Friday, September 16, 2011

Khan vs Peterson in Washington, D.C. - A Done Deal?

LAS VEGAS -- Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer told that WBA and IBF junior welterweight beltholder Amir Khan of England will make the first defense of his IBF belt against mandatory challenger Lamont Peterson, of Washington, D.C. whose manager, Barry Hunter, has agreed to terms.

The 24-year-old Khan (26-1, 18 KOs) has won eight consecutive fights, four of them by knockout. The 27-year-old Peterson (29-1-1, 15 KOs) won an IBF eliminator with a 12th-round stoppage of Victor Cayo (26-2, 18 KOs) in July, earning the organization's No. 1 contender status.

"We came to terms with Barry Hunter for Amir Khan, so the purse bid has been called off, and we've informed the IBF," said Schaefer. "The date is going to be Dec. 10, and we're going to be looking at venues. The front runner is Washington, D.C., and possibly Detroit, and there is a strong interested in Montreal as well at the Bell Centre.

Khan debuted in America with an 11th-round knockout of Paulie Malignaggi in May of last year at New York's Madison Square Garden.

Khan made his second appearance on American soil in December of last year, scoring a unanimous decison over Marcos Maidana at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas.

Khan had his third fight in the United States in July, dethroning Zab Judah as IBF titleholder by fifth-round stoppage at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

"Detroit has a large Muslim population, I believe the largest here in the United States," said Schaefer. "So they're very interested. Washington, D.C., is very interested as well."

On the eve of the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, Khan, a practicing Muslim who is of Pakistani decent, was invited to Washington, D.C. as a guest of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for a dinner honoring prominent Muslim-American athletes.

"Amir was recently in Washington, D.C., at the state dinner with Hilary Clinton, where he was very warmly received. Amir was recognized on the streets in Washington. He was very impressed and he liked it," said Schaefer.

"The locations are all about the same in terms of interest, but I think that it would be nice for Amir to fight in the Nation's Capitol, and to maybe invite Hilary Clinton. We've had him on the West Coast and in New York already."

Schaefer did not rule out going to Canada.

"Amir Khan is a global super star," said Schaefer, "and the province of Quebec fight fans are just great boxing fans, and they would love to have Amir Khan in Montreal."

In February, Peterson passed up a chance to face Khan when talks broke down between Schaefer and Peterson's attorney, Jeff Fried, for an April challenge to Khan's WBA belt over money and a rematch clause.

Peterson, in succession, had been offered $150,000, then, $200,000, and then, $300.000, but the challenger's camp wanted "north of $350,000" to travel to England to face Khan, according to Schaefer.

When the negotiations fell apart, Khan moved on and defended his crown by technical decision over Paul McCloskey in England.

Fried, who represented Peterson and Hunter in the negotiations, had contended that the talks failed more over the notion of a rematch in the event that Khan lost than they did the money being offered.

Reached on Thursday, Peterson expressed optimism about fighting Khan.

"Yes, this is the fight that I want right now. It's the fight that I was looking for, and it's a strong fight for me. It's the best fight that I can get, because I'm fighting the No. 1 guy in the 140-pound weight class and I'm fighting for the title. It's a fight I know that I can win," said Peterson.

"Look, everybody has weaknesses or flaws. Call them whatever you want to. It's up to me now to come up with a game plan with my coach and to come up with a plan to defeat Amir Khan in the ring. Any time that you're in a fight of this magnitude, then it's only going to lead to much, much bigger fights. And the winner of this fight will go on to be in really, really big fights after this."

Prior to facing Cayo, Peterson had last been in the ring in December of last year.

That's when Peterson rose from a pair of second-round knockdowns to salvage a 10-round majority draw against hard-hitting Victor Ortiz (29-2-2, 22 KOs).

Ortiz later rose up to the next-higher weight and dethroned Andre Berto (28-1, 22 KOs) as WBC welterweight titleholder.

Ortiz has a date on Saturday to defend that belt against six-time, five-division titlewinner Floyd Mayweather Jr. on HBO Pay Per View.

"I understand that today Golden Boy and Lamont Peterson's team agreed to terms for the Khan fight. The fight will probably take place in the United States. It could be another good test for Khan," said HBO's Senior Vice President of Sports Kery Davis.

"The Peterson fight against Ortiz, in retrospect, the draw, looks a lot better on the Peterson resume. So we're looking at it as a good test for Khan. I think that Peterson is a pretty good athlete, so that I don't think that he will be overwhelmed by Khan's speed. He's a very sound boxer, so I think that this will be a competitive matchup."

Peterson's initial title shot was in December of 2009, when he lost a clash of unbeaten fighters by unanimous decision to then-WBO beltholder Tim Bradley (27-0, 11 KOs).

"Washington is Peterson's home town, and I can't really remember the last significant fight that HBO has televised in Washington, D.C., so there might be a level of excitement by going there," said Davis.

"Now everyone knows that Detroit has a large Muslim population, so I know that the Khan's have been talking about going to Detroit for some time, so this might be the opportunity for them to do that. So I think that either venue makes sense."

Lem Satterfield can be reached at

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