- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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In the immediate aftermath of the Lamont Peterson-Amir Khan junior welterweight title rematch being canceled on Wednesday because of Peterson's failed drug test, his team didn't have much to say.
In fact, numerous emails and phone calls went unreturned. I would imagine Peterson's people were trying to collect their thoughts and figure out what to say and how to explain why, during a random urine test conducted on March 19 in Los Angeles, Peterson (who had asked Khan to undergo random testing during the buildup to their fight) tested positive for synthetic testosterone.
That is a banned substance in Nevada, where the major HBO bout was scheduled to take place on May 19.
The results of the test came to light just this week, and with Peterson unlikely to be licensed in Nevada -- where these results are taken very seriously -- Golden Boy Promotions canceled the show. It was just too close to the fight to go through with a hearing early next week when Peterson was almost certainly going to be denied a license anyway.
Even though Peterson said the reason he took the synthetic testosterone was because of a legitimate medical issue -- abnormally low testosterone -- he and his team missed the point: Taking a banned substance is not allowed. And if you do take it for a legitimate medical reason, it is incumbent on the athlete to disclose that to the Nevada commission and attempt to obtain a medical exemption. Period, no exceptions. Peterson didn't do that, either. In other words, it's like closing the barn door after the horse has run away.
On Thursday morning, the Peterson camp finally released a statement regarding the cancellation of the fight.
You can read the full statement below, although I will take issue with one point it makes: that Peterson has never failed a drug test in his 18 years of boxing. Well, that's not true.
He did flunk a drug test on March 19, and that is the reason the fight is canceled. Here's the full statement:
"Team Peterson is very disappointed and distraught by the decision to cancel the May 19 rematch against Amir Khan. This is an extremely difficult decision to accept. We have always taken the position of providing factual information rather than responding emotionally to rumors and innuendoes. We did everything that was asked of us in efforts to comply.
"To support our stance we provided the Nevada State Athletic Commission with a significant amount of factual medical data in response to these allegations. Lamont did a battery of test this week and saw a number of independent board certified physicians. They all had the exact same conclusion as the doctor that initially treated and diagnosed Lamont's medical condition. It began as a confidential medical matter between a patient and his physician. Unfortunately, it has now become a public issue in efforts to clear the name and reputation of this young man.
"As a condition for this rematch, Lamont demanded that Olympic-style random drug testing be implemented. He has been a true advocate for making boxing drug-free and fair. In his 18-year career (10 amateur and eight professional) Lamont Peterson has never failed a drug test and has always complied with the rules beyond this isolated and explainable occurrence.
"We still stand behind the fact that he did nothing wrong and he was more than ready to go through with the May 19 fight. He is a man of tremendous character and will. His work ethic is second to none, and in every sense of the word he is a true champion, in life, as well as in the ring.
"We will vigorously pursue the truth with regards to this matter and continue to fight to protect this young man's character, credibility and all he has accomplished. Once all the facts have been reviewed we have no doubt that he will be vindicated."