Amir Khan is aiming to reclaim the WBA and IBF junior welterweight titles on May 19 against Lamont Peterson. (Photo by Ned Dishman/Getty Images)
Amir Khan is currently training in the Philippines with Freddie Roach and Manny Pacquiao, as Pacquiao gears up for his June 9 fight with Timothy Bradley, while Khan is preparing for his May 19 rematch with Lamont Peterson. Both fights will be held in Las Vegas.
Khan says that he's working hard and doesn't believe he was at his best in December, when Peterson won a fairly controversial and highly competitive fight in Washington, DC. From Ryan Songalia at RingTV.com:
I'm going to train like a challenger, like I always train. I have to train a little bit harder because I know things can go wrong. The first time the tallies (for pushing) were taken from me. I believe I won the fight but I didn't get it. The fight's not gonna be in DC. ... I mean, I'm not taking nothing away from Lamont, he's a good fighter but I just think you didn't see the best of Amir Khan on that night."
Khan (26-2, 18 KO) is in sort of a must-win position here. Another loss to Peterson would severely damage his standing as a top fighter, and give many the impression that he's all hype and talk.
Win or lose, Khan, 25, is probably headed to the welterweight division after this fight. I suppose there's a slight chance he stays at 140, but a win over Peterson would mean he's done about all he's going to do at the weight, plus he would probably be giving up at least one of the titles he would win anyway, as a rematch with Zab Judah (who won an IBF eliminator over Vernon Paris this past Saturday) probably isn't that interesting to him or to HBO.
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I really don't know what would be waiting for Khan at 147 right now, but things can change drastically and make sense with just one surprise fight. In April 2011, there's no way anyone was thinking about Mayweather vs Ortiz for the coming September, but that happened and made sense. Khan recently dismissed the idea of facing top UK welterweight Kell Brook, but it might make sense -- hell, that might make sense if Khan loses to Peterson, too. There's the Ortiz-Berto winner, too. There will be a fight for him at 147 either way, but obviously he'd be in a better spot going up as a winner.
Getting past Peterson, however, is much easier said than done, something Khan learned well already.