Exclusive Q&A: Peterson targets Judah, if not Marquez or Bradley
RingTV.com caught up to junior welterweight Lamont Peterson in the wake of the IBF’s decision to allow him to retain the belt he won from Amir Khan last December after a review of his medical records by organization-appointed doctors ruled that the testosterone discovered in Peterson’s failed drug test in March was not at a level that would enhance his performance.
Claiming that it was for medical reasons, Peterson (30-1-1, 15 knockouts) admitted to having a testosterone pellet surgically implanted into his hip by Las Vegas-based Dr. John Thompson on Nov. 12 of last year after he was diagnosed with an abnormally testosterone level.
Based on the findings of the appointed physicians, the IBF deduced that Peterson should not be stripped of the title and has ordered the Washington, D.C., native to face former beltholder Zab Judah, a former welterweight champ and junior welterweight titleholder.
If not Judah, Peterson said he would like to face either newly-crowned WBO welterweight titleholder Tim Bradley (29-0, 12 KOs) or four-division titlewinner Juan Manuel Marquez (54-6-1, 39 KOs), who are being considered for return bouts against Manny Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KOs) on Nov. 10 along with three-division titleholder Miguel Cotto (37-3, 30 KOs).
Peterson is 3-0-1 with two knockouts since suffering his lone loss to Bradley by decision in December of 2009, and turned down an offer to fight Marquez from Top Rank in order to take the rematch with Khan.
Peterson has been stripped of the WBA’s belt, which he also took from Khan (26-3, 18 KOs), in the wake of the positive test that forced the cancelation of a scheduled May 19 rematch. Khan was then re-instated as the WBA’s beltholder while Peterson was named its “champion in recess.”
Last month, however, Khan was knocked out in the fourth round by WBC titleholder Danny Garcia (24-0, 15 KOs), who added THE RING and WBA belts to his repertoire.
In the meantime, Peterson’s legal counsel has asked for the fighter to be on the Aug. 24 agenda of a meeting of the Nevada State Athletic Commission in the hopes of being re-licensed in that state.
A free agent, Peterson also discussed whether or not he would consider fighting under the banner of under The Money Team (TMT Promotions), the newly-formed promotional firm of recording artist 50 Cent and fighter Floyd Mayweather Jr.
TMT already has signed super middleweight contender Andre Dirrell, former featherweight titleholder Yuriorkis Gamboa and Australian IBF featherweight beltholder Billy Dib as well as WBA “regular” featherweight titleholder Celestino Caballero. Judah has reportedly met with 50 Cent, as has former welterweight beltholder Andre Berto.
RingTV.com: Having contested the accusations from the beginning, what are your thoughts on the IBF’s decision?
Lamont Peterson: Well, I’m just happy to be able to fight again and I’m happy that someone took the time and really went over the facts of this story, you know?
Because a lot of things can be said. Anybody can easily just come up and say anything and say that he did this or he took that.
But once you look at the facts, you will see that that wasn’t the case. But it seemed that not everybody wanted to do that, so there were a lot of people giving me a hard time.
But apparently, the IBF did the proper process of what they do and they did an excellent job. I feel like the IBF did the job and they cleared my name.
RingTV.com: What is the next fight that you want, as opposed to the next fight that the IBF has determined that you should take?
LP: Well, for me, that would be the fight with Marquez, because Marquez is an all-time great who is well-respected throughout the boxing community.
That would be a fight where a lot of people and the experts and generally people in all of boxing would probably think that I couldn’t win.
But I’m up for those types of challenges and I really think that I would do well with him. So that would be a fight that I would want, and Marquez is a 140-pounder now.
I would love to fight him because I look at him as if he’s the best 140-pounder out there other than myself. So I think that fight right there makes more sense than any other fight.
RingTV.com: If Pacquiao chooses Marquez, then who would you take next?
LP: If not him, then Danny Garcia, because I feel that with the win that he had over Amir Khan that he’s the next in line to face me next to Marquez.
RingTV.com: How attractive would a rematch with Bradley be should Pacquiao not choose him?
LP: That would be a good move for me. Going up to 147 pounds wouldn’t be a problem for me. I know that that fight will eventually happen again. If that was my next fight, then that would definitely make me happy.
RingTV.com: Does a rematch with Khan have any merit?
LP: I’m going to tell you this. I’m going to have to leave that situation alone. Me, I’m not one to talk badly about anyone if it ain’t in their face.
I don’t say anything bad about them if I can’t say it to their face. With that being said, I really don’t want to discuss anything with him.
They said a lot of bad things, but I’m not going to say anything on the internet or anything like that. If it materializes, that would be another story. But right now, I don’t need to fight him.
RingTV.com: So will you go with Judah or will you try to wait out the Pacquiao, Marquez, Bradley, Cotto situation?
LP: I think that we’ll go forward with the Zab Judah fight for now. The only way that I think I’ll be able to fight a Marquez or any other fighter other than Zab Judah is if I’m allowed to fight someone else and keep my IBF title.
If I can’t keep the IBF title, and if it’s going to come down to me losing that title or giving up the title just to fight someone else, then I’m not going to do that.
Right now, considering that I really appreciate the IBF and what they did, then I’m going to continue to be their champion for as long as I’m able to. I won’t just dump their belt to fight someone else.
But if they allow me to or if Zab allows me to, and say, he steps aside for a while and allows me to fight someone else and then I’ll fight him next, then he and I might be fighting for two belts.
RingTV.com: Would you consider giving up your free agency status by signing with either Top Rank, TMT Promotions or Golden Boy?
LP: Being a free agent is the best thing for me and the best thing to continue to be from what I see. I say that because if you only go with a Top Rank, then you’re only going to be fighting Top Rank fighters.
If you go with a Golden Boy, then you’re only going to be fighting Golden Boy fighters. Even if you go with 50 Cent and Floyd Mayweather, more than likely, you’re only going to be fighting their fighters.
Any way that you look at it, you’re probably going to be fighting the fighters that they want you to fight. So you may be kind of limiting your options of who you can fight and the moves that you can make.
So, with me remaining a free agent, if I want to take on a certain fighter for my next fight, then I’ll do so. But I won’t be doing it under a long-term contract with anyone.
Photo by Delane Rouse, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Photo by Delane Rouse, Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]