I tend to view the human interest side of fight spot - or even sport generally - as tangential to the athletic contest at hand. A tennis player had to get over a lisp as a child! A rugby team captain lost a sister in a car accident! Both examples (fictional, by the way) aren't meant to suggest difficult episodes in one's life can't drive them to greatness. They can and there's a demonstrable record of them doing so. But tennis and speech therapy, as such, aren't closely related. Fight sports and profoundly difficult life experiences, however, share a closer bond.
That's why Lamont Peterson is slightly different. Fight sport demands of its best competitors athleticism, fight IQ, durability and a host of other battle-specific characteristics. Perhaps one of the most important, though, is savagery. I don't mean sadism, exactly.
Former UFC welterweight champion Pat Miletich said it best: you can get great fighters from anyone background, but it generally helps if you've had a shitty life. Extreme difficulty or poverty, particularly at formative ages, can often break a person or derail their lives. But for those who persevere, it often forges them with immeasurable resolve. There's no hesitation when the trigger needs to be pulled. With their back against the wall, they fight, claw and scratch their way out of the bad spot until they've succeeded or until they've extinguished every possible physical resource available (and often to extreme self-detriment).
In the video above, Sky Sports does a remarkable job underscoring just how central Peterson's upbringing is to his resolve as a prize fighter. There's obviously some dramatization for television, but is anyone surprised an excellent combat athlete was borne out an early life of deep poverty, parental neglect and dangerous circumstances?
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