• Steve Bunce

Peterson drama quickens Khan's route to Mayweather

Steve Bunce May 15, 2012
Amir Khan's May 19 fight with Lamont Peterson has fallen through - but he is expected to return to the ring in late June or early July © Getty Images

Amir Khan should have the WBA and IBF light-welterweight titles given back to him - and his December fight with Lamont Peterson should be declared a no contest. It's that simple.

That's what has happened in the past when fighters have failed a drug test, as Peterson did earlier this year. Peterson has admitted using illegal testosterone pellets before facing Khan, so he was a drug cheat at that point.

That being so, I can't see how Khan getting his belts back is even up for debate.

I expect Peterson is going to say to the Nevada State Athletic Commission that he didn't know the testosterone pellets were banned; ie. the same excuse people have been trotting out since the 1970s. It can never be proved whether he's lying or not - but the bottom line is that, as an athlete, he is responsible for watching what enters his body.

One of the men around him - and we saw lots of them in the ring celebrating when he beat Khan - needed to step back and say, 'Are these pellets legal or illegal?' Ultimately, they were illegal - and Peterson should have known that.

According to Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions (which works with Khan), Team Peterson and the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) knew on April 13 that Peterson had failed a drug test - and no-one made Golden Boy aware until May 7.

Somebody from Team Peterson should have called Golden Boy sooner - however, it appears that Golden Boy is marginally at fault because it failed to return a piece of paper to VADA which would have allowed it to know the drug results.

VADA works exclusively in the world of boxing and mixed martial arts, and I feel it should have 'leaked' the information to Golden Boy, because the livelihoods of hundreds of people were at stake, not to mention the fans - and not just British fans; it's as tricky to get from Florida to Las Vegas as it is from Bolton to Las Vegas.

People should have been talking off the record to resolve the situation. A lot of conversations could have taken place in that April 13-May 7 period.

We know Peterson has used an illegal substance, so I can't see how he doesn't get suspended for a period: six months, maybe a year. After that, he can come back and have a grudge rematch with Khan.

The PTI take on Khan v Peterson

This whole saga is bad timing for Khan, who we're told wants to fight in July - and that's going to be a bit of a squeeze for trainer Freddie Roach, who has Manny Pacquiao's June 9 fight with Timothy Bradley on his agenda.

But bizarrely, the Peterson revelations could lead to a bout between Khan and Floyd Mayweather Jr later this year, which I believe would be premature.

I feel that should be a May 2013 fight, and I say that because the longer Khan leaves it before getting in the ring with Mayweather, the better chance he has of winning. Mayweather, as brilliant as he is (and his status as a great boxer is assured), has slowed down - so another year is only going to make him even slower.

But first Khan is expected to meet Danny Garcia, the undefeated WBC light-welterweight champion, in his next contest. While I don't think Garcia is a more dangerous opponent than Peterson, it's a good fight and one I'd like to see.

However, I get the feeling Garcia and his team would demand an awful lot of money, and I can just imagine that sum exceeding the public demand for the contest. If so, there's plenty of other fights floating around: don't rule out a catchweight scrap against someone like Paulie Malignaggi, who is now a world champion again.

That said, there isn't much time to build a July fight, especially if it's a unification one with Garcia. Having three titles would be a great way for Khan to leave the light-welterweight division - and I know he would want that.

But what you want and get in boxing are two very different things.

Sexton shock?
Thankfully after the testosterone pellets, metal barriers, involvement of Luxembourg royalty, and the chaos of boxing's bad, bad days over the last week, you get a real fight this weekend when David Price goes for the British heavyweight title against Sam Sexton.

I've never seen such biased media coverage of any British vacant-title fight. It's like Sexton doesn't even exist, and that's going to be brilliant motivation for the Norwich boxer, who is a big old lump and has been in with some decent guys: Dereck Chisora and Martin Rogan, to name two.

Price is being set up to rule the world - but he's got to get rid of Sexton first.

Chisora and Fury, according to Price and his people, are easy fights. No-one's mentioned Sexton. I'm telling you, Sexton has the ability to make it very awkward and difficult for David Price on the night.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Steve Bunce Close
Steve Bunce has been ringside in Las Vegas over 50 times, he has been at five Olympics and has been writing about boxing for over 25 years for a variety of national newspapers in Britain, including four which folded! It is possible that his face and voice have appeared on over 60 channels worldwide in a variety of languages - his first novel The Fixer was published in 2010 to no acclaim; amazingly it has been shortlisted for Sports Book of the Year.