Lamont Peterson used synthetic testosterone before he took the IBF and WBA junior welterweight titles from Amir Khan on Dec. 10 in Washington, D.C., Peterson’s attorney told Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer, and tested positive for testosterone again last month as he prepared for the rematch.
Although Washington D.C. Boxing and Wrestling Athletic Commission chairman Scottie Irving said he would not speculate on his course of action pending the results of the Nevada commission’s decision to grant Peterson a license or not, it appears that the more recent revelation could not only jeopardize the second fight with Khan, but also the outcome of the first one, meaning Peterson’s status as a division titleholder.
Kizer said Peterson’s attorney, Jeff Fried, told him that Peterson used surgically implanted “testosterone pellets” before the first fight but denies he has done so since then even though they acknowledge that the fighter tested positive.
On Tuesday evening, Fried wrote in a letter to Kizer that Peterson received the treatment from Las Vegas-based Dr. John Thompson in November after having been diagnosed with an abormal or low testosterone level, indicating that the procedure was “justified and strictly for medical concerns.”
“The medical reports substantiate that the treatment was not in any manner intended for enhancement of athletic performance,” states the letter, a copy of which was obtained by RingTV.com, “and, moreover, the prescribed single treatment would not produce a significant enhancement of athletic performance.”
In an earlier letter to Kizer, Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) president and founder Margaret Goodman wrote that a “urine specimen…was collected on March 19,” and that its test results were “consistent with the administration of an anabolic steroid such as testosterone.”
Peterson (30-1-1, 15 knockouts) and Khan (26-2, 18 KOs) contractually agreed to be randomly drug tested by VADA in advance of their rematch.
A statement on Monday made through Peterson’s publicist, Andre Johnson, on behalf of the boxer and his manager, Barry Hunter, acknowledged the positive test.
Fried’s response indicates that the information contained in Goodman’s letter is being reviewed by Dr. Albert Lee, chief of medicine at at Suburban Hospital (Johns Hopkins) in Bethesda in an effort to salvage Peterson-Khan II.
“The way I read it is that I think that he’s admitting that ‘I took a substance, but I had a good reason for it, and my doctors don’t think that it helped me to beat Khan the first time, and that I should have disclosed it, but I forgot. Sorry,’” said Kizer. “I sent the letter to our commissioners and to [Commission consultant] Dr. [Timothy] Trainor, who is our consulting research physician.”
Kizer said no decision on the status of the rematch would be made until after the letter and subsequent information is reviewed by chairman Skip Avansino and a decision is rendered.
“The chairman can do one of three things. He could grant Lamont Peterson a license administratively, which I don’t see happening. He could call a special meeting. Or he could say, ‘Sorry, we’re not having a special meeting, and therefore, you’re going to be unlicensed for May 19 and the fight’s off,’” said Kizer.
“So it will be one of those three things. I will be waiting for them to get back to me, so it’s not fair to put a time frame on the commissioners or the doctor. But I await whether or not they want to have a special hearing on this matter, because I will not give Lamont Peterson a license administratively.”
As to the possible ramifications related to the first fight, Kizer said it “opens up a whole other question about whether the D.C. commission should overturn that decision. That would certainly be grounds here, if that first fight had been here.”
It is unclear whether or not the IBF and the WBA would consider stripping Peterson of his belts, but Irving said he would await a ruling by the NSAC before speculating on what transpired at the Washington, D.C. Convention Center.
“Right now with our commission, we don’t have anything to say about it. We have no comment because we haven’t seen any results or anything like that,” said Irving.
“We’re in communication right now with the Nevada boxing commission, and when we get some more clarity from them, then we’ll figure out exactly where we’re going. To be honest, I have no clear understanding of anything. Right now, everything is just a rumor and that’s how we deal with it until we get a clear understanding of it from the commission and that’s the actual commission that’s involved, and that’s the Nevada commission.”
During a conference on Tuesday, Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer, who handles Khan, expressed anger that neither he nor the Khan camp was informed of the developments until Monday.
“My full focus is to work with the Nevada commission and get to the bottom of this and do what’s right. This demonstrates the importance of random drug testing and how important it is for our sport,” said Schaefer.
“This is not about hitting a baseball or running faster or jumping higher. this is toe-to-toe battle, where one’s life is at risk every time these young athletes enter the ring.”
THE RING’s No. 3-rated junior lightweight Adrien Broner was scheduled to defend his WBO crown against England’s twice-beaten Gary Sykes on Peterson-Khan II undercard.
Although Schaefer would not speculate during the call what action he would take beyond Tuesday, Kizer said he was told that Golden Boy would not go through with the overall card if Peterson is not licensed.
“I have been informed by Golden Boy Promotions that if Mr. Peterson does not get licensed by the commission for May 19,” said Kizer, “that the fight card in its entirety will be called off, and that Mr. Khan will be looking for a new opponent to fight sometime later in the year at the Mandalay Bay.”
Photo by Gene Blevins, Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
Photo by Chris Hutty – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org