Before the Peterson Fights
Anthony and Lamont Peterson are fighting at the Armory tomorrow night. Lamont is 20-0, with nine knockouts. Anthony is 22-0 with 16 knockouts. The first televised bout tomorrow starts at 9, on ESPN2. The RSVP's include the mayor, Steve Francis (who just rolled up for the weigh-in, driving a Mercedes S550), Monta Ellis and Floyd Mayweather. It's the first time the brothers have headlined a show.
As for today? A bit less dramatic.
After nine interviews on Wednesday, a sparring session and a long run last night, Anthony woke this morning and had a big cup of apple juice. He watched his favorite movie, "Paid in Full," but "not the part where they're selling drugs," he told me. Later, the brothers rode around town, making sure their paperwork, and their identifications, and their notary was all set. They arrived at the Holiday Inn on the Hill around 3:30, and sat down for solo interviews with the ESPN crew. Anthony smiled a lot.
"I don't just want to win; I want to dominate and crush my opponent," Anthony told the crew. "It's nothing personal. At the end of the day I'll take him out to eat, we can chilll at my crib as far as I'm concerned."
"I hope I don't sound nasty," he said later, after again mentioning how he wanted "to crush [his opponent] in the worst way."
He dropped dozens more sound bites over the course of the interview; "great, awesome," said Mike Mascaro, the broadcast's associate director, when they finished. Then Mascaro asked for a local restaurant recommendation.
"Chipotle," Anthony said. "That's all I eat." ("I sometimes think I'm a Mexican," he told me later.)
After his interview, Anthony dropped in on the boxing commission folks, across the hall from the Teach Me Foreclosure and Real Estate Investing Training Academy, and then headed up to his room to wait for the weigh-in. Like they do on the road, the brothers are sharing a hotel room with two beds. Lamont was sitting at the desk, working on a puzzle out of "X-treme Sudoku."
"Numbers; logic, really," he explained to a publicist, who wasn't familiar with Sudoku. "Just getting your mind right."
Anthony stretched out on his back on the bed closest to the window. He discussed his career, rattling off the dates of all 22 of his fights, rapid-fire, without pausing. He said he'd rather be at home, eating a home-cooked meal, but that he was a team player. He said he didn't mind the media stuff, because "I love my face to be on TV as many times as I can." He said he would return to his room at night, "throw my iPod on and zone out, what I do at home." He said the brothers would not discuss boxing over the next 24 hours.
After just a few moments in the room, the brothers were ushered back downstairs and into the Federal South Ballroom, about an hour before the weigh-in was scheduled to start. The ESPN crew needed footage of them stepping on and off the scale, which wasn't even turned on. When the crew finished, Anthony turned on the scale, just to check. Then he went back out to the lobby, picking his way through a crowd of Vietnam veterans who were in town for Memorial Day and finding his way to a low-slung couch in a corner.
One woman with the veterans group, Australian Carla Evans, found out Anthony was a fighter. She approached, wished him luck and tapped him on the head. A few minutes later, she returned, giving him a small stuffed koala bear and wishing him luck again.
"I'm gonna keep this," Peterson said. Then he kissed the bear.
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