WASHINGTON, D.C– Five-time trainer of the Year Freddie Roach will work the corner of RING No. 1-rated junior welterweight Amir Khan for Saturday night’s WBA/IBF defense against RING No. 6-rated Lamont Peterson, their clash will be introduced by ring announcer Michael Buffer’s electrifying trademark phrase, “Lets Get Ready To Rumble,” and Washington-area former two-belt champion Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson will also be on hand for the HBO-telesvised bout at the Washington, D.C. Convention Center.
On Tuesday, that trio was formally announced as electees into the International Boxing Hall of Fame’s Canastota, New York-based museum, along with five-division titlewinner Thomas “The Hit-Man” Hearns, Showtime Sports color commentator Al Bernstein, veteran boxing journalist Michael Katz and others.
While Roach already was set to guide the 24-year-old Khan (26-1, 18 knockouts) against the 27-year-old Peterson (29-1-1, 15 KOs), the 40-year-old Johnson (44-5, 28 KOs) wanted to attend because the bout was taking place in his native, Washington, D.C.
Buffer, meanwhile, had been slated to work a bout featuring RING No. 1-rated heavyweight and WBA/WBO/IBF beltholder Wladimir Klitschko against challenger Jean Marc Mormeck in Germany that was postponed.
As a result, all three will be in the same arena.
“It’s pretty cool. It’s pretty cool. I was actually thinking about that. It’s quite a thing. I was scheduled to be out of the country and I would have been leaving today,” said Buffer. “So now, here I am and I’m going to be doing a fight on national television on HBO, and it will be in D.C.”
Khan-Peterson will be the first boxing event in Washington since Kevin McBride ended Mike Tyson’s career with a sixth-round stoppage in June of 2005, and it brings HBO to the Nation’s Capitol for the first time since Riddick Bowe defended his WBA heavyweight belt with a second-round knockout of Jesse Ferguson on May 22, 1993.
Bowe-Ferguson, Jones-Hopkins, held at RFK Stadium, was the last time Buffer called a major fight in Washington, D.C., as well.
“I did the fight with Bowe and Feguson in the ballpark. I remember Mayor Marion Barry still was in power, and I remember the mayor’s people taking over the event. His entourage came in and just pushed the photographers out of the way,” said Buffer
“They were like, ‘I’m with the mayor.’ What a nightmare that was for the press. But I’m going to be really glad to be there, so that will be really cool. As far as being in the hall of fame, all of the e-mails, and the mailbox, and the phone calls. The congratulations were coming in from all over. That was pretty nice.”
Part of Buffer’s story involves having overcome throat cancer thanks to an operation that removed a lymph node attached to his tonsils — the source of a cancer called squamous cell carcinoma.
The Khan-Peterson undercard boasts 29-year-old Seth Mitchell (23-0-1, 17 KOs), of Brandywine, Md., against 36-year-old Timur Ibragimov (30-3-1, 16 KOs), of Uzbekistan, who is coming off a split-decision loss to former cruiserweight titleholder Mormeck (36-4, 22 KOs) in December that ended Ibragimov’s winning streak of nine straight victories, including three stoppages.
Long before his older brother center stage, 26-year-old lightweight standout Anthony Peterson (30-1, 20 KOs) will face fellow Washingtonian, Daniel Attah (26-8-1, 9 KOs) on the undercard.