WASHINGTON, D.C. — IBF junior welterweight beltholder Lamont Peterson isn’t running away from his past.
In fact, the once-beaten fighter is embracing it.
Last month, Peterson (30-1-1, 15 knockouts) signed with Golden Boy Promotions, representing a surprising union given the acrimonious past he and trainer/manager Barry Hunter had with the Los Angeles-based company in the wake of Peterson’s disputed split-decision victory that dethroned Amir Khan as IBF and WBA titleholder in December of 2011.
Last March, Peterson failed a drug test that was contractually administered at his choosing by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA), coming up dirty for synthetic testosterone in an infraction that forced the cancelation of Peterson-Khan II and led to Peterson’s being stripped of the WBA’s belt.
But during an exclusive interview on Wednesday at the Headbangers’ gym in Washington, D.C., Peterson informed RingTV.com that he not only touts VADA but that he would embrace the chance to work with its president and founder, Margaret Goodman, in the future.
“At the time, I knew nothing about VADA. I just knew about USADA [United States Anti-Doping Agency]. But I can guarantee you this: In the future, we will be using VADA again,” said Peterson.
“If they will accept me and they’re willing to do business with me, then I’m willing to do business with them. For this fight, there will be no random drug testing, but in the future, I expect to do more random drug testing with VADA. I prefer VADA.”
Peterson is preparing for the Feb. 22 first defense of his IBF belt against ex-beltholder Kendall Holt (28-5, 16 KOs) at The D.C. Armory that is being promoted by Gary Shaw as the main event of ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights.
Given the expense of VADA, Peterson said he elected to forgo its procedures for the clash with Holt.
In the future, however, he said that he plans to.
“At the end of the day, those drug tests aren’t cheap, and at this point, for this fight, I’m not earning a large amount. So, sometimes, you have to bite the bullet and go with the flow. I wouldn’t ask them to adjust their cost, because between them and USADA, they’re the cheapest. I understand that there’s a lot that goes into it,” said Peterson.
“It’s not an easy job and it’s not a cheap job. Of course, there are a lot of chemists and people needed to get it done. People flying out to your camp and things of that nature. But I think that in championship fights, when people can afford to do it, I think that they should do it. I think that we all should do it.”
Goodman, for her part, said she would be willing to negotiate a more affordable price for Peterson.
“VADA would be very happy to work with Mr. Peterson for his next fight,” said Goodman. “We and will find a way to make it financially feasible, and if possible offer sponsorship.”
Peterson’s victory over Khan sparked what seemed to be an endless run of rancor-filled controversy between the fighters’ camps as well as Khan’s promoter, Golden Boy, and Team Peterson.
Initially, Golden Boy filed an appeal with the IBF and WBA seeking to overturn the victory or get an order for an immediate rematch on the grounds that the fight, which took place in Peterson’s hometown of Washington, D.C., was poorly officiated and that there were scorecard descrepancies.
Team Peterson later filed an official appeal against the WBA’s order for an immediate rematch, which was later agreed to by both sides in February of last year with intentions of having a return bout on May 19, 2012, at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas.
But Peterson’s positive drug test hastened the WBA’s decision to strip him and scuttled his return bout with Khan, who was then reinstated by the WBA and subsequently knocked out in the fourth round by current RING, WBA and WBC 140-pound champion Danny Garcia.
The IBF declined to strip Peterson after a review of his medical records by IBF-appointed doctors ruled that the testosterone levels discovered in Peterson’s failed drug test were not at a level that would enhance his performance.
“That was the whole reason for me doing the drug testing in the first place was not that I thought that Amir Khan was cheating, but to shine a light on drug testing, and that’s it. Sometimes, we ask for things, and when they don’t come out the way that we want them to, we tend to cry about it,” said Peterson.
“But I’m not one who is going to sit around and cry, because at the end of the day, if you think about it, that light was shined on it. Even though it did damage to me, and I had to pay the cost, then if that’s what it takes, then I’m okay with it. So I think that VADA is a good thing for the sport and hopefully I’ll use VADA after this fight.”
Peterson is 3-0-1 with two knockouts since falling by unanimous decision to current WBO welterweight beltholder Tim Bradley (29-0, 12 KOs) as a 140-pounder in December of 2009, and had been considered for a return bout with Bradley which never came to fruition.
Peterson will be ending what will have been a 14-month ring absence when he faces Holt, and, if victorious, could earn a potential rematch with Khan, a unification bout with Garcia, or, perhaps, even a showdown with RING No. 1-rated junior welterweight Lucas Matthysse (33-2, 31 KOs) — all of whom are handled by Golden Boy.
Photos by Juan Marshall
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com