Peterson brothers aim to make case for title shots Sunday

OXON HILL, Md. (AP) — Fighting after an ugly loss and a long layoff, on the same TV card as his younger brother and with chatter about retirement growing louder, 35-year-old Lamont Peterson insists he's as relaxed as he's ever been.

Or he's tricked himself into believing that.

"It might be me just keeping the pressure off myself," Peterson (35-4-1) said Friday ahead of Sunday's 12-round welterweight bout against Sergey Lipinets (14-1-0) at the MGM National Harbor. "You're going perform better that way."

Peterson will face Lipinets immediately after his brother Anthony's junior welterweight co-feature against Argenis Mendez (25-5-1) near their native Washington, with each trying to make a case for a title shot.

It's the first time they will appear on TV together since 2006, though Lamont insists he's more likely to be distracted by his nephew, welterweight Patrick Harris Jr., on the undercard than his 34-year-old brother.

"That's going to be the part where it's going to go like before, back in the day, where I'm a little nervous," he said. "He's still younger and I care a lot about him."

Lamont has previously held belts at 140 and 147 pounds. In 2017, he vacated his WBA welterweight strip to fight for Errol Spence's IBF belt, but was dominated in that January 2018 bout. His corner threw in the towel moments into Round 8.

This is first action since, against an opponent who held the 140-pound IBF belt for one fight before losing it to Mikey Garcia. Lipinets is in his second bout since moving up to 147.

"I respect him for taking the fight," Lamont said. "A lot of guys who have lost and had a rough year would want to take it easy and take an easy fight. But it's our obligation to fight the tough guys. I shouldn't get kudos for that. It's just my job."

Anthony has never had a title shot, having only fought seven times since 2011. He appeared to defeat Luis Eduardo Florez by unanimous decision in January 2018, but the result was changed to a no contest following a positive drug test.

The younger Peterson brother appeared to own up to those test results Friday.

"It's one thing that happened in my career that I would like to leave in the past," Anthony said. "But if you look at all of my fights, that never happened before. ... I was kind of in a dark cloud. It happened. I wasn't trying to get over or cheat or nothing that, but it was something that just happened."

Anthony hopes a win over Mendez, a former junior lightweight champion, would clear the way for a title bout.

"Nothing is guaranteed," he said. "I know I'm going to win, spectacular performance. But even after this fight you never know what can happen. So I'm not expecting anything."

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