By Jackie Kallen
Last weekend’s Cotto/Margarito fight played out exactly the way I figured it would. No surprises. But this weekend’s big fight–Amir Khan/Lamont Peterson is a little tougher to call. If you ask the oddsmakers, they will tell you that Khan is the favorite. But if you talk to Peterson’s supporters, they will tell you to go for the longshot.
Photo: Delane Rouse – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
Both men have the talent and ability to win. Their records are almost the same. 29-1 for Peterson and 26-1 for Khan. They are only an inch apart in height (Khan is 5’10” versus Peterson at 5’9″) and two years apart in age. At 25, Khan is the younger man.
I am very familiar with Lamont Peterson. He fought–and beat–Damian Fuller when I was working with Fuller in April, 2010. He is fast and crafty. He also happens to be one of the nicest, classiest guys in the sport today. He was gracious before the fight and even more humble and grateful afterwards.
He has had some impressive wins in his career. His KO record is just under 50%, but he has been in with guys like Lanardo Tyner, Victor Ortiz and Timothy Bradley. Khan won’t impress him or overwhelm him. Bradley was the only one to beat him and it was a 12-round decision.
Khan, whose KO ratio is over 66%, has also been in with top contenders like Zab Judah, Paulie M, Dimitry Salita and Maidana. His only loss was also in 2008, to Breidis Prescott, who scored a 1st-round KO. His opposition has obviously been a notch above Peterson’s.
In fights like this, it boils down to who wants it more. The fight being in Peterson’s backyard is a plus for the hometown boxer. When a fighter is a heavy underdog, he often has more to prove and gives it that extra inch.So if Peterson lets his hands go and goes for broke, he can score an upset. James Toney beat Michael Nunn as a 20-1 underdog so I know it can be done.
Having Freddie Roach in Khan’s corner has a definite effect on the odds. Admittedly one of the game’s top trainers, having Roach in your corner is worth a lot. His fighters tend to win. Often.
Amir has been very confident and is, of course, predicting victory on Saturday night. Peterson, who is not a boastful or brash guy, has high hopes for a victory but is aware that this is the fight of a lifetime for him.
Despite the fact that the smart money is on Khan, I am going to go out on a limb and pick Peterson. I believe this fight means the world to him and he will find a way to pull it out.
Jackie Kallen is a boxing manager who has been in the business for over three decades. Her life inspired the Meg Ryan film “Against the Ropes” and she was a part of the NBC series “The Contender.” www.JackieKallen.com, www.facebook.com/JackieKallen