Thursday, July 28, 2011
Cayo, Peterson vie for shot at Khan
By Dan Rafael
In his biggest fight, Victor Cayo was cut down in six rounds by hard-charging Marcos Maidana on HBO in March 2010. Despite the loss, Cayo is a talented fighter, and after two wins in a row, the Dominican Republic native has a chance to make a lot of people forget about that defeat.
That's because he's fighting slick American Lamont Peterson (28-1-1, 14 KOs) in the main event of this week's "Friday Night Fights" (ESPN2/ESPN3, 9 ET) at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.
Besides matching two quality junior welterweight contenders, the bout will also determine one of unified titleholder Amir Khan's mandatory challengers. I've been looking forward to the fight -- all three times it has been scheduled.
It was first due to headline FNF on April 29, but Cayo (26-1, 18 KOs) suffered a shoulder injury and had to withdraw.
Then it was rescheduled to take place July 23 on the undercard of what turned out to be Khan's fifth-round knockout of Zab Judah in their unification bout. But that fell by the wayside when Warriors Boxing promoter Leon Margules, Cayo's co-promoter, and Golden Boy couldn't finalize the language on options in the event of a Cayo win.
Lamont Peterson already has turned down an Amir Khan fight, but he may get a crack at the junior welterweight champ yet.
The fight was quickly shifted to ESPN2/ESPN3, which had an open date. And now we have a really good main event in what has been a very strong FNF season. The co-feature of the card is also interesting: Former middleweight and super middleweight title challenger (and usually exciting) Edison Miranda (34-5, 29 KOs) will face former Cuban amateur star Yordanis Despaigne (8-1, 4 KOs) in a light heavyweight fight.
Cayo said he is back to form after healing from his injury.
"I had a very painful injury in my arm and I had no choice but to pull out of the fight, because I want to be 100 percent and not lose this opportunity," Cayo said. "Now, after a couple months, I feel great, and every minute I wait is too long to get in the ring and prove to everyone who Victor Cayo is."
The nine-month layoff is the longest of Cayo's career. It will be interesting to see if there are any signs of rust as a result of the layoff and injury. Cayo, who trained in the boxing hotbed of Oxnard, Calif., says there won't be.
"I've been in camp since December," he said. "I had the opportunity to fight earlier in the year, but that didn't come about. This inactivity will benefit me in the end because I had time to heal from my injury."
Peterson was dealing with his own nagging injuries, so he wasn't too upset by the April postponement, although he has been dealing with a sore neck in the final weeks of this training camp.
"This fight has been coming for a while," Peterson said. "We were supposed to fight April 29, but I know things happen in training camp. Victor Cayo got hurt. It actually gave me a chance to heal up because I was nursing an injury, too. So I think it works out for the better for both of us. I'm anxious to get in the ring and get it on because this is a big fight and it'll lead to an even bigger fight.
"For me, I had a neck and shoulder injury and trouble moving around, so I was confused about whether I should fight or pull out, but now I'm 100 percent. It worked out for me. I think I've had more time to focus on Victor's style and game plan. It was a good thing."
ESPN.com Boxing on Twitter
Don't miss any of the latest boxing coverage from around the world. Follow us on Twitter and stay informed. Join »
The winner will be Khan's mandatory challenger, although it remains to be seen whether the winner will actually get the shot before Khan moves up to welterweight. In that scenario, the winner would box for the vacant belt.
Cayo wants Khan, like most junior welterweights do -- except for unified titlist Timothy Bradley Jr., who turned down career-high money and a 50-50 deal to fight him July 23.
"[Khan] comes forward and he's a good fighter, probably one of the best 140-pounders at this moment," Cayo said. "If I win, I would love to fight Amir Khan."
Peterson, of course, would also like the opportunity to challenge Khan. He had it once, but he turned down a chance to go to England for a career-high (by far) payday of more than $300,000 on April 16. Peterson declined because he was unhappy about the contract language regarding a rematch in the event that he won. Instead, he accepted an eliminator against Cayo for a fraction of the money.
Whoever wins, they will be entitled to at least 25 percent of the money against Khan based on their mandatory status. I wouldn't expect Peterson to turn down Khan again if he wins.