By Rick Reeno
Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, sat down with BoxingScene.com to discuss a variety of topics related to the aftermath of the now canceled Amir Khan vs. Lamont Peterson rematch. As BoxingScene previously reported, Golden Boy Promotions is officially moving forward with their promise to overturn Khan's twelve round split decision loss to Peterson, which took place on December 10th in Washington, DC.
The two fighters were scheduled to face each other in a rematch on May 19th at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Both fighters agreed, per the contract terms for their rematch, to take part in a random drug testing protocol. VADA [Voluntary Anti-Doping Association] was retained to handle the testing protocol.
The event was officially canceled this past Wednesday, two days after Golden Boy was advised by the Nevada State Athletic Commission that Peterson tested positive for synthetic testosterone. The Nevada commission was refusing to license Peterson for the rematch - unless the boxer appeared for a hearing and presented a credible explanation regarding his testosterone use and the maintenance of the low testosterone ratio.
Peterson was given testosterone pellets "prior to the first fight with Khan," according to Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer, citing Peterson’s attorney Jeff Fried. According to Team Peterson, the boxer's doctor gave him the pellets after his testosterone levels were found to be low.
According to Kizer, Peterson's doctor maintained the boxer's testosterone level at "3.77 to 1" which stays below VADA's acceptable testosterone ratio of 4 to 1 and below the NSAC's acceptable ratio of 6 to 1. In other words, Peterson was capable of passing the normal testing procedures of VADA and/or the Nevada commission - and the Washington commission. Once VADA ran the CIR test, which detects synthetic testosterone regardless of the ratio level - his sample came up as positive.
Attorney Arnold C. Joseph of Joseph & Associates was retained by Golden Boy to accomplish their goal of overturning Khan's decision loss, stripping Peterson of the WBA/IBF junior welterweight titles - and having those titles returned to Khan. Letters were issued on Friday to the IBF, WBA and Washington commission.
BoxingScene.com: Schaefer explains his confidence that the WBA, IBF and the Washington commission will issue favorable decisions for Amir Khan.
Schaefer: We do hope and I don't see any reason why not the WBA and the IBF wouldn't give back those belts to Amir Khan. Its not being disputed that Lamont Peterson took testosterone for whatever reason. In fact it doesn't really matter the reasons. At the end of the day he shouldn't take it [because] it's a banned substance and he had ample opportunities to disclose what he took.
There are forms that were being filled out [where you disclose] what you take and that obviously [his disclosure] was not done on numerous occasions. I don't really see any justification for the sanctioning organizations not to recognize Amir Khan as their world champion. I don't see any justification for the commission in Washington not to overturn the decision to a no-contest. I know if the same fight happened in Las Vegas.....in fact the executive director of the Nevada commission [Keith Kizer] is on record saying that if the first fight would have happened in Las Vegas, that it would be overturned.
BoxingScene.com: It obviously doesn't look good when you don't disclose the information for several months.
Schaefer: If you have that kind of procedure, which I looked up on the internet, where you have to lie down on a doctor's bed and you have to get this kind of pellet injected into you - this is like a medical procedure. This is not like taking something out of a bottle or taking cough syrup or swallowing a pill and you forget about it. This is going through a medical procedure and how do you forget about undergoing a medical procedure.
BoxingScene.com: Schaefer's reaction on whether or not Peterson's doctor failed to properly advise him if the testosterone pellets are categorized as a banned substance.
Schaefer: If in fact he was told that it wasn't a performance enhancing drug, that taking those testosterone pellets were legal to take by athletes......if he was told that by his doctor, then you're right - then the doctor has a lot of questions to answer.
But that still doesn't explain the fact that he didn't disclose it. You're still going to have to say 'I took this and I took that' and so on. Its illegal either way but at least come clean because you're given an opportunity to do so - not after two samples come back as positive.
BoxingScene.com: And you have an email from his lawyer, where both of you agreed to advise each other of a positive test.
