Pacquiao’s five-time Trainer of The Year Freddie Roach was the first to vocalize it, telling RingTV.com, “I think that Lamont Peterson is a great opponent for Manny Pacquiao if the fight (with WBC welterweight titleholder Floyd Mayweather Jr.) does not happen.”
Mayweather’s facing a 90-day jail sentence on Wednesday that is slated to begin on Jan. 6, a development which threatens Mayweather’s targeted return to the ring of May 5 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas against an opponent to be determined, but who many have speculated was intended to be Pacquiao.
But a 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.
On Friday, Peterson’s trainer, Barry Hunter, told RingTV.com that Peterson would rise in weight to face Pacquiao “if the opportunity is there,” this, if Peterson does not take a rematch with Amir Khan, the man Peterson dethroned as titleholder by split-decision on Dec. 10.
On Monday, Pacquiao’s advisor, Michael Koncz, officially named Peterson (30-1-1, 15 knockouts) among those he will mention to Top Rank Inc. CEO Bob Arum as a potential rival for Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs), who is coming off November’s controversial majority decision over Juan Manuel Marquez.
Koncz is back in Las Vegas, where he will also discuss other options for Pacquiao with Arum, such as a fourth bout with Marquez, WBO junior welterweight beltholder Tim Bradley, or WBA junior middleweight titleholder Miguel Cotto.
“I’m aware of the options that we have, and then, also, Lamont Peterson is another option also. We’ve had some preliminary discussions, but we’ve not sat down, Manny and I, to discuss that in depth,” said Koncz.
“I came back because Manny has instructed me to do something here in regard to future opponents, and I’ll do that this coming week, so we’ll see. I have to meet with Bob on some other issues too.”
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, who earned $650,000 to Khan’s $1.1 million, has also acknowledged considering a return bout with RING No. 8-rated pound-for-pound Bradley, who scored a unanimous decision over Peterson during his failed effort to win the WBO belt in December of 2009.
“I don’t have any frustration about Floyd’s situation,” said Koncz, who visited Mayweather at the fighter’s Las Vegas gym in last last month.
“I would think that Floyd would be a little relieved also now that he knows that there is some closure to that aspect of his life.”
If not Mayweather, however, Roach said that he likes a matchup featuring Pacquiao against Peterson.
“I’ve had a brief discussion with Manny, and I’ve mentioned all of those names to him, including Lamont Peterson. Lamont Peterson is a champion now, so he’s just another option,” said Koncz.
“We’ll continue to talk about him and the other options if Floyd’s out of the picture. Lamont Peterson’s just a name that’s been thrown out there, and Manny and I will considered him as another possibility. But we’re not going to sit down and have an in-depth conversation until I go back on Jan. 8.”
Koncz said Pacquiao would like to return to the ring in “May or June.”
“We’re going to fight sometime in May or June,” said Koncz. “There’s no plans for Manny right now, except that we’re going to enjoy the Christmas holidays and then we’ll figure everything out later on.”
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 Naoki Fukuda
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank Inc.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com