Mayweather (42-0, 26 KOs) already has staked out May 5 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for his return to the ring following his fourth-round KO of Victor Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KOs) in September.
Ortiz and RING No. 4 rated Andre Berto (28-1, 22 KOs) are slated for a Showtime-televised rematch on Feb. 11 at the MGM Grand. Berto has vacated his IBF belt in favor of seeking revenge against Ortiz, who took Berto’s WBC belt by unanimous decision in April.
Berto had rebounded from his loss to Ortiz by dethroning Jan Zaveck as IBF titleholder by fifth-round knockout in September, stopping Zaveck for the first time in his career.
“If Victor Ortiz wants to come to the table, or Mayweather or one of those big, big cats, then we have no problem,” said Roach. “Amir and Victor fought in the amateurs, and so they have a little history, so we might want to see that fight too.”
Mayweather is reportedly seeking a bout with Pacquiao, this, in the wake of their twice-failed negotiations over the issue of drug testing.
Last month, Roach was in the corner of Pacquiao for his controversial majority decision victory over Juan Manuel Marquez (53-6-1, 39 KOs). A week later, Roach worked with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (44-0-1, 31 KOs) for his fifth-round knockout over Peter Manfredo Jr.
Khan’s past includes having worked with and sparred alongside both Pacquiao and Chavez Jr., which, in addition to his training for Peterson, he believes will help him to make the transition to welterweight.
“Training for this fight this fight was a lot different. We trained with a lot heavier guys who were a lot quicker, because the thing with Lamont Peterson is that he’s a strong guy, physically, and we know that,” said Peterson.
“We need to be ready for that strength … We know that it could be a long fight.”
Ariza said training for Khan, this time around, was designed with the rise in weight in mind.
“When Freddie told me about Lamont Peterson, he said, ‘this is no joke, we really have to take this seriously. So, that just makes me want to take things to another level. But more importantly, I know that there has been a big buzz about taking Amir to 147,” said Ariza.
“So for me, it was about getting Amir to train at over 150 pounds to get him more acclimated to that weight. I want him to do that with the idea that he would still be functional at that weight with his speed and his power and that nothing suffered for it. So, we did train differently for it.”
Roach believes that Khan is ready for the rise in weight, but that Peterson is not to be overlooked.
“In my opinion, Lamont is Amir’s toughest opponent yet. He’s very strong in the pocket, and I’ve worked with him up at the Olympic training center. I know how strong he is. He can box, but it seems like once he gets hit, he loses that boxing ability and wants to fight a little bit. But he’s very good in the pocket, and he will try to bang on our body and go to the body and break us down,” said Roach.
“But we have a good game plan for him and he’s just a big strong guy. He’s the first guy that we’ve fought who is the same height as Amir I feel, and we don’t have a reach advantage in this one. I think that Amir will break him down, and if the knockout comes, that will be a bonus. I think that Amir is going to be too fast and too much for him.”
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com