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February 16, 2017

By G. Leon

GL: How has everything gone in training camp and what can we expect to see from you on Saturday night? Training has been going great, I've been off for a while, but training has been going really smooth. I've been working on a few things while I was out, and you can expect a sharp, effective, aggressive Peterson on Saturday night."

GL: What are your thoughts on Avanesyan as a fighter?

LP: "He's a pretty good fighter. Of course everybody knows him from the win over Shane Mosley. He looked very solid in that fight and I've watched a couple of his other fights as well. He's solid, he does everything the right way. He doesn't really have a weakness and he's a champion now, so I'm sure that the title has taken him to another level mentally. I'm ready for a tough fight come Saturday night."

GL: In the fights that you've seen of Avanesyan, what tendencies did you see that you think you'll be able to exploit?

LP: "Like I said, he doesn't really have a weakness, but just because it's not a weakness doesn't mean I can't take advantage of it. The obvious thing is the reach or speed where I have the advantage and I'm going to use those things and we've come up with a good game plan and we're going to execute it on Saturday night."

GL: Why did you decide to take on such a formidable opponent after such a long layoff?

LP: "It wasn't a matter of who it is, I probably have said this a thousand times by now, but I've been in the gym the whole time and I've been trying to get better the whole time. It's not like I've been sitting around or was injured and not focused on boxing. I look at it as a long training camp, I'm definitely ready and I'm planning to go out there and be just as sharp as any other time I've gone out there."

GL: I spoke to Barry Hunter the other day and he also said you've stayed in the gym, he said you're a more mature fighter now.  How do you feel you've improved as a fighter in the last two years?

LP: "Just paying attention to detail. When you have this much time off you can do that, sometimes in training camps you just focus on what you need to do for the guy in front of you. Now I was preparing myself to become a better fighter, sharpening up on counter punches and my techinique, trying to generate more power without having to load up or using a lot of energy to do so. Just doing things that I think needed to be raised a little bit from the last time you saw me."

GL: After fighting at 140 forever, now you're at welterweight which is a red hot division. What are your thoughts on the division overall?

LP: "The division is stacked. There's a lot of talent, old, young, there's veterans that aren't really old yet. There's some young undefeated guys in their primes, there's some big names, big money fights. The division has everything that the fans want, it's just up to us as the fighters of the division to keep fighting one another until we know who the best is."

GL: What would a victory over Avanesyan mean to you?

LP: "It's a step closer. We're trying to figure this thing out, I'm sure that everybody in the top 10-15 in the division feels like they're the best one. It's not to be said, it's to be fought out. The winner on Saturday night will take a step forward to clearing things up and the winner will have more doors open for them moving forward. I'm looking at this fight as getting more experience, getting the W and getting another title."

GL: Who do you like in Thurman-Garcia?

LP: "It's a 50-50 fight to me. My head is kind of telling me Thurman, my gut is telling me Danny. I'm not going to make any prediction, I just hope it's a good fight and may the best man win."

GL: What about Brook-Spence?

LP: "I'm going to go with Spence, but he's going over to England and it's his first title fight and you never know how a fighter reacts to that amount of pressure. My guess is that he handles that pressure, goes in there and gets the W to bring the title back. But it's going to be tough and he's going to have to be the one to go there and answer those questions."

GL: Other than victory, do you have a prediction for Saturday night?

LP: "The way I see it in my head, I see an eighth or ninth round stoppage for me!"
GL: Now that Adrien Broner is a welterweight, and you're fighting on the same card, Saturday's event could become the first step in the promotion of you and Broner. Is that a fight that interests you at all?

LP: "We kind of look at each other as teammates, so not really. I'm not really sure he's going to stay at welterweight, but I'm sure we'll get to rapping it up a little bit, but I doubt that happens."

GL: Is there anything you'd like to say in closing?

LP: "I know it's been a while, but I'm back and I'm going to pick up where I left off with some improvements. I hope everybody enjoys the fights, I trained my butt off for this and I'm looking forward to Saturday night."

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