News & Politics

World-Class Boxing Returns to Washington

HBO will televise this weekend’s “Capital Showdown.”

All eyes will be on local products Lamont Peterson, Seth Mitchell, and Anthony Peterson when they are in action at the Walter E Washington Convention Center on Saturday. Photograph courtesy of Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions

World-class boxing is finally coming back to Washington. Saturday’s HBO broadcast of “Capital Showdown” at the Convention Center marks the first major boxing card to land in DC since 2005, when the remains of Mike Tyson’s career came to a merciful end. That event’s only redeeming moments came on an undercard studded with local fighters, including up-and-coming Anthony Peterson. Peterson will be back in front of his hometown fans this weekend, but it’s his older brother, Lamont, who features in the main attraction against light-welterweight champion Amir Khan.

The Khan/Peterson match is the kind of fight a George Pelecanos protagonist would go on about for pages: a rising superstar from England coming to town to put his belts on the line against a live underdog from the streets of DC.

If you’ve ever watched either Peterson on ESPN or HBO, you’ve likely heard their story. If not, here’s the short version. They were effectively abandoned as young children. They spent time on the streets and landed in foster care before being introduced to their trainer, Barry Hunter. He set them straight, taught them to box, and now is preparing his prize pupils for the biggest night of their lives.

Between Khan’s sizable traveling fan base*, a card featuring several popular area fighters, and the “look at me” nature of such an event, the 9,000-seat Convention Center will be packed. Here’s a look at what all those folks are going for.

Amir “King” Khan vs. Lamont Peterson
Khan is likely stepping into the ring for the last time at 140 pounds. If he wins, he’ll likely move on to the welterweight division, where the big pay-per-view money resides. Before he can challenge Floyd Mayweather Jr. or his stablemate Manny Pacquiao, Khan will have to get past a tenacious opponent.

Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell vs. Timur Ibragimov
Boxing’s heavyweight division is a vast tundra of suck. The Klitschko brothers rule the division with iron jabs, and without any viable challengers, there’s not much point in paying the big guys much attention. Mitchell, a former All-Met linebacker at Gwynn Park whose college career ended with an injury, hopes to step into that role. He’s strong, athletic, and American. For a heavyweight, that’s about all it takes to lead off the live HBO broadcast.

Anthony Peterson vs. Daniel Attah
The younger Peterson makes his return to the ring after being disqualified his last time out. Peterson isn’t a dirty fighter, necessarily. He was simply looking for a way out after being pounded by Brandon Rios. Attah is an ideal opponent for a guy coming off of his first career loss.

Fernando Guerrero vs. Robert Kliewer
Guerrero possesses what many talented young Americans lack: a dedicated local fan base. The pride of Salisbury, Maryland, can put asses in the seats, especially so close to home.

Jamie “The Nuisance” Kavanagh (8–0) vs. Ramesis Gil
Kavanagh is a talented young Irishman with a terrible nickname. Seriously, was “The Gnat” taken? There’s no excusing such a bad moniker. That said, if The Nuisance is good enough to command the time of famed trainer Freddie Roach, he’s probably worth showing up early for.

*If confronted by a group of rowdy Boltonians, commiserate over the fate of Stu Holden and you might escape without being headbutted.