By Dan Cann
It was great to see Britain’s Amir Khan (26-1, 18 wins inside the distance) announce that he will defend his WBA and IBF light-welterweight titles against American Lamont Peterson in Washington DC on 10 December.
PHOTO CREDIT: Chris Hutty – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions.
Challenger Peterson, is 27 years old, has a record of 29 wins, 1 defeat (on points) and a draw with 15 wins coming inside the distance His sole defeat was against WBO champion Timothy Bradley in California two years ago in his previous world title attempt. So there is no disgrace in that blemish. Bradley meanwhile is chasing a fight with Khan’s stablemate Filipino sensation Manny Pacquiao. That one looks to be getting a May 2012 date.
Khan, 24, looked fantastic last time out in outclassing and dominating New Yorker Zab Judah in adding the IBF belt to his collection. The first round loss to Colombian banger Breidis Prescott is becoming more of a distant memory with each contest. Many claim that Khan was boiling himself down to make the lightweight limit. Since moving up to light-welter Khan has looked much stronger.
He has been talking about a move up to welterweight after this one and is chasing a clash with WBC world welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. Khan has the height and build to grow into the welterweight division so it’s a move that makes sense and is not a case of a blow up light-welter attempting to grab more cash. If you look at Khan’s shoulders it’s not too outlandish to suggest he may indeed finish his career as a light-middleweight.
Before we get ahead of ourselves Khan must face and defeat his fourth opponent on US soil. Impressing and winning over American fans is crucial to his further success and development. If he wants to one day face Mayweather Jr among others he has to get past the likes of Peterson and in style if he wants his name mentioned in such lofty company.
At the conference to announce the contest with Peterson Khan said: ‘I know Lamont is a strong contender but it doesn’t matter that I’m fighting him in his back yard. I’m coming in as champion and I will leave as champion.’
Fighting talk! But Khan will need to have this kind of confidence and self belief. He knows better than anyone else that one slip up at this stage of his career and he can kiss goodbye the potential big paydays against the elite in the sport today.
Not to be outdone or overlooked Washington DC based Peterson retorted ‘On 10 December, I will make my dreams come true and ruin Amir’s plans to reign over his division.’
He showed respect for Khan’s record but obviously is not coming to just make up the numbers. Home support is crucial whatever sport you compete in. Expect the Washington crowd to get behind their man and give him a major boost.
‘This is the moment I’ve been waiting for my entire career, and to win a world title at home is something that I will remember forever.’ He added.
Khan has expressed a desire to box in front of his home fans next time and it is not too outlandish to suggest a Mayweather Jr fight late in 2012 at an outdoor arena such as Wembley for example. That one would be huge and it is conceivable that the American will be tempted to fight overseas if the money is right.
History has shown us time and again in boxing that it is a fatal error to overlook the man in front of you. It’s great to be motivated by future potential engagements and lucrative career defining contests but so many fighters have become undone by becoming blinded by dollar signs and thoughts of their ‘legacy.’
Khan must start favourite for this one based on his current form and experience but if he is to keep his dreams alive of becoming a multi-weight world champion and hall of famer, then he has to concentrate on one man only until after 10 December and that man is Lamont Peterson.
The fight will take place at the Washington DC Convention Center and will be televised live on HBO in America with whispers that Khan’s relationship with British satellite broadcaster Sky is close to being mended.