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Amir Khan's Next Fight: If Peterson Won't Rematch, Who Does Khan Fight?

Amir Khan may get a rematch with Lamont Peterson, but what if he doesn't? (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Amir Khan may get a rematch with Lamont Peterson, but what if he doesn't? (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Golden Boy sent out a press release this evening explaining their decision this afternoon to withdraw their appeal with the IBF regarding the December fight between Amir Khan and Lamont Peterson:

Due to the fact that there was only to be partial representation of fight officials who were involved with the December 10, 2011 Amir Khan vs. Lamont Peterson bout at tomorrow's scheduled appeal hearing of the fight's outcome before the International Boxing Federation (IBF), Golden Boy Promotions and Team Khan have decided to withdraw their appeal and focus their full attention on Amir's next fight.

Golden Boy Promotions and Team Khan are pleased to have been vindicated by the World Boxing Association's (WBA) recent decision to mandate an immediate rematch and still hope that Mr. Peterson will honor earlier statements in which he asserted that he would be happy to agree to a rematch. In that vein, Golden Boy Promotions and Team Khan would agree to a 50/50 split of worldwide revenues derived from a rematch (including those derived from the United Kingdom) should Mr. Peterson agree to participate and hope that this will be both financially and professionally satisfying to Mr. Peterson and his team.

Khan and Golden Boy offering a 50-50 split with Peterson may not seem fair, but life isn't fair and boxing isn't close. Like it or not, Amir Khan is still worth more money in this situation, and giving a 50-50 split of UK revenue means that Peterson will undoubtedly make his best payday ever should he choose to fight Khan in a rematch.

Peterson can make very good money against Khan in a rematch. But while just a few weeks ago it appeared Khan would be the No. 1 money option for Peterson, that may no longer be true. Even if the WBA were to strip Peterson of his belt, the IBF appears to have no intention of doing so, and it doesn't look like Golden Boy will continue to pursue a rematch through them. So Peterson could vacate the WBA belt (someone would have stripped him of a title eventually anyway for not fighting a lame mandatory or something) and go fight someone like Tim Bradley or Juan Manuel Marquez, both of which appear to be legitimate possibilities.

[ Related: WBA Orders Rematch ]

On the flip side of that, this could allow Khan to fight for the vacant WBA belt. Here's the kicker: That allows Khan to get a belt back, get a win, and not have to fight Peterson again. Peterson gave Khan all he could handle and then some. And Khan won't have to fight Marcos Maidana again either, as Maidana is moving up to welterweight to face Devon Alexander in February.

Khan likely will return in March, probably in the UK. If it's not Peterson, and he does go for the vacant WBA title, there are options:

  1. Johan Perez (15-0-1, 12 KO): Perez, a 28-year-old Venezuelan, holds the interim title right now, which he received with a win over Fernando Castaneda on December 10. That's right: On the same night that Khan defended his SUPER CHAMPIONSHIP!!!!!, the WBA sanctioned an interim title fight, while Marcos Maidana still held the regular belt. Someone in boxing needs to learn what the word "interim" means. Perez is currently the No. 1-ranked challenger, with Khan at No. 2.
  2. Brunet Zamora (21-0-2, 10 KO): Zamora, 37, is an Italian also-ran who fought in October...for the interim WBA title. You're not reading this wrong and I'm not making typos. There was another goddamn interim title, but since it wasn't decided between Zamora and Alberto Mosquera (they drew over 12), they just made up a new one for the Perez vs Fernando Castaneda fight. Anyway, Zamora's ranked fourth.
  3. Humberto Soto (57-7-2, 34 KO): The WBA has him ranked third because, you know, why not? This may be nothing, but Soto is planning a return for March, and his team is talking about a potential fight against a highly-ranked opponent on a Golden Boy card. Soto's ultimate goal is fighting Erik Morales for the WBC belt at 140, and at this point he's hoping Old Man Terrible holds up through a fight with Danny Garcia, which Morales definitely might lose, and then a fight with Ajose Olusegun (if the WBC actually enforced that).

Khan vs Soto? Not likely, but I suppose possible. Khan vs Peterson II still seems like it makes sense overall, but Peterson may get a better offer, and that would be fair enough, just business as anyone does it in boxing.

The thing is, without a Peterson rematch, Khan doesn't have a lot of big options right now unless the world is semi-shocked and he fights Floyd Mayweather on May 5. Tim Bradley is with Top Rank, so he's out. Juan Manuel Marquez doesn't want to fight Khan. Most of the other top names at 140 are busy. There's still a Breidis Prescott rematch out there for him, or he could test the waters at 147, the best he could do there in March being Jan Zaveck.

As much as Khan does bring to the table for a Peterson rematch, Khan needs it worse than Peterson does right now.

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