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Lamont Peterson to Lose Titles and Chance of Rematch with Amir Khan

By Kevin Mitchell for The Guardian

Amir Khan’s rematch with Lamont Peterson was officially cancelled last night and the American will almost certainly be stripped of his world titles over a failed drug test when he goes before the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Tuesday.

Khan is likely to fight on 30 June for the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation light-welterweight titles he lost to Peterson in Washington last December. The former champion will return to Bolton on Saturday and await the announcement of his new opponent.

It is an anticlimactic turn of events for Khan, who confirmed on Twitter: “The fight is off! sorry everyone the only person to blame is [Peterson].” He was desperate for revenge over the American, who rose from living on the streets of Washington with his brother as an abandoned waif to being warmly embraced as one of the sport’s most heart-warming heroes. That fairytale now lies in tatters.

When Peterson’s team flew from Washington to Las Vegas on Tuesday it was to argue that the presence of a banned synthetic substance resulted from the “inadvertent” use of pellets designed to counter low testosterone levels.

The Nevada commission’s executive director, Keith Kizer, said beforehand it would take some “really enlightening” new evidence to persuade the commission that Peterson should be granted a licence to box in Nevada. Nobody thought that was going to happen and last night the promoters called it off.

Even before their plane had landed, sentiment had swung away from the likable Peterson. He had left his supporters disappointed – and Khan without a credible opponent.

The drama of the past couple of days reached another high point on Wednesday when the commission released details that Peterson tested positive before challenging Khan before Christmas in his home town. It was a fight of rolling controversy but recent developments have overridden even those rows about questionable refereeing and the mysterious appearance at ringside of the man who came to be known as “The Cat In The Hat”, Mustafa Ameen.

Referring to Peterson’s positive test for excessive levels of testosterone, Kizer said: “He and his team say it was inadvertent. We consider it dishonest. We have to go through the proper procedures, not least with reference to the chairman [of the commission, who has the final say on granting a licence], but we can see no alternative to refusing him a licence.”

Asked about Peterson’s pre-fight declarations in support of stringent drugs-testing, Kizer replied: “Isn’t it always the way with athletes who [test positive for] drugs? We would have loved to have Mr Khan fight here on the 19th but clearly that is not possible. The Peterson team left it too late to inform everybody, ourselves included.

“I feel sorry for Mr Khan and all the undercard fighters who will not now be paid, as well as all the fans who bought tickets and made travel plans.”

It is estimated as many as 4,000 British fans have already booked flights, hotels and tickets – Khan’s biggest ever contingent of support since he moved to the US to fight under the tutelage of Freddie Roach. He has grown in popularity, with local fans and with the powerbrokers of the game, from Golden Boy Promotions, to the commissioners.

“Hopefully we will have Mr Khan back here in June,” Kizer said. “He is always welcome here. We have informed the Washington commission and I suppose they will invalidate the result [of the fight in December]. It’s certain we would have been doing so had it taken place in Las Vegas. I suspect the World Boxing Association and the International Boxing Federation will strip Mr Peterson of his titles.”

Khan tweeted: “Let’s hope the right thing will be done.” He added: “Boxing is a dangerous sport a toe to toe battle someone can seriously get hurt especially with an unfair disadvantage, we need to put a stop to this, I still believe they are my belts.”

The options for Khan are many and varied. He may contemplate another go with a fellow Golden Boy client, Marcos Maidana, whom he beat in a belting affair at the Mandalay Bay. Zab Judah, whom he beat at the same venue, is likely out of the picture as he is trying to negotiate a fight with Juan Manuel Márquez, but the unbeaten Philadelphian star Danny García would fancy his chances.

Whoever it is, it will not be the opponent Khan was desperate to fight.

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Trained by the Best, Amir Khan puts 140-pound Title on the Line

By Bob Velin for Usa Today

The way Amir Khan sees it, he’s spent a lot of time sparring with the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world, and is trained by arguably the No. 1 trainer in the world.

