The rematch between unified junior welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson and former titleholder Amir Khan scheduled for May 19 remained up in the air on Tuesday following Peterson's positive urine test for a banned substance, which Peterson has admitted taking, according to Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer.
Peterson tested positive for a substance "consistent with the administration of an anabolic steroid such as testosterone," according to a letter the NSAC received from the Las Vegas-based Voluntary Anti-Doping Association that was obtained by ESPN.com.
Kizer told ESPN.com that Jeff Fried, Peterson's attorney, told him that Peterson said he took testosterone pellets late last year -- before his Dec. 10 fight with Khan -- on the recommendation of a doctor because Peterson had low testosterone levels.
At Peterson's request, Khan agreed to random blood and urine testing in the buildup to the rematch. It is being overseen by VADA, whose president is Dr. Margaret Goodman, a former NSAC chief ringside physician.
As the Peterson team prepared to submit its findings to the NSAC by the close of business Tuesday in hopes of salvaging the HBO-televised rematch at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Golden Boy promoter Richard Schaefer, who promotes Khan, told reporters on a teleconference that he was shocked not to have been copied on the letter, which revealed that Peterson's "A" sample and "B" sample had both tested positive for the banned substance.
"Jeff told me when they heard about the 'A' sample being positive in April, Lamont said there is no way it could be true because he had never taken testosterone," Kizer said. "And that's why they didn't say anything to (Khan promoter) Golden Boy, because they thought it was a false positive.
"Then when the 'B' sample came back positive, sometime thereafter, Jeff said Lamont remembered that a doctor had given him testosterone pellets in October of 2011.
"I spoke to a doctor, and my understanding is, these pellets are semi-solid, and you put them under your arm, and it slowly absorbs into your glands. If you had low testosterone, a doctor would give it to you, but if you found out in April that you tested positive for it, wouldn't it jog your memory? Apparently it didn't. He's supposed to disclose everything in his system, and he didn't disclose this. We'll wait and see what happens."
Based on the positive test and his admission, and the NSAC's past history, it is unlikely that Peterson will be licensed for the fight. That could lead to Golden Boy and Khan suing Peterson. The IBF and WBA, whose titles Peterson holds, likely would strip him of the belts.
Even though the testing was done more than a month ago, Schaefer said he was not aware that there was a problem until he got a call from Kizer on Monday morning informing him that the commission had just received the letter from VADA outlining the issues.
"I was not copied on that letter. Why I was not informed, I can't explain. I find it rather shocking that nobody from Team Khan was copied," Schaefer said.
Goodman said the reason Golden Boy was not notified by VADA was because it was under no obligation to do so.
"VADA notified Lamont Peterson and his attorney, Jeff Fried, immediately after Mr. Peterson's 'A' sample tested positive," Goodman said in a statement. "VADA felt that it would be inappropriate for it to notify third parties of the positive test result at that time because there had been no confirmation of it. It appears as though Mr. Peterson and Mr. Fried also chose not to notify third parties at that time in the hope that Mr. Peterson's 'B' sample would test negative. As soon as Mr. Peterson's 'B' sample tested positive, VADA notified Mr. Peterson, Mr. Fried, and the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Neither Golden Boy Promotions nor HBO was a signatory to the VADA contract."
The letter offered details about what happened.
On March 19, while Peterson and Khan were making a promotional appearance at a news conference in Los Angeles, they were asked to provide urine samples by an unannounced collections officer.
According to VADA, the urine sample was taken to the UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory -- which is accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency and oversees drug testing for Olympians.
"The adverse results for the athlete's 'A' sample were reported to VADA by the laboratory on April 12," the letter read. "VADA informed the athlete of the adverse analytical finding on April 13 and advised the athlete of his right to have the 'B' sample analyzed. The process of analyzing the 'B' sample began at the laboratory on April 30 in the presence of one or more representatives of the athlete. The laboratory reported the results of the 'B' sample analysis on May 3. The results of the 'B' sample confirmed the results of the 'A' sample."
Under VADA policy, Peterson can appeal the findings. As a result of the positive test, Peterson has been removed from the VADA program, effective immediately, and the results were forwarded to the NSAC, which is responsible for licensing Peterson for the fight.
VADA also said that another sample Peterson submitted April 13 came back negative May 2.
"Why it took from (April 13) to (April 30) to go and test the 'B' sample is again a mystery to me," Schaefer said. "If I would have been informed, I would have asked for an expedited testing instead of waiting two weeks."
Fried said in a statement given to ESPN.com that Peterson's team is preparing information that will be given to VADA and the NSAC in an effort to clear up the situation.
"We are pursuing closure of the documented reason for the positive test result from the March 19, 2012, urine test in Los Angeles," Fried said. "This determination is based on comprehensive and specific medical analysis performed since becoming aware of the positive test. Specifically, there are productive developments based on such medical analysis/reviews. We will submit the facts to VADA and the commission by close of business (Tuesday), including the specific non-performance reasons for the medical treatment and other criteria in compliance with the applicable VADA exemption rules and, correspondingly, the Nevada commission rules."
Fried went on to say that a doctor who treated Peterson in November has traced the origin of the positive test to a one-time treatment for an undisclosed medical situation.
"This information has now been communicated and independently confirmed by the chief of medicine at Suburban Hospital (Johns Hopkins) and its chief of endocrinology and included within a report that will be submitted to VADA and the Nevada commission," Fried said. "We believe the VADA team and the commission medical team will clearly understand the medical areas addressed within the submission and for purposes of Lamont continuing as a licensed boxer with the Nevada commission and participating in the May 19 championship bout."
Schaefer said that once the commission receives the report from the Peterson camp, it will rule on whether there will be a fight.
"That is all I know at this point," Schaefer said. "I would assume by (Wednesday) or the latest the day after we will know where we stand. Amir Khan continues to train. He is fully aware of the situation. He is very disappointed, but he is going to follow whatever the athletic commission is going to rule. And that's where we stand.
"My full focus is to work with the Nevada State Athletic Commission and get to the bottom of this and do what is right. This demonstrates the importance of random drug testing and how important it is to the sport of boxing. This is not about hitting a baseball or running faster or jumping higher. This is toe-to-toe battle where one's life is at risk every time these young athletes enter the ring. It is important that Nevada State Athletic Commission look at all the facts and make the appropriate ruling."
Peterson (30-1-1, 15 KOs) and Khan (26-2, 18 KOs), of England, waged one of the best fights of 2011 in Peterson's hometown of Washington, D.C. Peterson won a split decision in the Dec. 10 showdown, claiming a pair of belts in a fight that ended in a storm of controversy, mainly over Khan being docked two points on questionable pushing calls by referee Joe Cooper.