roger for the champ's May 4 bout against Robert Guerrero. Mayweather has had a frequently contentious relationship with his father and has gone long periods of time without speaking to him.
"I like our family to stay together and hopefully my uncle Jeff can work in the corner as well," Floyd Jr. said.
The last words: "I'm sorry. I'm usually a good interview. I just don't know what to ... I didn't think I'd ever be here, man." -- a sobbing, overwhelmed and emotional Ishe Smith
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