AMIR KHAN vs. LAMONT PETERSON
When: Saturday, Dec. 10
Where: Washington, D.C.
TV: HBO, 6:45 p.m. PT / 9:45 p.m. ET
Weight: Junior welterweight (140 pounds)
Title(s) at stake: Khan’s WBA and IBF junior welterweight titles
Also on the card: Seth Mitchell vs. Timur Ibragimov, 10 rounds, heavyweights; Anthony Peterson vs. Daniel Attah, 10 rounds, lightweights
Height / Reach: 5-10 (178cm) / 71 (180cm)
Hometown: Bolton, England
Nickname: King Khan
Turned pro: 2005
Record: 26-1 (18 knockouts)
Trainer: Freddie Roach
Fight-by-fight: Click here
THE RING rating: No. 1 junior welterweight
Titles: WBA junior welterweight (2009-current); IBF junior welterweight (2011-current).
Biggest victories: Marco Antonio Barrera, March 14, 2009, TD 5; Andreas Kotelnik, July 18, 2009, UD 12 (wins WBA title); Paulie Malignaggi, May 15, 2010, TKO 11; Marcos Maidana, Dec. 11, 2010, UD 12; Paul McCloskey, April 16, 2011, TD 6; Zab Judah, Jul 23, 2011, KO 5 (wins IBF title).
Loss: Breidis Prescott, Sept. 6, 2008, KO 1
Height / Reach: 5-9 (175cm) / 74 (188cm)
Hometown: Memphis, Tenn. (from Washington, D.C.)
Turned pro: 2004
Record: 29-1-1 (15 knockouts)
Trainer: Barry Hunter
Fight-by-fight: Click here
THE RING rating: No. 6 junior welterweight
Biggest victories: Antonio Mesquita, Jan. 4, 2008, UD 10; Lanardo Tyner, Nov. 1, 2008, UD 10; Willy Blaine, April 25, 2009, TKO 7; Damian Fuller, April 10, 2010, TKO 7; Victor Cayo, July 29, 2011, KO 12.
Draw: Victor Ortiz, Dec. 11, 2010, MD 12.
Loss: Timothy Bradley, Dec. 12, 2009, UD 12.
HEAD TO HEAD
Skills: Both fighters are tall, rangy boxers who employ a classic, upright style that is mainly supported by a cripst jabs and straight right hands. Both Khan and Peterson are aggressive, technically sound, and good combination punchers. Peterson, the better body puncher, has tighter technique. Khan, the busier and more mobile, has better footwork.
Power: Khan, who has scored 18 knockouts in 27 bouts, has a higher KO percentage (66.67% to 48.39%) than Peterson, who has 15 stoppages in 31 bouts. However, it should be pointed out that seven of Khan’s stoppages occurred at lightweight (at or below 135 pounds), where the UK star has fought 10 times. Still, the hunch here is that Khan’s edge in hand speed translates in to slightly harder punches.
Speed and athletic ability: Both fighters are gifted athletes, but Khan is more dynamic than Peterson, who is somewhat methodical. Both boxers possess considerable physical strength to go with their good balance, hand-eye coordination and quick reflexes, but Khan appears faster on the trigger and on foot.
Defense: Neither fighter wants to invite punishment but both get hit with more punches than they should because of their aggressive nature. Khan relies on his quick reflexes, upper-body movement (usually by leaning back) and his footwork to avoid incoming shots. Peterson prefers to tuck his chin and cover up behind his high guard. Although Peterson is very good at catching punches on his gloves, forearms and shoulders when he goes into his “turtle-shell” defense, this stationary posture makes him more of a target than Khan usually is during his fights.
Experience: Peterson has four more bouts than Khan, but the WBA/IBF titleholder has fought the higher quality of opposition. Khan has fought five current or former titleholders, including future hall of famer Marco Antonio Barrera. He’s also faced five RING-ranked 140-pound contenders, including Marcos Maidana and Zab Judah. Peterson has faced two titleholders, Timothy Bradley and Victor Ortiz, both of whom are RING rated.
Chin: Khan has been down three times, once for the count when Breidis Prescott stopped him in one round in 2008. Peterson has also been three times – once against Braldey and twice against Ortiz – but he’s always gotten up with a clear head and acquitted himself well in the same rounds he went down.
Conditioning: Both fighters train all year, regardless if they have a fight scheduled, and both are almost fanatical about their preparation once a bout has been made.
Wear and tear: Both fighters have been in tough distance bouts. Khan went life and death with Maidana in the late rounds of their barnburner last December. Peterson’s only loss against Bradley two years ago was a hard-fought 12 rounder. His 10-round draw with Ortiz also had its punishing moments. However, neither fighter has absorbed a debilitating beating in the ring and both young men are in their athletic primes.
Corner: Barry Hunter has done an amazing job with Peterson and Peterson’s younger brother, Anthony, both of whom he started out in boxing. He’s not only developed two world-class boxers, but two outstanding human beings. Thus, his raport with Peterson during a fight goes beyond the trainer-fighter relationship; it is more on a father-and-son level. Peterson always responds to Hunter’s between-rounds intsructions or demands. Freddie Roach also has a close relationship with Khan. In fact, the Brit of Pakistani descent is probably the closest fighter to the celebrated American trainer, next to a certain superstar from the Philippines. The eight-bout win streak Khan has had with Roach in his corner since the Prescott disaster has fostered deep trust between the two. Beyond their raport, Roach is without question the most accomplished active trainer in the sport, next to Emanuel Steward.
Outcome: Peterson’s hometown fans will be treated to a fast-paced boxing match between two highly-skilled, hungry young combatants. Khan’s superior speed and lateral movement will enable him to jump out to a points lead after three rounds, but there will be many entertaining exchanges between the two and Peterson will land his share of counter punches, especially to the body. The respected challenger will finally time a telling blows to the head in the middle rounds when he lands a big hook that momentarily wobbles Khan. The dual titleholder will fire back with gusto in an effort to regain control of the fight but by doing so he will play into Peterson’s hands. The two will battle it out in close and in the center of the ring with equal success in the middle-to-late rounds. Roach will implore Khan to use the entire ring in the last three rounds of the bout and the odds favorite will obey, sticking and moving behind his jab against his steady stalking challenger until the final bell.
Prediction: Khan wins a close but unanimous decision.
Photo / Tom Hogan-Golden Boy Promotions