Khan vs Peterson: Preview and Prediction for the Main Event and Mitchell vs Ibragimov

Lamont Peterson looks to get over the hump tonight at home in DC, where he faces Amir Khan. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

There isn't, in all honesty, a ton to say about tonight's fight between Amir Khan and Lamont Peterson.

This is a good fight. It's a good matchup. Peterson has earned his way here, and though he lost wide to Tim Bradley in his first crack at a major title, he didn't roll over. He was there to fight Bradley all night long. So while the odds are exceptionally wide, I'm not expecting a wipeout -- not a true wipeout, anyway. Khan may win 119-109 tonight. But he'll earn it.

Last December, Khan and Peterson were together in Las Vegas for an HBO double-header. In the main event at Mandalay Bay, Khan faced puncher Marcos Maidana. He floored Maidana in the first round, seemingly for good on a devastating body shot, but didn't keep him down.

And while Khan largely owned the fight with his speed and precision, Maidana did put a serious scare into Khan, and in the end, you wound up with one of the best fights of 2010, and the winner of the BWAA Fight of the Year.

Victor Ortiz was supposed to be showcased in the co-feature. Lamont Peterson sent him into a make-or-break fight instead.


More Khan-Peterson Coverage From Bad Left Hook
Fight Odds | Officials Named | Weigh-In | Press Conference Video


That night, Ortiz put Peterson down twice in round three. No easy feat, even for someone as strong a puncher as Ortiz is -- but Peterson got up.

And for much of the fight, Peterson outboxed Ortiz and shut him down. Ortiz, when he got his ego and "swagger" back months later before his embarrassing knockout loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr, started claiming that his draw against Peterson was a robbery.

It wasn't. Ortiz was lucky to escape without a loss.

This past July, Peterson defeated Victor Cayo to earn a shot at the IBF title, won six days earlier by Khan when he stopped Zab Judah in five. There was some concern the fight wouldn't get made, that Khan, who already held the WBA title, could give up the IBF belt and look for a bigger fight.

But no bigger or better fight came along (unless you ask Marcos Maidana, who wants a rematch), and here we are with Khan vs Peterson in Washington, DC, live tonight on HBO.

Prediction

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(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

I like this fight. It's a matchup of top five guys who don't make for boring fights, in a town that doesn't get big fights anymore, and I'm hoping we'll have a good, vocal crowd in DC to spice things up. I love vocal crowds, and boxing doesn't have enough of them. Don't blame just Vegas, either -- the supposed "fight fans" at Madison Square Garden were awful on December 3 apart from the main event, totally ignoring two terrific undercard fights.

But I'm pretty firm on who's going to win this thing, and honestly, I don't think the odds are absurd for betting purposes. Amir Khan is positioned to win this fight, and it's not because it's easy matchmaking, either. It's because it's pretty decent matchmaking against a guy who just doesn't seem to stack up to Khan's overall package. Yes, Peterson is good inside, and can make things happen from close range.

But Khan is excellent at keeping his distance, fleet enough of foot to keep Peterson chasing, and fast enough with his hands to make people forget that Peterson is the one doing all the forward marching, as Khan likely will try to pick him apart with quick combinations from the outside, then jump back out and make everything reset. I expect a lot of that, and for Peterson to have a hard time getting going.

There are three ways Lamont Peterson can win this fight:

  • Monster bomb that puts Khan's lights out. This is always possible.
  • Khan has totally overlooked Peterson, which I do not believe is the case.
  • Khan fights a bit stupidly and stays in the pocket with Lamont. If he does, expect Freddie Roach to lose it.

But I think Khan largely cruises here -- not easily, but he'll win wide and convincingly, and Lamont Peterson will once again come up just a little bit short on the big stage. Amir Khan by decision.

Seth Mitchell vs Timur Ibragimov

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(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Mitchell (23-0-1, 17 KO) is a quick learner. That much I really believe.

But is he a true pro boxer? We find out tonight. No more Taurus Sykes, no more Evans Quinn who had no desire to be in the ring in May, no more cupcakes.

Timur Ibragimov is a legit fighter. Not the best in the world, not the biggest puncher, not a top ten guy. But he really, really knows what he's doing in there, and may be rubbing his hands together giddily when he looks at this raw, heavily hyped American kid who came from college football.

I like Seth Mitchell. He seems like a nice guy, he seems like he's truly dedicated to boxing, and like he's giving it his 100% best effort. My question is not about whether or not Mitchell can win some boxing matches, it's whether or not he's ready for Ibragimov. Timur hasn't fought in a year, but I don't think that will be a big deal.

If Seth Mitchell is really, really worth watching out for, he'll look good, he'll win big, and we'll see him handle a guy who is a strong gatekeeper and should be a true test tonight.

If he's not, he could have some real problems tonight. This ain't no disco. This ain't no foolin' around. No pick.

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