Boxing: Lamont Peterson focused on 'getting big fights' at welterweight 1
Apr 11, 2015; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Danny Garcia (red gloves) punches Lamont Peterson during their welter weight fight at Barclays Center. Garcia won the fight by majority decision. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Lamont Peterson has no time to waste; Thurman or Garcia II, he wants the biggest fights boxing can offer him.

Lamont Peterson hasn’t stepped inside a boxing ring since 2015 — at least not under the lights minus the headgear, donning eight-ounce gloves. It’s the longest layoff of his professional career, but if you ask him he’s better for it.

“People are going to talk a lot about my layoff but honestly that only affects people who aren’t always in the gym,” he told reporters at his open workout. “I have been in the gym working hard this entire time. I’ve been working on my craft. I got better and you’ll see on February 18.”

Peterson (34-3-1, 7 KOs) moves up to welterweight to face WBA champion David Avanesyan on the Adrien Broner vs. Adrian Granados card in Cincinnati, OH. He and trainer Barry Hunter say all the right things about his opponent, but Peterson is clearly looking ahead to bigger and better fights.

“Avanesyan is a good fighter … Having fought for 12 years, it doesn’t matter to me as much. The way I’m looking at it is, if I get this win then I’m the No. 1 contender for the belt.”

Peterson, 33, is eyeing the winner of Keith Thurman vs. Danny Garcia next month in Brooklyn, N.Y. Broner may possibly be another option for him.

But first thing’s first: Peterson must focus on the task at hand. Having been stopped by Lucas Matthyse, jobbed on the scorecards against Garcia and enduring stretches of inactivity in recent years, he’s in no position to take anything for granted.