Amir Khan to face Lamont Peterson
LAS VEGAS -- Unified junior welterweight titleholder Amir Khan of England will defend his belts against mandatory challenger Lamont Peterson on Dec. 10 after the sides came to terms and avoided a purse bid, Golden Boy promoter Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com Thursday night.
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The fight, which will headline an edition of HBO's "World Championship Boxing," likely will take place in the United States, where Khan has been fighting regularly. Schaefer said the bout likely will take place in Washington, D.C., or Detroit, or possibly Montreal.
Schaefer said he strongly prefers Washington, Peterson's hometown, but also where Khan enjoyed a visit earlier this month after being invited by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to a dinner honoring Muslim athletes.
Peterson does not have a promoter, so Schaefer said he made a deal with Barry Hunter, Peterson's manager, trainer and father figure.
"I've been talking to Barry for the last couple of weeks and we were going back and forth between what they wanted and what the Khans wanted, trying to bridge the gap and agree on a number," Schaefer told ESPN.com at the MGM Grand, where he is promoting Saturday night's Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Victor Ortiz fight. "And we were finally able to do that, so as a result we have informed the IBF and called off the purse bid."
The seed for a possible fight between Khan (26-1, 18 KOs) and Peterson (29-1-1, 15 KOs) was planted in December when Peterson fought to a 10-round draw against Ortiz on the undercard of Khan's thrilling decision win against Marcos Maidana.
Khan's next fight was in April, back in England, and Peterson, 27, was offered the fight. However, he turned down a final offer of more than $300,000 -- by far a career-high purse -- because he was unhappy about the terms of a rematch clause Khan wanted and lukewarm about going to England for the fight.
Khan defeated Paul McCloskey instead, and then knocked out Zab Judah on July 23 to unify belts, while Peterson went on to knock out Victor Cayo in the 12th round for about $10,000 in a title eliminator on July 29.
Peterson's victory earned him a mandatory shot at Khan, which put him in a more favorable position to negotiate a better deal for the fight. And now Peterson may wind up getting the fight in his hometown.
"A dream come true," Peterson told ESPN.com about the prospect of fighting for a world title in D.C.
Schaefer did not disclose the terms for the fight, which is expected to be the final bout for Khan at junior welterweight before he moves up to the welterweight division next year.
"Lamont Peterson is a very skilled fighter with a different skill set than fighters like Maidana or Judah," Schaefer said. "It's going to be interesting. Lamont was dropped a couple of times in the fight with Ortiz, but showed the heart, the smarts and the skills to have the fight end up in a draw."
It will be Peterson's second shot at a world title. In December 2009, he fought one of the best fights of his career, but lost a lopsided decision to Timothy Bradley Jr., who has steadfastly refused to fight Khan despite being offered a 50-50 deal.
If the card lands in Washington, Schaefer said he would work with HBO to put at least one of the top prospects he promotes from the region on the undercard -- either Brandywine, Md., heavyweight Seth Mitchell (who fights Friday night in Las Vegas) or 2008 Olympian Gary Russell, a featherweight from Capitol Heights, Md.
Fighting Peterson is something the 24-year-old Khan said he wanted to do before leaving the 140-pound division.
"Lamont is a credible opponent. He got a draw with Ortiz, who is now fighting Mayweather," Khan said in an interview with ESPN.com last week, while negotiations were ongoing. "Now he's my mandatory and it would be a good fight. He wants to fight and I am willing to fight him. That's probably the best fight for me before I move up to welterweight."
Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter.
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