By Chris Robinson
We are about a month away from Amir Khan’s defense of his WBA junior welterweight crown against the always-capable Lamont Peterson. Having blossomed as a fighter over the past three years under the guidance of his trainer Freddie Roach, this figures to be Khan’s last fight at 140 pounds before he moves up and chases bigger fights in the welterweight class.
But you never want to get caught looking ahead against a guy like Peterson, whose only two blemishes on his career have thus far been a December 2009 points loss to Timothy Bradley and a majority-draw against Victor Ortiz one year later. Khan realizes he very well could be in for a difficult night when the meets Peterson in his hometown of Washington, DC on December 10th and has nothing negative to say about him as an opponent.
“Lamont is very dangerous because he’s a good boxer, he’s skillful, and he has good timing,” Khan said as he spoke inside of the MGM Grand’s Hollywood Theatre in Las Vegas. “He’s been in there with the likes of Victor Ortiz, took the best shots from him and came back with a draw. You can put him down and he’ll still come back. That’s one thing about him. He’s tricky, strong, and very experienced.”
Win or lose against Peterson, Khan’s run at 140 pounds has been quite the ride but greener pastures seem to be awaiting him at 147 pounds. I asked Amir if his forthcoming move up in weight was in pursuit of bigger paydays or the possibility of him struggling to make weight and he claimed that he simply couldn’t attract the right kind of opponents and had to act accordingly.
“I’ll still stay for one fight but I have no fights in this division,” said Khan. “I offered Bradley the fight, he turned it down. Morales, the fight for the WBC title, he turned it down. There’s no one to fight now and there’s no challenges here in this division and that’s the reason. There’s no reason for me to stay in this division. I think moving up to 147 there will be more names like the Ortiz’s and the big names.”
Ortiz is coming off of a 4th round knockout loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. on September 17th but still has plenty of upside and looks to be lined up for a January 28th rematch with Andre Berto, whom he defeated this past April in one of the year’s best fights. The first Ortiz-Berto affair saw each man taste the canvas on two occasions and the leather flew at a healthy rate all night long.
Khan confirmed that he has a keen eye on the rematch and seems to be open towards facing the winner.
“I heard that. I think it will be a good fight because Berto will probably be on his A-game and I think, in my eyes, it will probably be a close fight again. But I think that Berto might just take it. I’d love to fight [Berto]. I think it would be a good fight for me,” Khan continued.
But for Khan the ultimate goal figures to be a lucrative duel with Mayweather, who is still one of the two biggest cash cows in the sport. Floyd’s talents as a fighter have led to a 42-0 mark with 26 knockouts but Khan is supremely confident that he would be the man to upend his applecart.
“I think styles make fights and I think with the quickness, the speed, and the movement I have, and the game plan I would stick to with the help of Freddie, I think we could beat him.”
[Reader's note: Anyone wanting an inside look at Wednesday's final presser can visit Behind the scenes at the final Pacquiao-Marquez presser]