OXON HILL, Md. -- Former world titleholders Sergey Lipinets and Lamont Peterson, hoping to position themselves for another shot, put on an absolutely grinding, physical, back-and-forth battle not for the faint of heart Sunday night, but it was the relentless Lipinets who could not be stopped.
In a clear fight of the year contender, Lipinets broke down Peterson in a 10th-round knockout victory in an action-packed welterweight slugfest that headlined the Premier Boxing Champions card at the MGM National Harbor just outside of Peterson's hometown of Washington, D.C. After the fight, Peterson thanked the crowd of 2,052 and announced his retirement after a 15-year pro career.
"It's been a long career, but today is the day. I'm thankful for the support. I love everyone here, and I'm always going to support this area, but I'm sure it's time for me to hang it up," Peterson said. "I couldn't go out in a better way here at home. This will be the last time you see me in the ring."
Lipinets was like a train going downhill without its brakes, as he pounded Peterson in the final few rounds, finally dropping him with a series of punches, including a hard right hand, in the 10th round. He was trying to get up when Barry Hunter, Peterson's trainer and father figure, threw in the towel, and referee Harvey Dock waved it off at 2 minutes, 59 seconds.
They wasted no time going right at each other, firing heavy shots on the inside. They fought toe-to-toe for virtually the entire fight.
According to CompuBox, Lipinets landed 264 of 986 punches (27 percent), and Peterson landed 303 of 972 (31 percent). They both threw a career-high punch total.
Peterson seemed to get the better of the action until Lipinets took over in the sixth round.
"I feel great about the statement I made to the welterweight division," Lipinets said. "I just fought an excellent fighter. This let me know where I'm at in the 147-pound weight class. You can see that I have no problem with the size. Peterson is an excellent fighter with unbelievable skills, and he's showed me what I can really do."
Timekeeper Don Risher rang the bell to end the fifth round with about 40 seconds left. Once Dock realized it, he called the fighters back to fight after they had got to their corners. The error resulted in a livid Hunter yelling at Risher, and Maryland State Athletic Commission executive director Pat Pannella conferring with the timekeeper after the round.
Lipinets, in his first fight with trainer Joe Goossen after parting ways with Buddy McGirt, rocked Peterson (35-5-1, 17 KOs), 35, a former welterweight and junior welterweight titlist, with a left hand in the action-packed sixth round and he may not have recovered. They traded tremendous shots, but Lipinets hurt Peterson with a clean right hand that badly shook him in the eighth round. He nearly went down during the follow-up attack and was forced to grab Lipinets to stay upright.
Former junior welterweight titlist Lipinets (15-1, 11 KOs), 29, a Kazakhstan native fighting out of Beverly Hills, California, whose only loss was a decision to Mikey Garcia that cost him his belt last March, landed a right and a left in the ninth round that snapped Peterson's head back and sent blood and sweat flying across the ring. Then came Peterson's last stand in the 10th.
"I was telling him we're going to knock him out," Goossen said. "I never faltered on that theme in the corner. I figured we were going to get to him. It proved to be not easily done, by the way, because Lamont Peterson knows what to do at all times. He's got you coming and going, and he showed a lot of heart. I felt we let him off the hook earlier, but I kept telling Sergey, if we land the right hand, we can hurt him and stop him. I gave him my all, and he gave me his, and it worked for us."
Said Lipinets: "You've seen what I did at 140 pounds and now what I can do here. I made a big jump in competition from my last fight to this one. My new trainer, Joe Goossen, gets all the credit. We've had an excellent camp with perfect sparring that taught me a lot and got me ready."
Peterson was boxing for the first time in 14 months -- and only the second time since late 2015 -- since he was punished in a one-sided, eighth-round stoppage loss challenging Errol Spence Jr. for his welterweight world title.
Hunter stopped that bout also, and afterward, Peterson said he would consider retirement. After the loss to Lipinets, he made it official.
"It was back and forth, and we were hitting each other with some good shots," Peterson said. "It kind of just came out of nowhere at the end. That's been happening to me more now, and that let me know that it's time for this to be the last time in the ring."
Peterson and Mendez draw
Junior welterweight Anthony Peterson, the younger brother of two-time world titleholder and main event participant Lamont Peterson, and former junior lightweight world titlist Argenis Mendez fought to a 10-round draw that Peterson appeared to win.
