In Washington D.C on Saturday night, it won’t be just Amir Khan defending his two Light-Welterweight belts against Lamont Peterson, backed by a home crowd. This is supposedly Khan’s last fight at the division before moving up, or moving on to bigger and greater things. American Superstardom. If he wins.
And he should. When it comes down to boxing skills, Khan has the edge. He’s simply the better boxer than Peterson, with a much more impressive resume of wins, despite being a bit younger. Still, Lamont Peterson has a lot less riding on this than Amir Khan, who’s potential screams for the sky.
Is Khan the complete package? Not far from it. Skills, power, heart and speed. He’s got the height and he’s an aggressive fighter, winning 18 of his fights by knockout. It’s that one loss to Breidis Prescott in 2008 that has us all wondering if Khan’s rise to global stardom will be halted. Peterson, despite his flaws, might be the man to do it.
Vulnerability. His chin. Prescott knocked out Khan after 50 seconds, stunning the British crowd. Since then Khan took on Freddie Roach as a trainer, and he has improved his defending abilities ten folds. Lamont Peterson will be looking to get beyond that defense and exploit that already proven weak chin.
Peterson doesn’t have the impressive win resume like Khan. He too has one career loss, to Timothy Bradley. He has a draw against Victor Ortiz after suffering an early knockdown. Some say his win over Victor Cayo in July impressed them. I’m not one of them. But Peterson poses a threat to the Khan trophy train.
Khan loves fighting from the outside, but Peterson has the reach advantage. He also knows how to move, and if he can avoid Khan’s flurries and combinations and prove himself worthy of what people call a “surgical precision boxer”, Khan’s in trouble. Home advantage? To a degree.
Khan is a bigger name, even in America, than Lamont Peterson. That’s saying something. He’s also the WBA and IBF title holder, which means that home crowd and judges won’t exactly shift the result toward’s Peterson as it would have if the two would be fighting in the UK. When fighting in Europe, especially in German, against local title holders, you gotta score the knockout. I’m not sure Khan has to get the KO to win. He just needs to impress, which is something he looks for every time anyway.
Career trajectory possibilities? Hard to imagine about Khan. A loss would mean not just losing the belts, but staying in the division to prove once again he’s Numero Uno in LW. Maybe a rematch in Vegas? Lately, Khan’s desire to fight Floyd Mayweather has seemed to change. Other prospects, still in LW, are looming.
First of all there’s Timothy Bradley. Khan has always wanted a piece of him, and a win over Peterson might finally pave the way for the fight to finally determine who’s the better of the fighters. Bradley’s hopes of scoring a fight against Pacquiao don’t seem realistic at the moment. Mayweather vs Pacquiao seems to be the top priority. And Khan’s trainer also has a voice in things. He’d love Khan to fight Brandon Rios.
Rios, despite his recent win, was stripped of his Lightweight title belt and he plans on moving up to Light Welterweight anyway. Rios made fun of Roach’s Parkinson disease, and Roach would love Khan to dish out punishment in his name – I definitely want to see that fight. I want Amir to stay at 140 and beat Rios just for me. Brandon Rios made fun of me before with my Parkinson’s, and even though it was funny, I feel I was disrespected. Brandon is an exchange fighter. He doesn’t even know how to throw a feint, he has no game plan and you can tell. Amir Khan would destroy Brandon Rios. We’ll take that fight.
For Peterson, according to him, there’s a feeling that this might be his final shot of grabbing a title belt, of proving he’s a champion and a #1 fighter in his division. He already missed an opportunity against Bradley. A defeat against Khan might seal his chances for good.