Lamont Peterson hasn't fought since his controversial -- in almost every way -- win over Amir Khan in December 2011, largely thanks to a failed drug test conducted by VADA last year ahead of a May rematch, which resulted in Peterson being stripped of the WBA junior welterweight title (but not the IBF belt), and put him on the sidelines, defending himself for the use of synthetic testosterone to the press, but not to any commission or other governing body in the sport.
Now signed up to defend his IBF belt against Kendall Holt on the February 22 edition of ESPN Friday Night Fights, Peterson (30-1-1, 15 KO) is back in the small time, you could say, fighting for relative chump change on a B-level televised show from his hometown of Washington, DC.
Peterson-Holt certainly isn't a bad fight, and realistically deserves to be in a better position than it is, but public perception has cast Peterson aside, labeled him a cheater, and driven him back to where he was. It's essentially as if he never really did beat Khan, the biggest win of the 29-year-old fighter's career.
Another reason Peterson sat so long waiting was a simple political reality of boxing: Without a major promoter, Peterson had nobody to back his play. Andre Berto also failed a drug test last year, after Peterson did, and he was back in the ring in an HBO main event by November, easily licensed in California, because Golden Boy Promotions had his back.
Last month, Peterson made an inevitable move, signing with Golden Boy himself, which surprised a lot of people, given the fact that it was a Golden Boy event that Peterson had canceled with his failed drug test, and the folks over at GBP weren't exactly happy with him as a result.
Peterson tells the Washington Post in a very good feature piece that he's not burying the hatchet with the company, he's simply doing what's best for business:
"Sometimes, you look at it, and you got to make a deal with the devil," Peterson said. "As long as your heart's in the right place, and you know what you want to do, you do business. . . . To be honest, I still feel a certain way about Golden Boy. But that's just the way it is. It's just business."
It's hard to really argue with this -- if this were the music industry or whatever, you could accuse him of "selling out," I guess, but Lamont Peterson is a guy holding a world title who's going to make a $37,500 purse to defend that belt next Friday. By joining the Golden Boy stable, he guarantees himself better than that going forward, even if he were to lose to Kendall Holt, which is absolutely a possibility.
And anyway, he's being more honest about the move than you would probably expect. He's not talking about how great Oscar and Richard are, he's not saying how much he loves the Golden Boy family. It's about the prize in prizefighting, and he's not sugarcoating it.