By: William Holmes
On Saturday December 10th, WBA/IBF Junior Welterweight Champion Amir Khan takes on Washington DC’s very own Lamont Peterson. The winner of this matchup will likely see a bigger opportunity against another top junior welterweight contender, or even one of the current big money matchups in the welterweight division. Even though this fight is not on pay per view, its magnitude and significance cannot be understated. This might be the biggest fight HBO is showing this year. Also on the televised card is a heavyweight title between the undefeated American heavyweight Seth Mitchell taking on the always dangerous Timur Ibragimov. The following is a preview of this Saturday’s matchups.
Photo: Delane Rouse – Hoganphotos
Seth Mitchell (23-0-1) vs. Timur Ibragimov (30-3-1); Heavyweight
The heavyweight division has always been considered the glamour division in boxing, and the United States has not produced a dominating heavyweight champion in quite some time. Seth Mitchell may be the American Boxer to bring some excitement back into the heavyweight division for American fight fans.
Seth Mitchell is a Maryland native who will have a strong hometown crowd in attendance on Saturday night. Of his 23 victories, 17 have been by knockout. Mitchell used to start at middle linebacker for Michigan State University, and had to quit playing football in 2005 due to injuries. Mitchell is a relative newcomer to boxing, as he started boxing as an amateur in 2006, and did not have his first professional bout until 2008. However, in three years Mitchell has fought twenty four times, an impressive number for any fighter. The biggest name fighter that Mitchell has defeated so far is Taurus Sykes in December of last year. He won his last eight fights by KO or TKO, and it seven of those eight victories came against fighters with winning records.
Timur Ibragimov is the brother of former heavyweight champion Sultan Ibragimov. Unlike Seth Mitchell, Ibragimov has a ton of experience on the amateur circuit before becoming a professional. As a teenager, Ibragimov won the Soviet Union Junior National Championships. He also competed in the 1996 Olympics. Of his 30 victories, 16 have come by knockout. Ibragimov has gone 9-1 in his past 10 fights, with his lone loss being his last fight in a close split decision against former Cruiserweight champion Jean Marc Mormeck. Ibragimov’s other two losses were against former title contenders Calvin Brock and Tony Thompson.
Ibragimov should have the technical edge on Saturday, but Mitchell certainly has the age advantage and power advantage. Ibragimov will also be the toughest opponent Mitchell has fought to date, but if Mitchell can win impressively on HBO, a future title shot is not out of the question.
Amir Khan (26-1) vs. Lamont Peterson (29-1-1); WBA/IBF Junior Welterweight Championship
Amir Khan is considered by many to be the next big superstar in boxing, and a potential legitimate challenger to Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. At the age of seventeen, Amir Khan became an extremely young British Boxing medalist when he won the silver medal in the 2004 Olympics. Khan avenged his loss to the Gold Medal winner Mario Kindelan in 2005. Of Khan’s 26 victories, 18 have come by knockout. Khan’s victories are littered with former champions and legitimate contenders. Marco Antonio Barrera, Marcos Maidana, Andreas Kotelnik, Paulie Malignaggi, and Zab Judah are some of the great boxers that Khan has defeated. Khan’s lone loss was a huge upset at the time to Breidis Prescott in 2008 in the lightweight division. Many observers feel Prescott landed a lucky punch in that first round knockout, and would bow to Khan’s ferocity if a rematch were to ever happen.
Lamont Peterson is a legitimate contender who hopes to derail Khan’s plans on becoming a boxing superstar. In 2001 Peterson won the National Golden Gloves lightweight championship. Peterson also has power, as he has fifteen knockouts on his professional record. His only loss was to Timothy Bradley by decision in 2009. Most fight fans will remember Peterson for fighting Victor Ortiz to a majority draw in 2010. Peterson was able to survive and escape with a draw despite being knocked down by Ortiz twice in the third round. Two of the judges in that fight had it a 94-94 draw, and the third had it 95-93 for Peterson. If anything, Peterson showed he had the ability to recover from multiple knockdowns and stay competitive in a fight. Peterson came back after his draw with Khan to defeat Victor Cayo by knockout in the twelfth round. Cayo was a very tough fight for Peterson, as Cayo’s lone loss prior to his bout with Peterson was against Marcos Maidana.
Khan has to be given a lot of credit for taking on a very tough Lamont Peterson in his hometown. The biggest fight for Khan at the junior welterweight division would be Timothy Bradley, but when that fight couldn’t be made he took on the next best contender, and that’s Lamont Peterson. If Khan wants a big fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Manny Pacquiao, he’ll need to defeat a legitimate title contender in his home town. The fact that Khan was willing to fight Peterson on his home turf speaks volumes to the confidence that Khan has in himself. On Saturday we’ll find out if that self confidence is warranted.