So anything that Argentine power puncher Marcos Maidana throws his way Saturday night at the MGM Grand, well, Khan, who puts his 140-pound title on the line (HBO, 9:30 p.m. ET), has already seen it, or will know how to deal with it. You want speed? Few fighters are quicker than Manny Pacquiao, whom Khan sparred with in the Philippines when Pacquiao was training to fight Antonio Margarito in November. Khan says Pacquiao told him, “I’m the fastest guy he’s ever sparred with.”

How about power, Maidana’s forte? We know how Pacquiao re-arranged Margarito’s face that night in Cowboys Stadium last month. Khan’s trainer, Freddie Roach, who is also Pacquiao’s cornerman, says Khan more than held his own against Pacquiao, and, in fact, laid some pretty good licks on the eight-division world champion.

“Yeah, Freddie likes us to spar when we’re both 100%, and when we don’t take it easy on each other,” Khan said by phone last week. “It’s better for me to get that experience and see how far I am from being pound-for-pound the best fighter in the world, which is my ambition. So, yeah, I really did well against Manny, and it was a good, controlled spar. I controlled it when I wanted to control it.”

Maidana says he feels his power can overcome Khan’s speed. “The speed doesn’t bother me because I know I have 12 rounds,” says Maidana. “But I know one thing, when I hit him with one of the my hands, the fight is over.” Khan says Roach has brought out the best in him as a fighter.
“There were times when I used to fight with my heart too much, and I have to use my brains a little bit more,” says Khan. “I’ve got the boxing skills to do that, you know, with the background of the amateurs, and going to the Olympics and everything. Freddie’s taught me to use my brain and think about things more.”

Khan (23-1, 17 KOs) respects the punching power of Maidana (29-1, 27 KOs), but says, “(Maidana’s) a lot slower than me, he’s very predictable and I think somebody’s got to punch him at the right time.” They have one common opponent: Andriy Kotelnik, who handed Maidana his only loss in February 2009, while Khan scored a near shutout victory against Kotelnik in July 2009.

As for Maidana, Khan says he and Roach have worked on the 27-year-old Argentine’s weaknesses and they expect to exploit those weaknesses.
“I think with boxers at that level, they’re always going to (have) their habits. You’re not going to change,” says Khan. “He can try to change his tactics and stuff, but I think his habits are always going to be there. We know exactly what (Maidana) does wrong, and we’ve just got to capitalize on that. We’ve also been working on the stuff I do wrong. I’ll be watching fights with Freddie and I’ll make a lot of mistakes in fights so we’ve been correcting them as well. So (Maidana) can think I make this mistake and that mistake, but he’s going to be fighting a different Amir Khan on the 11th.”

Roach says Khan has changed his style since his shocking first-round knockout by Breidis Prescott as a lightweight in 2008, the only loss of his career, a loss that led some to believe that Khan does not have a strong chin. Roach says he’s a completely different fighter now. “The thing is, he knows how to set things up now,” says Roach. “He just doesn’t go in there and look for a one-punch knockout. He knows how to break a person down and he knows how to work behind his jab and … reach for the body. He’s just become a completely different fighter. We haven’t lost a round since we’ve been together (at the beginning of 2009). I mean, we haven’t lost one round.”

Khan says he expects to stay at 140 pounds for another 12-15 months before he moves up to welterweight. But first there are some outstanding junior welterweights out there he’d like to fight. “You’ve got Timothy Bradley and Devon Alexander, there’s a lot of big names in that division,” says Khan, who just turned 24 this week. “Fighting them would be good for boxing, because that’s what people want, people want young fighters to fight (each other). They want explosive fighters instead of fighters past their peak.”

Both Khan and Richard Schaefer, the CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, which has Khan under contract, say his next fight will probably be in his native England. There had been talk that a good opponent for Khan to rebuild his popularity in England would be undefeated Brit lightweight John Murray (30-0, 18 KOs). Khan says that won’t happen because he and Murray are not on the same level. “I would get a lot of criticism for that because I’m a world-class fighter and he’s on a domestic level,” says Khan. “I want to fight world-class fighters, and I don’t think he’s in that category.”

Khan says when he moves up to welterweight, there’s no way he’d fight Pacquiao because they have become such good friends, and they share the same trainer. However, “with the strength and power and technique I have, I could fight a Floyd Mayweather,” he says.

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