by Charles Jay
Even though it may look like Lamont Peterson is in the driver’s seat right now, this is actually rough terrain he is traversing. He’s got some powerful, influential people who are trying to take his IBF and WBA titles without winning them in a ring, and frankly, you can never tell what is going on behind closed doors with these sanctioning bodies. He’s not going to get any relief from the “Bible of Boxing” and their ranking “system,” because Ring Magazine is owned lock, stock and barrel by Oscar De La Hoya, who through his Golden Boy Promotions, is the guy trying to snatch the title.
He really has no promoter or network behind him, although I’m sure that Bob Arum, if only to agitate Golden Boy, will continue to dangle the possibility of a fight with Manny Pacquiao for as long as it can carry a glimmer of hope. Peterson is no Pacquiao and no Mayweather, so having that piece of hardware gives him almost all the value he has in the marketplace.
This is the time to exercise some leverage, is he has any.
So what would I do if I was Lamont Peterson?
* REMEMBER THAT I AM THE CHAMP – I would remember that I am the champ and what I possess is something Amir Khan wants. Keep in mind, unless Khan can get this win back, his value is going to be severely diminished. A win over Lamont Peterson is the shortest distance through the gateway en route to the mega-fights he wants. So the advantage would belong with me. And I might even be the guy who’s got more options open at this particular time. After all, there are other fighters who would like to take a crack at this title.
* EXPLORE OTHER OPTIONS – Months before this fight took place, Khan was making some noises about fighting Erik Morales, a Golden Boy property, which was something of an insult because I had been established as the mandatory challenger. I would be hesitant to commit to anything too quickly. I’d want to see what was out there that might prove beneficial, not just right away but down the line (Note: It is comforting to know that he is indeed exploring things).
* MAKE THEM DROP THE APPEAL – If I was Peterson and Golden Boy wanted to sit down and negotiate for a rematch with me, they would have to drop their appeals with both the IBF and WBA as a condition for ANY negotiations. I would not let them play both ends at once against me. I would not let them drag the negotiations past January 18 so they could be in a position to leverage me if they get a favorable decision from somebody. But maybe if I am thinking straight, they won’t be able to leverage me anyway. How much of a chance is it, really, that Richard Schaefer is going to win not one, but both of his appeals for an immediate rematch? Whatever happens, in all likelihood I am going to have a title to defend. But I would not let them embarrass me by allowing them to continue this effort to dislodge the title from me through an appeals process. If that’s the way they want to do it, they can go and fight all the Paul McCloskeys they want, it won’t give them the strength to get to Mayweather.
* FREEZE THEM AT THE MILLION-DOLLAR FIGURE – I’m assuming when they talk about a “seven-figure offer,” that’s what this purse is. I would never, ever give them the option of winning an appeal and then dropping the price because they don’t have to pay me that much anymore. if that’s going to be the case, I’d let Khan fight all the nobodies he wanted and see how long it takes to get his prestige back. We’re not negotiating DOWN.
* DEMAND A CO-PROMOTION – This would be something of an alternative to just accepting or rejecting a purse offer. I’d have it in mind that these are people who are highly partisan, and that they have done what they could to go around me to take the title back. So my philosophy might be that if somebody is going to be looking out for Khan’s interests on a promotional level, I might want someone doing the same for me. So maybe this fight becomes more of a partnership, structured so that I can maximize my earnings.
* FORGET ABOUT LOS ANGELES – If this was Golden Boy’s idea, it’s a trap. This is the city where Golden Boy is headquartered. They have a relationship with the commission and the officials. It’s where Freddie Roach trains Amir Khan. It represents a “home base” of sorts for the enemy camp. I would demand that the site be subject to mutual agreement.
* GET NEUTRAL JUDGES – That means there isn’t going to be a trio of California judges and a California referee. But it goes beyond that. If Amir Khan wanted to make an issue of the officials, I would do it too, even if it meant actually following the rules of the sanctioning organizations, which dictate that the officials could not be from either the United States or the United Kingdom. Could that be accomplished? Maybe not. But I would be wary of Golden Boy’s alternate location, which is surely Las Vegas, because even though we can’t prove it, there’s always been the feeling that decisions go “with the money” in Vegas. And after the Pacquaio-Marquez controversy, this is radioactive territory.