By Kevin Francis, courtesy of The Daily Star
AMIR KHAN says he smelled a rat within seconds of the first bell sounding in his fight with drugs cheat Lamont Peterson last December.
Khan controversially lost his IBF and WBA world light welterweight titles to Peterson on a split decision in Peterson’s backyard of Washington.
They were due to meet again in a rematch in Las Vegas a week tomorrow.
That has now been cancelled, however, after Peterson failed a random drug test, having tested positive for synthetic testosterone, a banned steroid.
The latest scandal to hit boxing has only just been made public. But even as far back as five months ago, Khan thought there was something fishy about his opponent.
The 25-year-old Bolton fighter put the American on the canvas in the opening seconds and then repeated that late in the round with a fierce right.
Immediately after the fight, Khan admitted to me his surprise at the power of Peterson’s punching and his amazing ability to climb up off the canvas after taking some of his best punches.
Last night he said: “Now it is all clear and I can see it all. I was wondering at the time how he kept coming back at me all the time from the big shots he was taking.
“He was being hit by big combinations and any other fighter would have gone down and stayed down.
“I put him down twice in the first round and not many people come back from that. The way he came back was just unbelievable – and now we know why.
“The truth has come out now and it just proves that Lamont Peterson was a cheat.”
Peterson admits taking steroid pellets as far back as a month before fighting Khan, but claims he did it to counter low testosterone levels.
Khan, like many observers, felt he had done enough to win the original fight and was desperate to put the record straight in Vegas.
So desperate, in fact, that he had to be talked out of fighting Peterson even after news of the failed drugs test.
Khan would have earned around £800,000 [$1.29 million dollars] for the rematch, but added: “It was only 10 days away from the fight when I heard. It was a big shock for me. My head was all over the place. I really, really wanted to win my titles back and have the fight."
Peterson has predictably claimed innocence, despite his admission, and said: “I have done nothing wrong. I’m not a doper. I’m not a cheater. I am distraught. I want to clear my name and do what I was born to do – fight.”