“First of all, I’m delighted that the fight has been made. I think that it’s a fight that I deserve. At the end of the day, I think that a lot of people think that I won the first fight. We want justice in the form of a rematch,” said Khan of the announcement of the return bout, which is signed and sealed and scheduled to be delivered on May 19 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas.
“Now that the rematch is made, I thank Amir Khan Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions for making this happen. Lamont Peterson and his people were really playing hard to get. To me, I don’t think that they really wanted the fight. To me, they were afraid to take the fight.”
Peterson (30-1-1, 15 knockouts) chose to face Khan (26-2, 18 KOs) again over an offer from Top Rank CEO Bob Arum for a proposed bout with RING lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez on July 14 at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium.
The winner of Marquez-Peterson was to get a shot at that between WBO welterweight titleholder Manny Pacquiao and WBO junior welterweight beltholder Tim Bradley that is being targeted for June 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“I’m glad that he chose to fight me again. Now that the fight’s been made, I’m just going to go back to boxing. I’m not going to make the same mistakes that I made in the first fight. I think that we stayed on the inside a little bit too long,” said Khan, who scored a first-round knockdown but had two points deducted for a pushing foul over the course of the bout.
“We just didn’t control ourselves emotionally, and we’re not going to make those same mistakes. We know everything that Lamont Peterson does, and we know exactly what to do. This time, we’re going to go in there and do a job on him. The way that we’re going to train for this fight is going to be totally different than we did the last time. I’m going to be more focused than we were the last time.”
Khan, meanwhile, said that he was taking nothing away from Peterson as a fighter.
“I never underestimated him. We knew that it was going to be a tough fight. It’s just something that we just got away from the way that we’re comfortable fighting. I came all the way to D.C. to fight him,” said Khan.
“There’s a few things in training camp that I’m going to change. So, I really think that this time, I’ll be a lot better and a lot stronger and a lot more ready for this fight.”
In response to an appeal by Khan which cited a poorly officiated bout and scorecard descrepancies, the WBA had ordered the rematch of a battle which took place at the Washington, D.C., Convenction Center in Peterson’s hometown.
Peterson’s appeal, which has since been dropped, came in the wake of Golden Boy Promotions withdrawing its own filing against the IBF, a move which canceled a hearing scheduled for the next day with that organization in New Jersey.
Ameen, who was set to testify in his own defense before the IBF hearing was cancelled, appeared to pick up a yellow scoring slip near WBA ringside scoring official Michael Welsh at one point during the Dec. 10 fight.
Khan said he has no regrets about having verbally ripped the judges of the first fight as well as the Washington, D.C. commission for its handling of the situation.
“If I didn’t handle it the way that I did, I think that the rematch would not have happened. I think that I handled it the right way. I think that a lot of other people would have gone crazier than me,” said Khan.
“I wanted the world to know what happened, and I think that the reason that the rematch was made was because I made a big fuss out of it.”
But Peterson’s manager and trainer, Barry Hunter, said that his fighter was not forced into facing Khan again. To the contrary, Peterson, in fact, chose to accept the challenge of Khan over Marquez because Khan was the man he wanted the most.
“It was Lamont’s decision, and I think that he made a very wise decision, and he got what he was looking for all along. It was Lamont’s time, and he made his own decision,” said Hunter.
“Lamont made this decision without being pressured into making one. A lot has been said, but we don’t do a whole lot of talking. It’s our job now to prepare and to get ready to fight again.”
Peterson stands to make a career-high against Khan, whose promoter, Golden Boy CEO, Richard Schaefer, offered Peterson “a 50-50 split of world wide revenues and United Kingdom revenues” in the hopes of securing the return fight.
“Lamont really wanted this fight. This is how he is made. This is how he is built. Lamont never, ever ducked a fight,” said Hunter of Peterson, who was initially offered $1 million by Schaefer for the rematch with Khan after having made a career-best $650,000 to Khan’s $1.1 million in their first match up.
“Lamont has always stepped up to the plate and faced whatever challenge he had upon him. I’m very pround of Lamont, because it’s not like he jumped on the first thing. Lamont genuinely had time to work through his options. At the end of the day, he thought Amir Khan would be the best option for him at this time.”
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org