Newly-crowned IBF/WBA junior welterweight titlewinner Lamont Peterson would rise into the welterweight division for a fight with Manny Pacquiao, and then drop back down to defend his belts in a rematch with Amir Khan “if the opportunity is there,” Peterson’s trainer, Barry Hunter, told RingTV.com on Friday.
Pacquiao has thus far failed in attempts to make a bout with WBC welterweight titleholder Floyd Mayweather Jr., who is now facing a 90-day jail sentence that is slated to begin on Jan. 6. Peterson is considering a return bout with Khan, whom he dethroned by split-decison on Dec. 10.
But Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, told RingTV.com on Thursday that he considered Peterson (30-1-1, 15 knockouts) to be “a great” opponent for Pacquiao.
“You know, there are fights out there,” said Roach, who trains both Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs) and Khan (26-2, 18 KOs). “I think that Lamont Peterson is a great opponent for Manny Pacquiao if the Mayweather fight doesn’t happen. That is, if Lamont really doesn’t want to take the fight with Amir Khan.”
Peterson has been offered a career-high $1 million by Golden Boy Promotions for a rematch with Khan, who has cited poor officiating and scorecard descrepancies among the reasons he has appealed to the IBF and the WBA to overturn Peterson’s victory or else to order an immediate rematch.
Peterson has also acknowledged considering a return bout with RING No. 8-rated pound-for-pound Tim Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs), who scored a unanimous decision over Peterson during his failed effort to win the WBO belt in December of 2009.
Pacquiao is coming off November’s controversial majority decision over Juan Manuel Marquez, while Mayweather (42-0, 26 KOs) has targeted a May 5 return to the ring at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas against an opponent to be determined. Many have speculated that Pacquiao is his target.
Philippines news organization ABS-CBN correspondent reported that Pacquiao said that a fight with Mayweather “might not push because he is faced with cases” that could jeopardize Mayweather’s target date of May 5.
“Now if that’s in the Philippines newspapers, then I guess there’s something to be said about that,” said Hunter. “Plus, Freddie’s worked with Lamont before, and I don’t think that he would be saying something like that just to be blowing smoke. I’ve never known him to not call it like he sees it.”
If Pacquiao can’t get Mayweather, many believe that he will seek a fourth bout against Marquez or else, one opposite Bradley, the latter of whom shares Pacquiao’s promoter, Top Rank.
If not Mayweather, however, Roach said that he likes a matchup featuring Pacquiao against Peterson. Peterson stands nearly four inches taller than Pacquiao at 5-foot-9, and entered the ring against the 5-10 Khan weighing 155 pounds.
“There’s always an open book. We don’t want to limit ourselves to just one thing. Bottom line is, he is here now, and we didn’t get here to just be satisfied with where we are,” said Hunter.
“If the opportunity is there, and it makes business sense, and if it’s a situation that we feel we could go into and have a good chance of coming out on top, then we’ll take a shot at it.”
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank Inc.
Photo courtesy of Barry Hunter
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org