ATLANTIC CITY - Lucas Matthysse vowed to deliver an impressive performance against Lamont Peterson Saturday night.
He lived up to his promise with a spectacular victory.
Matthysse used his trademark power to register a third-round TKO over Peterson in a duel of junior-welterweight champions before a roaring crowd at Boardwalk Hall.
Although both own pieces of the 140-pound title, a dispute among the sanctioning bodies prompted the fighters to meet in a non-title fight out of respect for boxing fans who clamored to see them fight.
"Now we all know who the best 140-pound fighter is," Matthysse said through an interpreter. "No one has dominated Peterson like that."
In the card's co-feature, IBF champion Devon Alexander, of St. Louis, notched a seventh-round TKO over England's Lee Purdy in a non-title fight.
Matthysse (34-2, 32 KOs) ended the scheduled 12-round bout with two knockdowns in the third round. He brought the fans to their feet when he sent Peterson (31-2-1, 16 KOs) to the canvas with a left hook that thudded against his jaw. Peterson toppled over when he first tried to get up, but barely managed to beat referee Steve Smoger's 10-count.
When the action resumed, Matthysse charged toward Peterson and landed another left hook that put him on the floor near his own corner. Although Peterson got up again, Smoger waved a halt to the bout at two minutes, 14 seconds.
"I thought about stopping it after the first knockdown because of the way he fell," Smoger said. "He responded and walked to me, but I told myself, 'The next significant shot and I'm stopping it.' "
Matthysse, the WBC interim champion, put himself in position for a big fight against WBC regular champion Danny Garcia, of Philadelphia.
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer said he is thinking of staging the fight at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 7. He acknowledged that Boardwalk Hall would have been a contender, but the Hall isn't available due to the Miss America Pageant.
"We have a new Manny Pacquiao," Shaefer said. "He's from Argentina and his name is Lucas Matthysse. Words can't describe how good he is, how exciting he is, how hungry he is. You sit in your seat and you don't question if he's going to knock his opponent out. You only question when."
Matthysse nearly ended the fight in the second round when he connected with a left hook to Peterson's forehead that put him down for the first time in the bout.
Peterson slowly got to his feet after that one and held on for the rest of the round.
"I feel good," Peterson said. "I'm a little upset that I lost, but I feel good. I felt as though I could have kept going, but he hit me with his good shots. But tonight, I guess he was the better fighter."
Alexander wins by TKO
In the other main event, Purdy became the fifth straight British boxer to lose at Boardwalk Hall.
Referee David Fields stopped the fight in favor of Alexander on the advice of Purdy's corner after the seventh. Purdy, who had a bloody nose from the fourth round on, immediately broke down in tears and had to be consoled by his trainers, which included middleweight Darren Barker.
"He's had previous problems with his nose," Barker said. "And we didn't want him to take anymore punishment."
Barker was one of the boxers to contribute to that losing streak, when he suffered an 11th-round TKO to middleweight champ Sergio Martinez two years ago.
Purdy's loss was preceded by setbacks by Gavin Rees (to lightweight champ Adrien Broner), Gary Lockett (to then-middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik), Barker and Carl Froch (to super-middleweight champ Andre Ward).
The last Brit to win a major bout at Boardwalk Hall was then-featherweight champ Prince Naseem Hamed, who defended his title with a decision over Wayne McCullough in 1998.
Alexander (25-1, 13 KOs) was supposed to be making his first defense of his IBF welterweight title, but Purdy (20-4-1, 13 KOs) failed to make the 147-pound weight limit.
"I knew the weight was going to be a problem for me, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to fight a great fighter like Devon," Purdy said. "I would have stayed in there until I couldn't stand up anymore."
Alexander delivered an impressive performance despite hurting his left hand in the first round.
The southpaw still threw it on occasion, but relied on his right to take control of the fight from the outset. He slowed Purdy's advances with strong hooks and then produced roars from the crowd with right uppercuts.
"Hurting my left was disappointing because that's what I worked on in camp," Alexander said. "He's a good fighter and he gave me a good fight. I'm thankful for that."
There are potentially bigger and better fights in Alexander's future.
Possible opponents include former junior-welterweight champion Amir Khan and even Floyd Mayweather Jr., who's widely considered the best fighter in the sport, regardless of weight class.
"If Amir wants it, he can have it," Alexander said. "If Floyd wants it, he can have it. I want to fight the best."
The top undercard bout saw Cleveland junior-middleweight Shawn Porter (21-0-1, 14 KOs) handed Canada's Phil Lo Greco (25-1, 14 KOs) his first defeat with a 10-round, unanimous decision. Porter dropped Lo Greco twice.
In other undercard fights, Washington, D.C. light-heavyweight Thomas Williams (14-0, 11 KOs) won via unanimous decision in an eight-round bout against Otis Griffin (24-13-2, 10 KOs), of Sacramento, Calif. Three-time Olympian Rau'Shee Warren (4-0, 2 KOs), from Cincinnati, earned a third-round knockout over Angel Cavajal (2-2) of Chicago in a bantamweight bout. Lamont Peterson's younger brother, Anthony Peterson (32-1, 21 KOs) notched a second-round TKO over lightweight Dominic Salcido (18-5, 9 KOs), of Rialto, Calif. British middleweight Anthony Ogogo (2-0, 1 KO) won a four-round, unanimous decision over Puerto Rico's Edgar Perez (5-5, 3 KOs). Puerto Rican bantamweight Cesar Seda (25-1, 17 KOs) took an eight-round, unanimous decision over Mexican Miguel Tamayo (13-6-2, 11 KOs). English bantamweight Haroon Khan (2-0, 1 KO) scored a first-round knockout over Vicente Medellin (0-6), of Riverside, Calif. Toledo, Ohio lightweight Robert Easter, Jr. (4-0, 4 KOs) posted a first-round knockout over Eduardo Guillen (0-3), of Brownsville, Tex. New York lightweight Jamel Herring (3-0, 2 KOs) earned a second-round knockout over Victor Galindo (1-2), of Puerto Rico.
Punchlines: Boxing returns to town on June 1 when promoter Russell Peltz brings another show to Bally's Atlantic City. Philadelphia super-featherweight Teon Kennedy (17-2-2, 7 KOs) opposes Carlos Vinan (10-9-5, 2 KOs) in a 10-round main event. Millville middleweight Ismael Garcia (4-0, 1 KO) and Mays Landing lightweight Sidell Blocker (1-5-1) are on the undercard. Garcia is fighting Alando Swain (5-2-1, 1 KO) in place of Millville's Thomas LaManna (11-0, 6 KOs), who withdrew with an unspecified injury.
Atlantic City super-middleweight Antoywan Aikins (6-0, 1 KO) is scheduled to fight Friday in White Plains, N.Y. on Vineland promoter Diane Lee Fischer-Cristiano's card. Vineland lightweight Edgardo Torres (2-2, 2 KOs) is slated to be on a June 7 card in Verona, N.Y. Atlantic City light-heavyweight Lavarn Harvell (12-0, 7 KOs) and welterweight Anthony Young (8-0, 4 KOs) will be in action in South Orange on June 14. Somers Point super-middleweight Isiah Seldon (7-0, 3 KOs) is scheduled for a bout in Philadelphia on June 20.
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