by David P. Greisman
Junior-welterweight titleholder Lamont Peterson is still undergoing a medical review intended to bolster his case that the synthetic testosterone he took prior to his first fight with Amir Khan — a substance that triggered a positive drug test earlier this year prior to a planned Khan rematch — was taken for a legitimate need.
Peterson is set to appear before the Nevada State Athletic Commission at a hearing in August, according to Andre Johnson, the fighter’s spokesman, who spoke with BoxingScene.com on Monday.
The information will be presented to the NSAC, and also provided to the IBF and WBA, the two sanctioning bodies whose belts Peterson holds, according to Johnson, all in the hopes of having Peterson return to the ring soon to defend his titles.
BoxingScene.com: Where do things stand with Lamont Peterson right now?
Johnson: “We’re still in the process of conducting a thorough medical review of Lamont. We hope to have the complete results in the next few days. This is testing that has been going on for approximately close to two months now. While this has been going on, the Nevada State Athletic Commission allowed us time to conduct our medical review. They’ve been very understanding and very helpful throughout this whole process.
“I do want to address one thing. Some folks have reported that the WBA stripped Lamont of this title. That’s not true. Lamont is still the champ and will have the opportunity to finalize his medical review and defend his title. He is considered right now by the WBA, in their own words, a ‘champion in recess.’ And that is done to give us an opportunity to provide our findings, and once our findings are provided, then there’ll be another determination.
“We’re also working on providing the IBF with additional medical information to move forward with a title defense as well. Hopefully that will be happening in the very near future.”
BoxingScene.com: What does this medical review entail, and what is being looked for?
Johnson: “I won’t get into direct detail because it’s still part of our defense, and at the appropriate time, all of that will be provided and it will be introduced in a public forum. But I can tell you this: He has a very serious condition, and we’re taking it very seriously. First and foremost, Lamont’s health is the most important thing, and then his career comes next.
“Throughout this period, Lamont has been seen by several different doctors to make sure that we really get to the bottom of what this medical situation or condition is. We’ve taken the time to do that and we’ve seen a number of experts to get the right diagnosis, so going forward we can know what we’re dealing with and what needs to be done to handle the situation.”
BoxingScene.com: Is the review intended to prove that his medical condition is legitimate?
BoxingScene.com: There’s understandably some skepticism when it comes to this kind of thing. When you take a look at the number of therapeutic use exemptions that are, for example, in mixed martial arts right now, the belief is that people who are in need of testosterone are that way because of previous use of performance enhancing drugs. What kind of uphill battle in terms of the public view does that create for Lamont?
Johnson: “Let me just say this: You can’t really compare Lamont’s situation to MMA fighters. Lamont’s been fighting since he was 9 years old. He’s been fighting on the national and world level since he was a teenager. He’s been through this process of testing almost all of his life, and he’s never had an issue, never had a problem — except for this one time. You can’t really compare him or his situation to the situation of fighters in that sport.”
BoxingScene.com: Lamont’s team had released some medical information shortly after the news came out. Is part of the strategy the idea that being forthcoming could bolster his case?
Johnson: “Absolutely. You understand we’ve always had one thing in mind, and that is providing factual data. At the end of the day, it’s all about presenting the facts. That’s all we’re doing, is putting them together and then presenting them in a proper manner and in a proper fashion.”
BoxingScene.com: It’s taken a while since then for Lamont’s case to come together as medical testing is done and the process is followed. But in the meantime, what kind of hit is Lamont’s reputation taking?
Johnson: “I don’t really get caught up in that. We’re not really focused on what people say and what people think. But we do know at the end of the day that the facts will present themselves, and we’ll take care of all that. That’s what’s important. What’s not important is what people think based on limited knowledge. What’s important is once everything is presented in an open, public forum, and all the facts are there. That’s what’s important. Once that’s done, we do believe at the end of the day he’ll be totally vindicated.”
BoxingScene.com: Is Lamont still receiving testosterone treatment?
Johnson: “No. If you remember from the story we did with you, and the story we did with everyone, it was a one-time treatment.”
BoxingScene.com: I understand that the treatment was inserted and would provide testosterone over the course of time. So is that medical need no longer there, and he doesn’t need the testosterone to fix the problems he had before?
Johnson: “Like I said, right now we’re doing his medical review, which is not done yet. So until that’s done, then we’ll provide that information, and we’ll be able to determine where he is and what needs to be done with regards to his condition.”
BoxingScene.com: The testosterone implant put in late last year, is that still providing testosterone to him right now?
Johnson: “You’re not following me. At this point we’re doing a full medical review, and once those findings are back, then we’ll be able to provide that evidence to the Nevada State Athletic Commission, the IBF and the WBA, and then we’ll be providing it in an open, public forum to folks like yourself in the media so you’ll know exactly where we are.”
BoxingScene.com: Though Lamont wasn’t stripped of the WBA belt, what is Team Peterson’s thoughts on Amir Khan being reinstated as a beltholder prior to him being defeated by Danny Garcia?
Johnson: “At the end of the day, we’re concerned about what affects this camp. That’s the only thing that we have control of. We can’t worry about things we don’t have control of. What we can do is focus on the things that we can control, and that is getting Lamont prepared and ready to have a title defense in the very near future. That’s all we’re focused on right now.”
BoxingScene.com: Do you have any specific opponents, dates or locations in mind for the next fight?
Johnson: “At this time, no, we don’t. Like I said, we’re taking everything one step at a time, and the goal is to work towards having this title defense. We haven’t thought about when it’s going to be, who it’s going to be with, but we do know we’re moving in the direction of making it a reality. That’s where we are right now, and hopefully that news will be coming in the very near future”
BoxingScene.com: Is Lamont in training right now?
Johnson: “Yeah, he trains all the time. Lamont and his brother, these guys train year-round, they stay in shape. You got to understand that from their perspective and the way they’ve been raised in the sport by Barry Hunter, it’s always left them with the motto of always being prepared. These guys are always in a situation or in shape where they can take a fight on short notice.
“They are true athletes, they take care of their bodies and they are very hard workers. And they understand that the only way they can get results is to put the work in, spend time in the gym and make sure that they’re ready when they’re called upon. And I think both of these guys, they realize that this is a business. Their bodies are a business, and they have to be ready. To answer your question, yeah, he’s in the gym every day, and he works out every day.”
BoxingScene.com: Anything else you feel needs to be said?
Johnson: “I want to say again that it was Lamont’s idea to do the drug testing in the first place. He was adamant about it, and he wants to keep the sport clean. He never took anything to gain a competitive advantage or enhance his performance. But in the end, I want people to know that we are dealing with a medical issue and we will have more information soon that will be able to shed more light on the situation so we can move forward. It has really become my life’s work to make sure that his name is cleared and his reputation is restored.”
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter @fightingwords2 or send questions/comments via email at [email protected]