RingTV.com has learned that WBA and IBF junior welterweight beltholder Amir Khan could make the first defense of his IBF belt against mandatory challenger Lamont Peterson, who has agreed to terms, according to a source familiar with the situation.
Sites being considered for the HBO televised bout include Detroit, Washington and Montreal.
Peterson would not confirm that the agreement has been reached, having yet to speak to his manager and trainer, Barry Hunter. Hunter could not be reached for comment.
“I haven’t spoken to my manager and my trainer, and they haven’t told me for certain yet, but I knew that we were very, very close. I knew that we were very close to finalizing the deal for the last week or so, but it’s not signed yet,” said Peterson.
“Yes, this is the fight that I want right now. It’s the fight that I was looking for, and it’s a strong fight for me. It’s the best fight that I can get, because I’m fighting the No. 1 guy in the 140-pound weight class and I’m fighting for the title. It’s a fight I know that I can win.”
The 24-year-old Khan (26-1, 18 KOs) of England has won eight consecutive fights, four of them by knockout, and is coming off of last month’s fifth-round stoppage that dethroned Zab Judah as IBF titleholder.
The 27-year-old Peterson (29-1-1, 15 KOs) of Washington, D.C. won an IBF eliminator with a 12th-round stoppage of Victor Cayo (26-2, 18 KOs) in July, earning the organization’s No. 1 contender status.
“Look, everybody has weaknesses or flaws. Call them whatever you want to. It’s up to me now to come up with a game plan with my coach and to come up with a plan to defeat Amir Khan in the ring,” said Peterson.
“Any time that you’re in a fight of this magnitude, then it’s only going to lead to much, much bigger fights. And the winner of this fight will go on to be in really, really big fights after this.”
In February, Peterson passed up a chance to face Khan when talks broke down between Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer and Peterson’s attorney, Jeff Fried, for an April challenge to Khan’s WBA belt over money and a rematch clause.
Peterson, in succession, had been offered $150,000, then, $200,000, and then, $300.000, but the challenger’s camp wanted “north of $350,000” to travel to England to face Khan, according to Schaefer.
When the negotiations fell apart, Khan moved on and defended his crown by technical decision over Paul McCloskey in England.
Fried, who represented Peterson and Hunter in the negotiations, had contended that the negotiations failed more over the notion of a rematch in the event that Khan lost than it did the money being offered.
But during an interview last week, Peterson and Hunter each agreed that the amount of $350,000 was “in the ballpark” if the deal were to get done, even as he also expressed faith that it would.
“Last time, I think that they were offering $300,000, but that was too light for us,” said Peterson. “Nothing’s changed. As far as what I’m asking for, so those numbers will still have to be reached.”
Prior to facing Cayo, Peterson had last been in the ring in December of last year.
That’s when Peterson rose from a pair of second-round knockdowns to salvage a 10-round majority draw against hard-hitting Victor Ortiz (29-2-2, 22 KOs).
Ortiz later rose up to the next-higher weight and dethroned Andre Berto (28-1, 22 KOs) as WBC welterweight titleholder.
Peterson’s initial title shot was in December of 2009, when he lost a clash of unbeaten fighters by unanimous decision to then-WBO beltholder Tim Bradley (27-0, 11 KOs).
“I spoke to Richard Schaefer today, and it looks pretty good so far,” said Hunter last week. “But if everybody agrees, then it looks like Dec. 10 will be the date, and I think that it’s going to go down.”
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com