WBA and IBF light-welterweight champ Amir Khan takes on Lamont Peterson this evening knowing that a successful defence of his titles should open the door to a Hollywood bout with Floyd Mayweather that little bit wider.
Khan had been keen to unify the light-welterweight division, but following unsuccessful attempts to arrange fights with WBO champion Erik Morales and WBC holder Timothy Bradley, the Bolton scrapper has decided to shift his sights considerably higher, and attempt to become the sport’s first British best pound-for-pound fighter.
To become that he needs to step up a division to welterweight, and pit himself against the likes of current number one ‘Money’ Mayweather.
Fights like tonight’s Washington DC showdown with Peterson – who boasts a record of 29 wins (15 KO), 1 loss and 1 draw – are just the sort of bouts that will raise Khan’s profile Stateside and further his chances of the future lucrative contests that he craves.
But Khan, who is the firm favourite at 1/12, will know better than to look too far ahead and risk complacency creeping in before his contest against a fighter who has lost only once – to Timothy Bradley – and who shared a majority draw with Victor Ortiz before the Kansas southpaw went on to fight Mayweather.
Khan’s humbling first round loss to Breidis Prescott three years ago should ensure he never again takes an opponent lightly, and indeed Khan has already stated that he believes Peterson (7/1 to win) will pose a bigger threat than his last opponent Zab Judah.
Over half of Peterson’s wins have come via KO, with a handful of first-round knockouts to his name, so Khan will have to be wary of an early shock (Peterson to win in rounds 1-3 is 50/1). His defeat of Judah came in a fifth round knockout – Khan is 12/1 to repeat the same feat this evening.
Both boxers match up physically, Peterson boasting a longer reach despite being one inch shorter, though Khan is undoubtedly quicker and this should prove too much for the 27-year-old American in front of his home crowd.