By Jake Donovan
The aftermath of his career-defining win over Amir Khan lasted longer than a month for Lamont Peterson, who was forced to endure sanctioning body protests, hearings and a lot of complaining from Khan and Golden Boy Promotions.
Peterson overcame an opening round knockdown to take the fight to Khan in pulling off a major upset last December in his Washington D.C. hometown. The final outcome was a split decision, with the margin of difference being two point deductions from Khan’s score for what referee Joseph Cooper deemed as excessive pushing.
Khan and his handlers were adamant in attempting to force an immediate rematch, filing protests with the WBA and IBF, as well as complaining to anyone who would listen that Peterson had to do the right thing and remove any lingering doubt from the first fight.
Reality eventually settled in, that – in the absence of a rematch clause – Peterson didn’t have to do anything of the sort. In the end, it was decided by his team that a Khan rematch was in their best interest from a financial standpoint as the two are now set to collide May 19 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
“The reason why I decided to take the rematch wasn’t because of anything Team Khan said or that I have anything to prove to anyone,” Peterson said to the gathered media during Tuesday’s press conference in London. “We took this fight because the first fight was a great one. You all thought it was a great fight and wanted to see it again. So we decided to do it again.”
Other plans were initially in place for Peterson, who was originally on course for a summer pay-per-view clash with Juan Manuel Marquez. The fight was enticing largely in part to the promise of a win leading to a lucrative showdown with Manny Pacquiao in the fall, providing the pound-for-pound star survives his own June match with Tim Bradley, the only man to beat Peterson to date.
However, Peterson and his handlers threw everyone for a loop when deciding well before contracts were drawn up to instead entertain and ultimately agree to a second fight with Khan.
“Part of being a world champ is to have choices,” pointed out Barry Hunter, who serves as Peterson’s trainer, manager and life-long father figure. “Early on if you remember at the end of the fight when I asked Lamont if he’d fight Khan again. He turned to me and immediately said, ‘Yes!’
“The question was whether we would fight him again immediately after. In business you have to entertain other offers besides immediately the one. I asked him to enjoy the accomplishments from that night. He had to make the best decision not just for him but for his daughter also. It was never a doubt whether we wanted to fight Amir again, but just a matter of when was the best time.”
That time is apparently now. On the heels of collecting a career-high $650,000 for the first fight, Peterson stands to make substantially more for the rematch, one he believes will answer any lingering questions from December (hence the ‘No Doubt’ tagline). So much, that after May he figures to be out of the Amir Khan business once and for all.
“(A third fight) will only happen if I lose and I know I will win the fight,” Peterson said when asked of the possibility of a rubber match. “Once I win, that will make it 2-0 and settled. (There is) no rematch clause for this fight.”
Peterson’s handlers fought long and hard to make sure there were no binding stipulations in the first fight and made sure to negotiate that point in agreeing to the rematch. Their free agent status allowed the D.C. native to accept this fight on satisfactory terms rather than enslave themselves to the demands of his opponent or the show’s lead promoter, Golden Boy Promotions.
“I broke my chains a long time ago to make sure that Lamont wouldn’t have to wear any,” Hunter stated in confirming that neither side will be bound to a third fight. “We’d never go into a fight with fear that we couldn’t make our own choices.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]