By Keith Idec
Kendall Holt has tried not to think about Lamont Peterson’s performance-enhancing drug incident last year while preparing for their title fight Friday night.
The former WBO junior welterweight champion would’ve felt more comfortable if pre-fight, random drug testing was in place leading up to their encounter in Washington, D.C. Since it wasn’t made available and Holt (28-5, 16 KOs) was in no position to turn down a title fight, he’ll head into the ring tonight at the D.C. Armory hopeful that Peterson doesn’t possess any artificial advantage over him.
“Whether he’s on something or not, I can’t worry about that,” Holt said. “[Oscar] De La Hoya beat [Fernando] Vargas and Vargas tested positive after their fight [in September 2002]. Danny Garcia beat Erik Morales [on Oct. 20] and Morales tested positive twice in 10 days.
“I’m just thinking about winning. You really never know who’s on anything, so you just go to the gym, train your best and try to execute the game plan to the best of your ability. That’s what I plan to do.”
Peterson, 29, tested positive for synthetic testosterone before his last scheduled fight, but attributed his unusually high level of testosterone to a testosterone pellet he had inserted in his hip prior to his first fight against Amir Khan in December 2011 to combat chronic fatigue. Peterson’s dirty test caused the cancellation of his rematch against Khan just nine days before it was scheduled to take place May 19 in Las Vegas.
Several experts supported Peterson’s contention that his testosterone treatment was strictly for therapeutic purposes, not performance enhancement.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission didn’t suspend Peterson for failing a test taken by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA). The Washington native wasn’t stripped of his IBF or WBA titles, either.
Peterson (30-1-1, 15 KOs) intends to begin repairing his damaged image against Holt in their 12-round fight, the main event of a “Friday Night Fights” broadcast on ESPN2 (9 p.m. ET; 6 p.m. PT). Working with VADA or the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) before fighting Holt could’ve helped Peterson within the court of public opinion, but testing is expensive, commissions don’t cover the costs and the winning purse bid for the IBF-mandated Peterson-Holt fight was just $50,000.
Holt hopes that sometime in the near future random, pre-fight PED testing will become mandatory, not based on affordability.
“VADA testing should be a permanent thing,” Holt, 31, said. “It should be mandatory because we’re going in there risking our lives. We’re not riding bicycles, we’re not sprinting, we’re not hitting baseballs. We’re hitting other people’s heads and getting our heads hit. It’s already dangerous.
“If guys are going to add steroids and cheat to try to get the win, then we have to have better testing. We need random testing and it has to happen now. We’re playing with people’s lives. Fighters die in the ring every year. People who get caught using, they should be banned.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.