The manager and trainer of IBF No. 1 contender Lamont Peterson believes that WBA and IBF junior welterweight titleholder Amir Khan will avoid Peterson in order to fight another opponent in December, he told RingTV.com on Saturday.
Peterson (29-1-1, 15 knockouts), of Washington, D.C., scored a 12th-round knockout over Victor Cayo an IBF title eliminator on Saturday in Las Vegas, theoretically earning a mandatory shot at Khan (26-1, 18 KOs).
Khan added the IBF belt to the WBA title he already owned with a fifth-round knockout of Zab Judah on July 23, and is said by his promoter, Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, to be targeted for a December return to the ring at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
"Here's the deal. We've always wanted to fight Amir Khan. Always. And I know that Amir Khan has expressed interest in fighting us," said Barry Hunter, Peterson's manager and trainer.
"Of course, they know after watching Lamont's performance that this fight will not be a cakewalk. So I think that there's a slimmer chance than more that we would get that fight with Amir Khan."
Schaefer could not be reached for comment. But Khan has expressed the desire to face former three-division titleholder Erik Morales (51-7, 35 KOs) or the winner of an Aug. 27 junior welterweight clash between Robert Guerrero (29-1-1, 18 KOs) and Marcos Maidana (30-2, 27 KOs).
A Sept. 17 match up between Morales and Jorge Barrios (50-4-1, 35 KOs) has been sanctioned as a WBC title fight by that organization, this, after it stripped WBO titleholder Tim Bradley (27-0, 11 KOs) of that version of his crowns.
In accordance with WBA policy involving titleholders who hold two belts, Khan could be elevated to the title of "Super Champion," meaning that the Guerrero-Maidana match up could be for the WBA's "regular" championship, according to Schaefer.
"This is the way that I can see it going down," said Hunter. "I think that Amir Khan is going to move up to 147 or he's gonna fight somebody else other than Lamont Peterson, and that Lamont might end up fighting somebody else for the vacant IBF title."
Hunter railed against the notion that Khan could opt to face Morales, Guerrero or Maidana instead of Peterson.
"If you look at this thing going on with Morales, how they're just bringing guys back and giving them the chance to fight for titles against people you've never even heard of? I mean, come on. We know that's a bunch of garbage and that there's a lot of politics involved," said Hunter.
"Some guys have been in with soft opponents, and some have been literally given belts. Meanwhile, Lamont has gone the long road and the hard road, and most of the people he's fought has been a big difference in his performances."
Hunter defended Peterson's passing up a chance to face Khan in February, 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.
Khan moved on and defended his crown by technical decision over Paul McCloskey in England.
"The reason why we didn't get the fight the first time, you know, that was a financial thing. And then we were called back to fight Khan again in May, but HBO ended up going with Zab Judah," said Hunter.
"But I know that if it was up to Amir Khan himself, that he would take the challenge. That's one thing that I like about him. I've never seen Amir Khan actually turn down a fight."
Cayo had a two-fight winning streak coming in, having scored stoppages in the second and first rounds, respectively, since he was stopped in the sixth round by Marcos Maidana in March of 2010.
"The thing that I was most impressed about was the way that Lamont close the show down the stretch," said Hunter. "Lamont came in there and in the last round, he turned up the heat and that's what got him up and out of there."
Peterson was last in the ring in December, when he rose from a pair of second-round knockdowns to salvage a 10-round majority draw against hard-hitting Victor Ortiz, the present WBC welterweight titleholder.
Peterson's initial title shot was in December of 2009, when he lost a clash of unbeatens by unanimous decision to Bradley for the WBO belt.
Bradley went on to dethrone Devon Alexander as WBC titleholder in January, and Ortiz vanquished WBC welterweight beltholder Andre Berto, setting up a Sept. 17 defense of his crown against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
"The Bradley fight was a fight that Lamont was able to improve from and to mature from. If you look at Tim Bradley, Bradley's been a better fighter since then," said Hunter.
"And then you turn around and you look at the Victor Ortiz fight with Lamont, and Victor Ortiz is a better fighter and so is Lamont. So just how much interest Amir Khan has in fighting Lamont now that he's performed so well in his last two fights, I'm not exactly sure."