Even though they've sparred with each other for years, Anthony and Lamont Peterson say they've fought too hard in life ever to square off in the ring. "We're closer than I can even explain," Anthony says.
In 1992, when Anthony was 7 and Lamont 8, their dad went to jail on drug charges, and their mom struggled caring for all seven Peterson kids. So between stints in foster care, the two boys lived on the streets of Washington, D.C., sleeping in bus stations and in abandoned cars. They beat up bullies for money, pickpocketed drunks and even cut cocaine for crack dealers.
But when the brothers wandered into trainer Barry Hunter's gym in 1994, he saw more than just two young toughs. He saw kids who'd do anything to take care of each other. Eventually, the boys moved in with Hunter and used his gym to win national Golden Gloves titles before going pro in 2004. Since then, lightweight Anthony (22-0, 16 KOs) and junior welterweight Lamont (20-0, 8 KOs) have
each averaged a fight every six weeks. Anthony is the WBO's No. 1 contender; Lamont is No. 6 in the WBA. "They're not too far away," Hunter says. "They can match anybody right now."
He may be biased, but he's hardly alone in his assessment. "We're looking at two future world champs," says Showtime analyst Steve Farhood.
That's the hope of promoter Shelley Finkel, who has arranged the brothers' biggest TV gig yet. On May 25, Lamont faces Dorin Spivey (34-5, 28 KOs) on ESPN2; Anthony is still lining up an opponent. Finkel wants to push both boxers for 2008 title runs.
If the past is any indication, he won't have to push too hard.
Don Stewart is a contributor to ESPN The Magazine.