One judge scored it 96-94 for Peterson, and one had the same score for Mendez. The third judge had it 95-95. ESPN scored it 97-93 for Peterson, who was far more active and landed many more punches than Mendez.
According to CompuBox statistics, Peterson out-landed Mendez in every round except the 10th. Overall, Peterson landed 137 of 537 punches (26 percent), and Mendez connected with 83 of 377 (22 percent).
"I can't be that disappointed because I didn't lose, but I was just happy to fight in front of my fans," Peterson said. "I've been out of the ring for a long time, and I think I did OK, but if the judges saw a draw, they saw a draw. I'm not mad about it.
"Of course, I thought I won the fight. I boxed, and because I felt my timing wasn't quite there, I used my feet. Normally I'd be more aggressive and walk guys down. If I can stay active, you'll see the difference in my performances."
Peterson (37-1-1, 24 KOs), 34, of Washington, D.C., was fighting for the time in 14 months since he appeared on the undercard of brother Lamont's loss to Spence. Anthony won a shutout 10-round decision over Luis Eduardo Florez on that night, but the result was later changed to a no contest when Peterson tested positive for a banned substance. He was trying to put that behind him and position himself for a major fight after years of chronic inactivity. Beating Mendez would have been the biggest win of his nearly 15-year career.
Peterson seemed to outbox Mendez (25-5-2, 12 KOs), 32, of the Dominican Republic, for most of the fight. He moved and circled a lot but also stopped and fired jabs and body shots that landed with audible impact. Mendez did not appear to have any particular plan while typically landing one punch at a time until he picked it up in the final few rounds.
"I didn't think it was a draw. I know every round was close, but I think I won the fight," Mendez said through a translator. "I don't want to say it was easy, but I think I won comfortably. He was running the whole fight, and I was trying to throw counter punches and catch him. I could have thrown more punches in the first half of the fight. I think that was the difference, but I don't think you can win the fight on the run."
Peterson began to put combinations together in the third round and landed several to close out a strong fourth round. He continued the same pattern throughout the fight -- a lot of movement, then a spurt of rapid-fire punches that found their target before moving away from most of Mendez's return punches, though he got caught with something because his left eye began to swell in the later rounds.
Also on the undercard
In an action-packed battle between southpaw junior middleweights, Jamontay Clark (14-1, 7 KOs), 24, of Cincinnati, edged Vernon Brown (10-1-1, 7 KOs), 29, of Chicago, by a unanimous decision that was loudly booed by the crowd. Clark won by scores of 96-93, 96-93 and 95-94 in a fierce fight.
Brown badly hurt Clark in the third round with a right hand that sent him into the ropes, which helped him up, so referee Kenny Chevalier ruled a knockdown. Brown was all over him for the rest of the round. Brown did more damage in the all-action fourth round, with another head-rocking right hand. They battled back and forth throughout the fight with both landing heavy punches.
Clark rebounded from his first defeat, a one-sided, 10-round decision to Jeison Rosario in August. The fight was Brown's first scheduled for longer than six rounds.
Super middleweight prospect Lorenzo Simpson (3-0, 2 KOs), 19, a southpaw from Baltimore, won a shutout decision over Jaime Meza (0-1), 30, of Los Angeles, who showed enormous heart in a game effort. Simpson won 40-36, 40-35 and 40-35, but Meza came forward the entire fight and took everything he had. Simpson scored a sensational knockdown in the opening seconds of the fight when Meza missed a wild right hand that he threw so hard he lost his balance and spun around, only to be nailed with a left hook that dropped him hard.
Middleweight Aaron Coley (16-2-1, 7 KOs), 28, a southpaw from Hayward, California, outpointed hometown fighter Brandon Quarles (21-5-1, 10 KOs), 32, of nearby Alexandria, Virginia, in a competitive fight. Colley won 79-73 and 78-74, and one judge scored it 77-75 for Quarles, whose three-fight win streak ended. Coley bounced back from a 12-round, split-decision loss to Paul Valenzuela Jr. in April 2018.
Junior lightweight Cobia Breedy (13-0, 4 KOs), 27, of Barbados, won a sixth-round technical decision against Fernando Fuentes (14-8-1, 4 KOs), 24, of Hemet, California. There was a lot of action but also many head butts, including a bad one in the sixth round of the scheduled eight-rounder that cut Fuentes over the left eye. The fight was stopped because of the cut on the advice of the ringside doctor, sending it to the scorecards. Breedy won 59-55, 58-56 and 58-56.