The last time junior welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson was in the ring, he was knocked down three times and wiped out in a third-round knockout loss to Lucas Matthysse on May 18 in Atlantic City, N.J.
However, the fight was a nontitle bout fought at a contract weight of 141 pounds, one more than the division limit, meaning Peterson still holds a world title even though there now are many questions about where he is in his career after such a lopsided loss.
He can begin to address those questions when he returns to the ring to make a mandatory title defense against Dierry Jean.
Golden Boy Promotions, Peterson's promoter, announced Monday that the fight will take place Jan. 25 and headline a Showtime-televised card (9 p.m. ET/PT) at the D.C. Armory in Peterson's hometown of Washington.
In the televised co-feature, emerging junior middleweight prospect Jermell Charlo will take on former two-time middleweight world title challenger Gabriel Rosado in a scheduled 10-round fight.
Peterson (31-2-1, 16 KOs) said he is looking ahead rather than back on the nightmarish loss to Matthysse.
"This is the perfect way for me to kick off 2014, with a great fight against a tough opponent in my hometown," Peterson said. "Fights like these bring out the best in me, and I'm going to give my fans a performance to remember on Jan. 25."
Peterson, who will turn 30 the day before the fight, will be making his second title defense. He won the 140-pound belt via controversial split decision in Washington against Amir Khan in December 2011 but did not fight again for 14 months because he failed a random prefight drug test for elevated levels of testosterone weeks before he was to face Khan in a rematch, which was canceled.
When Peterson returned, he knocked out Kendall Holt on Feb. 22 to retain the title at the D.C. Armory. The knockout loss to Matthysse followed.
"I think this is a bit of a weird situation that Lamont is defending the title after what happened, but it's a bit of a wake-up call for him," Golden Boy chief executive Richard Schaefer said. "He knows the pressure is on to deliver. I've seen Jean fight, and he's an exciting guy. I think this is a helluva matchup and definitely not an easy fight for Lamont.
"Whatever Peterson has, he's going to bring that night because he knows a second loss in a row would be a devastating blow to his career."
The 31-year-old Jean (25-0, 17 KOs), a native of Haiti who has lived in Montreal since he was a child, is not well known to American boxing fans, but the one time he had wide television exposure was in his last fight, in which he knocked out Cleotis Pendarvis in the fourth round in May in a title elimination bout to become Peterson's mandatory challenger.
"Peterson has been in the ring with many good fighters, but he hasn't been in the ring with me," Jean said. "I've worked hard for this for a long time. I have already started training camp and I'm in great shape. I just want to bring that belt home to Quebec, where it belongs."
Golden Boy won the right to promote the bout at a Nov. 5 purse bid, offering $156,000 to beat the only other bid of $111,121 by Jean promoter Eye of the Tiger. As the titleholder, Peterson is entitled to 75 percent of the winning bid ($117,000) with Jean receiving the remaining 25 percent ($39,000).
"This is what Jean has been waiting for, his world title opportunity," Schaefer said. "I know he will come prepared. It's a very dangerous fight for Peterson. Jean is a fighter who is not a household name, but he is a very good and exciting fighter. I think if you bring the right card [to] D.C., the fans there will show up, and that's the case here. It's going to be great to do another world championship card from Washington."
Charlo (22-0, 11 KOs), 23, of Houston, will be taking on the most notable opponent of his career in Rosado (21-7, 13 KOs), 27, of Philadelphia.
"I've waited for a big fight like this against a top-level opponent and now I've got it," Charlo said. "Rosado is a rugged, tough fighter, and with a win over him, I'll be making a statement to the boxing world that I'm ready for even bigger and better things."
Although Rosado is 0-2 with a no contest in his past three fights, the two stoppage losses (both caused by cuts) were in middleweight world title fights against Gennady Golovkin last January and "Kid Chocolate" Peter Quillin on Oct. 26. Sandwiched between those defeats was a highly controversial decision loss to J'Leon Love in May, but the result later was changed to a no contest because Love failed his postfight drug test.
Now Rosado is returning to junior middleweight, where he had become a top-10 contender in 2012 before giving up a mandatory title shot in order to test himself against Golovkin for a bigger purse.
"I wanted another world title shot after my fight with Peter Quillin, but with that rematch not happening right now, I want to stay busy and keep sharp until my time comes," Rosado said. "Charlo's got talent, but he's not ready to face someone with as much experience as I have. I am ready to go after my recent fight with Quillin."
Said Schaefer, "Gabriel Rosado always comes to fight, and he's going to put Jermell Charlo to the test on Jan. 25."
Lightweight Anthony Peterson (32-1, 21 KOs), Lamont's 28-year-old brother, also will be on the card in a scheduled 10-rounder against an opponent to be determined. He will be fighting at a contract weight of 137 pounds, according to Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Gomez.