- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Junior welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson and his manager/trainer and father figure Barry Hunter have not always seen eye to eye with Golden Boy Promotions.
Peterson, after all, upset Golden Boy fighter Amir Khan to win the title in December 2011 and then, after a contentious negotiation for a rematch, tested positive for the banned substance synthetic testosterone before the May sequel, forcing it to be canceled. That cost Golden Boy hundreds of thousands of dollars and Khan a chance at revenge.
But apparently time heals all wounds, because on Monday, Golden Boy announced it signed Peterson, a promotional free agent, to a contract. Terms were not disclosed.
"We are thrilled that Lamont Peterson will be joining Golden Boy Promotions' team," Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya said. "We know firsthand what Lamont Peterson can do, as he's been in the ring with our fighters Amir Khan and Victor Ortiz. We know that he is the kind of individual that will be an asset to our team and great competitor in the 140-pound weight class."
In December 2010, Peterson held Ortiz to a draw in a fight in which Ortiz was the heavy favorite.
"I am excited about signing with Golden Boy Promotions and the opportunity to work with them again," Peterson said. "Being with Golden Boy really gives me the chance to make the best fights available in my weight class. I want to fight the best in the world at 140 [pounds] and I know it can happen as a member of the Golden Boy team. I am optimistic that this is a decision that will help further my career."
Peterson (30-1-1, 15 KOs), who turned 29 last week, has not fought since his controversial split-decision win against Khan because of the failed drug test. But he will return to the ring for his first title defense when he faces mandatory challenger (and former titleholder) Kendall Holt (28-5, 16 KOs), 31, of Paterson, N.J., on Feb. 22 (ESPN2) at the D.C. Armory in Washington, Peterson's hometown.
Golden Boy is not involved in that fight, as it was made before Peterson signed. It is being promoted by Gary Shaw, Holt's promoter, who won the purse bid to gain promotional rights to the bout, and Hunter's Headbangers Boxing.
Peterson's Golden Boy deal begins after the fight, and the company has several potential opponents it can offer Peterson, be it at junior welterweight or at welterweight if he elects to move up in weight.
There is always the prospect of a rematch with Khan or Ortiz, but Golden Boy also promotes fellow junior welterweight titlist Danny Garcia, interim titlist Lucas Matthysse, welterweight titleholders Devon Alexander and Paulie Malignaggi, interim welterweight titlist Roberto Guerrero, and welterweight contenders Marcos Maidana and Josesito Lopez. Golden Boy also is closely involved in promoting pound-for-pound king and welterweight titleholder Floyd Mayweather Jr.
"We boxers are always trying to please our fans. We want to give them the best fights we can," Peterson said. "In order to do that, one needs to have the best promoter in the market so you can get the best fights you can. Who's the best promoter in the market? Golden Boy. So, I decided to go ahead and sign with them and sign with the best there is.
"Signing with Golden Boy is the best thing to do. They have the best fighters and at this point, after winning my last fight against Amir Khan, it makes sense to fight the top guys. I'm training hard for my next fight and I'm going to keep on doing it. I feel I have some things to prove. I'm confident I'll come out victorious and I'll move on."
Golden Boy executive David Itskowitch appeared with Peterson at a news conference in Washington to announce the signing.
"We've seen him fight our fighters, so we know what he's capable of," Itskowitch said. "We can offer Lamont a lot of possibilities for big fights [at junior welterweight]. If he wants to move up in weight, we have big-name fighters at welterweight, too. He's fought against Golden Boy fighters in the past, and we are excited he's now becoming one of them."