by David P. Greisman
The offer wasnít right.
Lamont Peterson had turned down a chance to face Amir Khan for a junior-welterweight world title, unhappy with the money that was being offered him.
That move has worked out for him. Now he is facing Khan for what he says are the terms he wanted. And he is also facing Khan on Dec. 10 in Petersonís hometown of Washington, D.C.
In this interview with BoxingScene.com, the 27-year-old with a record of 29-1-1 (15 knockouts) talks about fighting in D.C., says what he sees in Amir Khan, and looks toward what the future brings should he score the big victory in a few weeks.
BoxingScene.com: How does it feel to be fighting in your hometown?
Peterson: ďItís a big deal to me, winning the world title in front of my friends and family, just giving everybody the chance to motivate me to a championship, to support me to the championship. And when itís all said and done, and I do win the championship, we can all celebrate together.Ē
BoxingScene.com: Youíve only fought in D.C. twice before. Do you wish youíd been promoted at home more?
Peterson: ďYeah. But fighting in Vegas and other places like that, and Memphis, it wasnít bad. You gain fans all over the country, fighting around. But I do wish I would have fought more at home, at least once maybe every year, to feel the support.Ē
BoxingScene.com: You had a chance to fight Amir Khan before, but youíd said the terms werenít good enough for you.
Peterson: ďThatís exactly what happened. We were not happy with the contract. We had another option to go. We went with the other option. The other option was to take the fight with [Victor] Cayo and force Khan to fight on better terms for us, and thatís exactly what happened.Ē
BoxingScene.com: Size up Amir Khan for peopleÖ
Peterson: ďHeís a good fighter. Fast. Tall. Heís a volume puncher, decent punching power, and he just try to out-hustle you. Thatís his whole thing is to out-punch you to win the fight.
ďOf course thatís my job óto slow him down and make sure that if thatís the way he want to win the fight, I want to make sure thatís not something he can do often in the fight.Ē
BoxingScene.com: What do you need to do to beat him?
Peterson: ďJust be smart. Of course, you know, not let him out-punch me. I donít want to fight his game. But still just let him know that Iím there to fight. Just stay smart and stick to the game plan that weíve been going over and over again at the gym.
BoxingScene.com: Does this fight go the distance?
Peterson: ďIt could very well go the distance, but if thereís a knockout I wouldnít be surprised.Ē
BoxingScene.com: I ask because some people believe that Khan has a glass jaw. Do you go into this fight believing that, or do you not want to get caught up in that line of thinking?
Peterson: ďNo, Iím not going to get caught up in it. The way I see it is this: He throws a lot of punches, and that means your hands are not at your chin. So heís going to give you a lot of opportunities to knock him out. Because he put his chin on the line so much, thereís a good chance he can get caught with power shots and possibly get knocked out.
ďBut Iím not out there just looking for it. I just want to stick to my game plan.† If I catch him clean, and heís hurt, Iím definitely going for the kill. But for the most part, Iím okay with it going 12 rounds.Ē
BoxingScene.com: Your brother, Anthony, is on the undercard. Is it distracting at all when he is fighting, or is it better for you?
Peterson: ďDuring the training, itís better for me, because heís going to help push me and Iím going to help push him. But when it comes down to fight night, whoever fights last, thatís the one that all the weight and emotions and everything falls on.
ďBecause a lot of times youíre sitting here in the back, and heís fighting, Iím worried about him. I want to know if heís winning, I want to know how heís doing, if heís okay. Iím sitting back there and instead of focusing on my fight, Iím focusing on his fight.
ďThat night itís going to be me. Weíve been around this game a long time. Weíre men now. We understand the game. I donít think thereíll be any distraction. Iím going to just try to relax and focus on what I need to focus on and have faith that heíll go in there and take care of his business.Ē
BoxingScene.com: Do you take anything from Amir Khanís recent fights, be it the struggles he had with Marcos Maidana or the way he beat Zab Judah?
Peterson: ďIím trying not to take away nothing from his last last two fights with [Paul] McCloskey and Zab. Theyíre southpaw fighters, different fighters from me, so I donít think thereís too much to learn form that.
ďBut with Maidana, I learned some things from there ówhen Khan fight at his best, when he donít. I know when heís backing up Ö heís not as effective as he is coming forward. Iím just trying to look at things like that and figure things out for me. Iím learning from that fight more than any other fight.Ē
BoxingScene.com: What does a win over Amir Khan do for your career?
Peterson: ďIt takes it to the next level. Iíve been on this stage before, first time with Timothy [Bradley] and I lost the fight. Second time [with Victor Ortiz] it as a draw. Each time Iím learning more and more. This time I expect to win.
ďIím not saying that Khan isnít one of those guys thatís on the next level, but it just puts me there. Thatís where I want to be. Lining up fights to fight the best fighters out there, either at 140 or 147.Ē
BoxingScene.com: You want to go to welterweight?
Peterson: ďI can definitely fight at 147. Sometimes I get up to 160 and higher, so I feel good at 147. I think Iíll fight with more energy and actually be stronger at 147. I can easily make 140, too, but it takes more out of me to make í40 than í47. í47 is no problem for me at all.Ē
BoxingScene.com How long until you move up?
Peterson: ďThe sooner, the better ó but if thereís better fights at 140, Iíll stay.Ē
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter at twitter.com/fightingwords2 or on Facebook at facebook.com/fightingwordsboxing, or send questions and comments to email@example.com