Amir Khan knocks down Lamont Peterson during the Capital Showdown: Khan v Peterson WBA/IBF World light-welterweight title bout at Washington Convention Center on December 10, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Amir Khan says that after Lamont Peterson failed a drug test for synthetic testosterone (not "steroid pellets" as The Daily Star article says), he now understands his rival's performance in their December battle, which went to Peterson via close and much-debated decision, and that he still wanted the rematch but had to be talked out of it after learning of Peterson's positive test.
"Now it is all clear and I can see it all. I was wondering at the time how he kept coming back at me all the time from the big shots he was taking. He was being hit by big combinations and any other fighter would have gone down and stayed down. I put him down twice in the first round and not many people come back from that. The way he came back was just unbelievable – and now we know why. The truth has come out now and it just proves that Lamont Peterson was a cheat, really."
As much as many want to rally around the "Peterson's a cheat!" thing and then toss the whole thing aside without learning anything about what has happened, why it has happened, and where we go from here, the reality is that this is your typical boastful boxing talk wrapped up in a "steroids" finger-wagging. Neither of Khan's first round knockdowns -- only one of which was ruled a knockdown -- were exactly devastating. I mean, if you want to watch the entire fight, feel free. It's there.
At no point watching that fight did I then or do I now think to myself, "Gosh, what a superhuman effort from Lamont Peterson." He fought well and took advantage of Amir Khan's flaws. He got on a roll after a shaky first round, and nothing about it was special. He simply began to hang in with Amir Khan, but the way Khan is remembering the fight, it's designed to make you think that Peterson was some bum who suddenly was 10 times better than anyone had ever expected, shaking off brutal knockdowns and charging forward with the strength and stamina of a thousand men, and that it must have been the slow-release testosterone pellets from November that propelled him to such a jaw-dropping performance. It's nothing to do with the boxing match that actually happened.
I'm not saying there's no reason to be disappointed with or angry at Lamont Peterson. All I'm saying is that Khan is just being Khan here, selling a line to an audience that is currently very ready to buy all of this and lap it up without question. But it's worth questioning.
It is good to know that Amir Khan is a clean athlete, and good to know that Peterson, quite frankly, appears to not be a clean athlete. But the way some of this is being made out now is an exaggeration at best. This needs to be handled in an intelligent manner, understood, made clear to the public and to the boxing world, and treated appropriately, and not just used to hype Amir Khan's greatness and his next fight. But that's probably asking way too much of anyone involved. The thirst and even great need for knowledge will pretty much always take a backseat to mud-slinging and advertising.