by Cliff Rold
Amir Khan has done his native U.K., New York, and Las Vegas. Now he brings his expanding star to the capitol of the U.S. Consider it symbolic; Khan is declaring himself at home anywhere in the western boxing market.
Could he soon be declaring himself at home in another division?
As good as Jr. Welterweight is, Khan’s swipes at Manny Pacquiao after Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez III and challenges of Floyd Mayweather are a clue as to where he’s looking. Welterweight is where the two biggest money men of today reside. Khan has eyes on being the biggest money man of tomorrow.
Lamont Peterson, born in Washington, D.C., would surely be happy to send Khan on his way up the scale without the two belts Khan holds. It’s a solid main event on HBO.
For those with access to Dish Network, the remote could get some work. Also to be webcast, Brian Viloria-Giovanni Segura with provide Khan-Peterson competition in the action department. It’s a splendid Flyweight showdown from the Philippines.
As was the case last weekend when Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito II overwhelmed coverage of an excellent Showtime Bantamweight card, so too does Khan-Peterson demand more headlines in the U.S. this week. It can share the lead here.
Let’s go to the report cards.
Current/Previous Title: WBA Jr. Welterweight (2009-Present, 5 Defenses); IBF Jr. Welterweight (2011-Present, 1st Attempted Defense)
Weight: 139 lbs.
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 139.6 lbs.
Hails from: Bolton, Lancashire, United Kingdom
Record: 26-1, 18 KO , 1 KOBY
BoxingScene Rank: #2 at Jr. Welterweight
Record in Major Title Fights: 6-0, 3 KO
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Defeated: 5 (Gairy St. Clair, Marco Antonio Barrera, Andriy Kotelnik, Paulie Malignaggi, Zab Judah)
Current/Previous Title: None
Weight: 140 lbs.
Average Weight - Five Most Recent Fights: 140.4 lbs.
Hails from: Memphis, Tennessee
Record: 29-1-1, 15 KO
BoxingScene Rank: #6 at Jr. Welterweight
Record in Title Fights: 0-1
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced in Defeat or Draw: 2 (Timothy Bradley, Victor Ortiz)
Pre-Fight: Speed – Khan A; Peterson B+
Pre-Fight: Power – Khan B+; Peterson B-
Pre-Fight: Defense – Khan B; Peterson B
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Khan B+; Peterson B
Peterson, in enduring early onslaughts against Bradley and Ortiz, showed serious toughness. His ability to compete in those fights after rough starts, losing the former but earning a draw in the latter, spoke to his focus. However, both bouts also exposed some of his limitations. Peterson is good at a lot of things but great at few; he isn’t much for special effects.
It’s a bad place to be against Khan. Khan has solid fundamentals and special effects, including two of the fastest hands in the game and power to the body. Where he remains vulnerable is in a chin that can get him in trouble. He usually endures, but Khan’s whiskers are a source of drama. Peterson isn’t a big puncher, but he hits hard enough to invoke the drama clause if he can connect Saturday. Peterson’s jab and straight right hand give him a chance to do so.
Title: WBO Flyweight (2011-Present, 1st Attempted Defense)
Previous Titles: WBC Jr. Flyweight (2005-06, 1 Defense); IBF Jr. Flyweight (2009-10, 1 Defense)
Average Weight – Last Five Recorded Fights: 109.45 lbs.
Hails from: Waipahu, Hawaii
Record: 29-3, 16 KO, 1 KOBY
BoxingScene Rank: #3 at Flyweight
Record in Championship Fights: 5-3, 2 KO, 1 KOBY
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Defeated: 5 (Gilberto Keb Baas, Eric Ortiz, Jose Antonio Aguirre, Ulises Solis, Julio Cesar Miranda)
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced in Defeat: 3 (Omar Nino, Edgar Sosa, Carlos Tamara)
Title: Lineal/Ring World Jr. Flyweight Championship (2010-Present, 1 Defense)
Previous Titles: WBO Jr. Flyweight (2010-11, 1 Defense); WBA Jr. Flyweight (2009-Present, 5 Defenses)
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 111.3 lbs.
Hails from: Bell Gardens, California (Born in Guerrero, Mexico)
Record: 28-1-1, 24 KO
BoxingScene Rank: World Jr. Flyweight Champion
Record in Championship Fights: 5-0, 5 KO (6-1, 6 KO including interim title fights)
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Defeated: 3 (Carlos Tamara, Daniel Reyes, Ivan Calderon)
Pre-Fight: Speed – Viloria B+; Segura B
Pre-Fight: Power – Viloria B+; Segura A
Pre-Fight: Defense – Viloria B-; Segura C-
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Viloria B; Segura A
Segura is on the road again. In his star making performance, he traveled to Puerto Rico, unifying belts at 108 lbs. and handing the outstanding Calderon his first defeat. While Viloria may be Hawaiian by birth, he is ethnic Filipino and this is his fifth start in seven outings in the Philippines. It’s his turf…but Viloria has lost there before.
Carlos Tamara, limited but tough, stopped Viloria in his final fight before moving permanently to Flyweight. Segura presents some of the same problems Tamara did. He is relentless, will keep punching, and has serious stamina. He’s also flat better than Tamara.
There is vulnerability for Segura, but Viloria has to be able to exploit one of Segura’s strengths. In the first Calderon fight, the relatively light punching Calderon stunned Segura in rounds four and six by catching him between assaults, by punching when Segura was searching for his next wind. Viloria can land a knockout blow and throws shorter, crisper blows than the wide punching Segura. If he can turn over hooks before Segura’s booming body shots and uppercuts crash home, Segura could be in trouble.
Viloria will have to make it count in the first half. The Tamara fight was his and Viloria faded late. His last fight, a title win against Julio Cesar Miranda, started strong but Viloria was holding on often late as Miranda came on. If Segura is still there late, what is Viloria going to do to keep him at bay?
The answer, for Viloria, is likely to be ‘not much’ or ‘get hit.’ Viloria, a 2000 U.S. Olympian, can land bombs but he sometimes struggles to stay as active as he needs to be. Segura is going to set a pace he can’t match. Viloria might catch him and make it interesting, but eventually Segura’s tenacious attack will wear him down. Segura is the pick around the tenth round.
Across the world, look for the Amir Khan express to continue to roll. Khan’s lone loss, a first round shocker versus Breidis Prescott, gets farther behind him all the time. Peterson should give a spirited effort in front of the D.C. crowd but his best chances for a belt will come when the division thins a bit. Khan is a little too good, too polished, and has too many dimensions, for Peterson to keep up. Khan is the pick here by decision on Saturday night.
Report Card Picks 2011: 41-16
Author’s Note: Segura, prior to the fights with Ivan Calderon, was given credit for beating former champion Cesar Canchila. However, Canchila was only an interim titlist and, going forward, interim titlists will not be recognized in report cards. The application of recognition had been inconsistent previously.
Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]