Lamont Peterson faces Amir Khan in just six days in Washington, DC, live on HBO and Sky Sports in a big-time junior welterweight fight that may have thus far flown under the radar a bit, but is truly a compelling stylistic matchup that should be getting more attention than it has.
Tonight, DC's own Peterson was live on 106.7 The Fan in his hometown, and spoke with MMA Nation's Luke Thomas about his upcoming fight, his training, and how he felt when he heard about last night's Cotto vs Margarito results.
Peterson (29-1-1, 15 KO) says that camp has been very good, and that he's on point to comfortably make weight on Friday.
"I left the gym today at 144, and that's a good thing. I didn't have to train hard to make it. I'm eating good, and I'm losing about three or four every workout, so I'm comfortable," he said.
He's also not worried about trying to live up to his status as a potential hometown hero with this fight. DC hasn't had major boxing in years, and this fight has some buzz and has moved tickets pretty nicely.
"For me, I don't think it's a problem at all," Peterson said about fighting at home and trying to impress family and friends.
"It can be a problem for certain people, but my thing is, you can only have distractions when you allow them. If you know what you have to do, and you do what you have to do, there will be no problems."
He's also ready for Khan (26-1, 18 KO), regarded by some as the world's best at 140 pounds, who will be defending the WBA and IBF junior welterweight titles.
"Amir Khan is an energy fighter," he said. "He throws a lot of punches, tries to outpoint you, outwork you. He never wants you to throw more than him. He has good movement, really fast hands, and decent punching power, too. But his whole game plan is to use his size, speed, and volume punching to wear you down and out-punch you."
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Britain's Khan has racked up wins over Zab Judah, Paul McCloskey, Paulie Malignaggi, and Marcos Maidana since moving from lightweight to junior welterweight, but Peterson believes that Andriy Kotelnik, from whom Khan won the WBA belt in July 2009 in his first fight at 140 pounds, was Khan's best win to date.
"Kotelnik is a really good fighter that I respect. Khan kind of won the fight pretty easy, and I was surprised at that. That's probably his biggest win," Peterson said.
"I expected Khan to come out (fast), but I expected him to burn out, and for Kotelnik to take over in the second half. But Khan sustained his speed, and never gave Kotelnik a chance to come on."
Of his own wins, Peterson believes that his win this past summer over Victor Cayo, which made him the IBF's mandatory challenger, was his best.
"With the Cayo fight, I stuck with the game plan. Style-wise, I didn't think I looked my best, but I followed the game plan, I was in great shape, I finished the fight strong, and I got the victory."
Peterson knows what he's up against on Saturday, and isn't overconfident. But he does believe that Khan is very beatable, and that his only career loss against Breidis Prescott has a key, despite being just 54 seconds in length.
"That minute with Prescott was enough for me. Of course, we've been doing our homework, we watched that fight, the fights after that. The cover-up from that fight was matchmaking, to me," said Peterson.
"From that point, there was no more taller fighters. Everyone was shorter. So I took a lot from that fight. You can say it's a fluke, and you can get hit with one shot. Anyone can go out with one shot. But I did see a technical flaw in that fight that I still see now."
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Peterson also gave his thoughts on the HBO co-feature, a heavyweight fight featuring American hope Seth "Mayhem" Mitchell in a nice step-up fight with dangerous Timur Ibragimov.
"That's a really tough fight. I know both guys well. I just think at this point, Seth Mitchell is the younger, fresher fighter, and I think that that will be the reason why he wins the fight," said Peterson.
"But expect a good fight, a really good heavyweight fight. They're heavyweights and normally heavyweights don't throw a lot of punches, but both of these guys throw punches like middleweights. It's gonna be a high action fight."
In addition to his fight and the co-feature that will precede him on HBO, Peterson was asked about last night's Cotto vs Margarito fight, and said that he didn't stay up to watch it, instead choosing to get his rest, but that he was happy when he learned of the result
"I definitely think that he cheated when he fought Cotto, so I was just hoping Cotto would [get revenge]. I was just happy to hear that Cotto won the fight, and that he won it easy."
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As for whether or not he feels Margarito had loaded gloves in his 2008 stoppage of Cotto, Peterson said that he feels Margarito did, indeed, cheat to win in that fight -- and that most fighters feel the same way.
"Most boxers feel that he did. I just know that, as far as the people I talk to, some things didn't make sense with him. Normally you can tell when somebody punches hard. And normally when they come that slow, and he's not heavy-handed anything, normally punches don't do that much damage. It made sense why he had that much confidence in the later rounds [in previous fights]," said Peterson, referencing Margarito's fights with not just Cotto, but Paul Williams, in which Margarito came on very strong at the end after struggling early, and Sebastian Lujan, in which Margarito nearly tore off Lujan's ear with a right hand in 2005.
"When they caught him, it made sense to me," he added.