Schaefer: We have an email, which confirms that if Khan would come up positive we would inform them, and if they came up positive they would inform us. We have that agreement and that's why I'm so upset.
BoxingScene.com: What does it mean if the IBF, WBA or Washington commission side with Peterson on this matter?
Schaefer: Then basically what that means is - athletes are allowed to use testosterone injections months before they fight. What kind of sport is that where we would actually sanction such a procedure and sanction such a use? Because the next time a fighter is suddenly tired and they need to take those pellets, where is that going to take us? Suddenly every fighter is going to start getting tired. What sport is that? This is really a no-brainer.
It's like saying that if you fight for the IBF, 'it's okay, you can use those testosterone pellets. It's basically saying that 'if you fight for the WBA, it's okay you can use those testosterone pellets.' Oh by the way, 'if you fight in Washington, DC - you can use those testosterone pellets.'
They have the opportunity to make a clear statement and say 'no, its not okay.' And if its not okay, then as an extension of that - Amir should get his belts back.... it's as clear as day. There is a reason why these substances are banned.
BoxingScene.com: Are you still exploring the possibility of a show in Washington on June 30 [with Seth Mitchell and Gary Russell Jr.]? If the commission rules against you, do you feel comfortable doing a show there?
Schaefer: I need to see how the Washington commission, after my first set of experiences, is going to be by doing the right thing here. Because otherwise if they say' its okay, you can take these testosterone pellets,' who the heck would want to fight there because you don't know what your opponent is on. Who would want to go there, not knowing what your opponent is on. It's impossible and it's not fair. This is not about jumping higher, or hitting a ball, or running faster, this is about two young men going into the ring and exchanging blows....exchanging blows to the body, exchanging blows to the head.
There has to be zero tolerance in any sport. But if you had to pick one sport, where there has to be zero tolerance in capital letters - it has to be boxing - because you are jeopardizing not only the health but potentially the life of the athlete. And because of that, all of us in the sport - whether you are a manager, a promoter, a network, a commission, a matchmaker, a media member or most important a fighter - have to stand up for [a zero tolerance policy].
BoxingScene.com: I know there has been some discussions about Amir facing [WBC 140-pound champion] Danny Garcia, potentially on July 7th.
Schaefer. We want to put together exciting fights for the sport. You have a young fighter who is coming off of victories over Nate Campbell, Kendall Holt and Erik Morales - with Danny Garcia - a young exciting fighter who comes to fight. And you know that a fight with Amir Khan and Danny Garcia is going to be another one of those barn-burners and that's what the sport needs.
I think the fact that over the last 18 months or so, that we've put together these exciting fights, these evenly matched fights where you really don't know who is going to win - that is one of the reasons why the sport of boxing, today, is enjoying again a great success. The ratings are going up. The attendance is going up [at venues]. New sponsors are coming on board. You see all of that and its very encouraging. I think that's a direct link and a direct result because of the exiting matches that we have produced.
We don't believe in making interim-fights where a couple of fights lead to two guys eventually meeting each other. We don't believe in tune-up fights. Lets go directly to the big fights. While in the old days, they would say that you can't put two young prospects in [with each other], you have to maybe [put them in] down the road. [I say] no, let them fight and let the better man win.
BoxingScene.com: Schaefer explains the current landscape where a top fighter can suffer a loss and still maintain the capability of being able to secure the proper television exposure.
Schaefer: I think the fans are much more forgiving than they were three, four or five years ago. When somebody lost, they had to go back in line. You don't see that anymore. Who wouldn't want to see a James Kirkland again, even though he got knocked out by Ishida? Who wouldn't want see a Marcos Maidana again? Who wouldn't want to see Alfredo Angulo again? Who wouldn't want to see a Miguel Cotto again? It doesn't really matter so much anymore, and that's a benefit to the sport. That's what happens when you have the best fight the best - there are no losers.