By Rick Reeno
Shah Khan, the father of former champion Amir Khan, is still in shock with the ongoing controversy surrounding WBA/IBF junior welterweight champion Lamont Peterson, who tested positive for “testosterone pellets." Peterson is scheduled to defend his WBA/IBF titles against Amir Khan 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.
Peterson took the 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. The fight first took place on December 10th in Peterson's hometown of Washington, DC. According to Team Peterson, the boxer's doctor gave him the pellets after his testosterone levels were found to be low.
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer, making a statement Tuesday on a conference call, said the testing had been done unannounced at the March 19 press conference in Los Angeles announcing the fight. The samples from Peterson and Khan were taken to a WADA (World Anti Doping Agency) drug testing lab in Los Angeles and split into “A” and “B” samples, Schaefer said.
The “A” results were reported back to the Volunteer Anti Doping Association, or VADA, on April 12. Peterson’s team was told of the results on April 13 and told of his rights to have his “B” sample analyzed. That analysis was done on April 30, Schaefer said. That test confirmed the results of the “A” sample analysis, Schaefer said — that the sample was consistent with administration of an anabolic steroid such as testosterone. Schaefer said follow-up samples were taken from Peterson on April 13. Those samples came back negative for banned substances on May 2, Schaefer said.
Based on the statement of Peterson's attorney, regarding his client's admission that he took testosterone prior the first meeting, Shah believes the official result of the first fight should be overturned to a no-contest. Khan lost a controversial split decision in the first meeting.
"I think it should be a no-contest because he had an illegal substance in his body," Shah told BoxingScene.com.
More alarming, for Shah and other members of Team Khan, was the local commission's inability to find the testosterone in Peterson's system during pre and post-fight drug tests.
"That's another thing that we need to look into. Surely there was a urine test done there as well, so why was it not picked up? Absolutely we will look into it. Obviously it's unfair because both guys were not natural guys and you could see how much pressure Peterson was putting on Amir. We've seen him fight in other fights and we were like 'wow, this is not the same guy.' Everything will come out in the open and it is coming out. They admitted it already. They said it. They admitted that they took it. I don't know why it was not picked up by the drug test, the one they did after the fight. I know they were definitely done before and I think there was one done after. I don't remember [if one was done after the fight], I have to ask Amir about that. There was definitely [urine] tests taken around the fight," Shah said.
As Schaefer noted during the conference call, both boxers were unexpectedly tested at the press conference in March. Shah, and other members of Team Khan, are looking for answers on why Peterson tested positive in March, but tested negative in all of the other samples which followed.
"The thing is, he took it in November I believe, October/November. I don't know why these weren't picked up in the urine tests. The drugs tests that were taken in March [at the press conference], nobody was expecting that. Even us, we weren't expecting that. That was done randomly. Nobody was aware that was going to be done at the press conference. That shows there was no way that nobody could have known anything around that time," Shah said.
"After that, everybody is aware of it, because they know that they are going to be [randomly] drug tested after that [press conference]. Amir was aware of it, that he was going to be tested, and so was Peterson. But nobody was aware that they were going to be drug tested at the press conference, randomly, and those were the tests that came back positive for Peterson. There are masking agents out there [to hide steroid use], that's what I've been told. You can think for yourself, what could have been done after, because all of the tests after the March tests are negative. That's what is surprising, because the March tests were positive and then after they were all negative....why? Does that mean somebody tried to [conceal the testosterone use] with a masking agent? I don't know."
At the moment, Peterson is not licensed to fight in the state of Nevada. Unless Peterson can provide a sufficient defense to the Nevada State Athletic Commission, he will not be licensed to fight Amir Khan. If Peterson is not licensed, Golden Boy will cancel the entire card, according to Kizer.
The possibility of legal action is out there, because Peterson and members of his team were aware of the positive test result on April 13th, but Golden Boy and Team Khan were only made aware a few days ago - and not by Peterson or a member of his team - but by the Nevada commission.
"There is going to be hundreds of thousands of dollars that we've spent to prepare for this fight. I don't know what's going to happen about that. Obviously we're going to look into it," Shah said.