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Lamont Peterson finally goes for a world title this weekend. He’ll be fighting Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley for the WBO Junior Welterweight belt on Saturday in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
I’ll be rooting for for Lamont. Hard. I first encountered him in late 2001, when he and his brother, Anthony Peterson, trained in a furnace room in the basement of Lincoln Junior High School in Columbia Heights. They worked out there five nights a week along with the Headbangers, a youth boxing team run by Barry Hunter.
Lamont and Anthony were far and away the best fighters in the club, so they had to slug it out with each other during sparring time of the team’s nightly workouts.
The setting was hot and damp and stinky and macho as hell, but the kids were all business. The Petersons had a rough and touching back story, with lots of familial dysfunction that left the brothers depending on each other and Coach Hunter just to survive. They looked at boxing as their only hope. The older brother by a year, Lamont, then nearly 18, had dropped out of school. He told me his only goals were to turn pro and “win a world championship.” I asked what he’d do if that didn’t happen. He had no idea, though eventually he said maybe he’d try to “be a carpenter.” I’d never been around athletes who trained harder. Still haven’t.
I’ve followed Lamont and Anthony’s careers since then, through world amateur tournaments and Olympic tryouts and undefeated runs as pros. Lamont is 27-0; Anthony’s 29-0 and awaiting his turn at a championship. Boxing ain’t a realm where loyalty is king, but the undefeated brothers have kept Hunter as their trainer through the years.
Bradley, the incumbent champ, is 24-0. Saturday’s fight headlines a live card on Showtime. That’s a long way from that furnace room.
(AFTER THE JUMP: The New York Times nails Dan Snyder? Marty Schottenheimer nails Vinny Cerrato? Mike DeBonis nails the Redskins future? Snyder and Cerrato want Jimmy Clausen to replace the current J.C. at QB? Mel Kiper, Redskins GM?)
Fabulous summary of the goings on at Redskins Park by Mike Tainer of the New York Times in his NFL round-up column:
The Redskins have lost their past three games by 7 total points and have a respectable 87 points in four games. It’s a sign that Jason Campbell is coming around, that young receivers like Fred Davis and Devin Thomas have potential, and that someone in their play-calling daisy chain knows what he’s doing. That means it’s time for Dan Snyder to blow everything up.
The whole world gets it!
A couple weeks ago, killing time between emergency meetings on how to save the newspaper industry, I was talking about who could save the Redskins with the brilliant Mike DeBonis. He threw out the name Marty Schottenheimer.
Sounded so right right away: Schottenheimer’s the only guy left that could buy Dan Snyder some credibility around here. Mike Shanahan, who is most-mentioned when naming Jim Zorn’s replacement, left Denver as a loser, and has no cachet around here. The reputation of Schottenheimer, however, has grown by leaps ever since Snyder admitted he ran him outta town because the coach wouldn’t let the owner have enough fun.
We all know now what Schottenheimer had to put up with at Redskins Park, but he had a team of no-names playing 8-3 football after a woeful start, in which he had to play Jeff George at quarterback to please Snyder. And, he’s remembered as the only guy who could get rid of Vinny Cerrato: Schottenheimer banished Cerrato to ESPN soon after being hired to replace Terry Robiskie.
Now, DeBonis’ hypothesized Schottenheimer return looks genius. Snyder’s into bringing folks back: Joe Gibbs, Cerrato, Mr. Six, etc…is onto something.
If he does come back, he’d surely get rid of Cerrato pronto. In response to reports that Snyder and Cerrato were scouting college players together again, including Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen, here’s Schottenheimer talking about the Skins’ personnel set-up, taken from Sirius Radio via the Redskins Insider blog:
“I’ve said for a long time, in my opinion the problem down there — obviously it starts at the top with Dan — but [the problem] is Cerrato. I don’t particularly respect the guy. He and I had our issues when we were there. Basically what he said was, ‘Marty, Dan may be listening to you during the preseason,’ he says. ‘But wait until I get up in the owner’s box during the regular season, and then we’ll see who Dan listens to.’
“Now how’s that? How’s that? And of course, he was gone within the week but re-hired shortly after I departed. So now, Dan, he’s made his choice [some] time ago, but I’m not a big fan of Cerrato and his work.”
Schottenheimer’s radio show is called “The Red Zone.” Vinny Cerrato’s radio show on Snyder’s sportstalker is called “Inside the Red Zone.” And “Red Zone” is the same name Snyder took for the investment fund he assembled — and landed Cerrato and Karl Swanson as investors — for the disastrous Six Flags venture, which has indeed, using Wall Street lingo, been a zone full of red since Snyder took over.
This morning, Cerrato talked up Clausen himself, and brought on Mel Kiper to talk up Clausen.
Sorry, Jason Campbell. There’ll be another J.C. as Skins QB.
Hell, while we’re looking into our crystal balls: Look for Snyder to bring in Mel Kiper to replace Cerrato. Tell me that move doesn’t sound like him!
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