Boxing: Amir Khan to focus on Peterson, not think about potential Mayweather bout
Amir Khan admits he can not afford to let thoughts of a potential blockbuster fight with Floyd Mayweather distract him ahead of his upcoming contest against Lamont Peterson.
Khan announced today that he will defend his WBA and IBF light-welterweight titles against American Peterson at the Washington Convention Center on December 10.
While Peterson is considered a reasonably established boxer after losing just once in 31 fights, the bout is not exactly on a par with the mega-fight against the unbeaten Mayweather which Khan has targeted for next year.
The Bolton fighter admits Mayweather is his number one target, with next summer being pencilled in as the date that the two could meet, most likely in the United States.
But the 24-year-old is also keen not to let the thought of a potential multi-million pound blockbuster with Mayweather distract him from his last fight at light-welterweight.
Khan fell victim to the hype that surrounded him earlier in his career with talk of domestic match-ups with Kevin Mitchell and John Murray distracting him to the point where he lost his focus and was knocked out by Breidis Prescott in 54 seconds.
The Prescott loss is the only defeat of Khan’s career and he is keen for it to stay that way.
“I have ambitions and one of them is to fight Floyd Mayweather and beat him, but I have got Lamont Peterson to beat first,” Khan told Press Association Sport.
“I know I have to focus on this one fight because one mistake can change your life and I don’t want that to happen.
“Before (the Prescott fight) I never trained that hard. I was only looking at the big names and the big fights but you have to remember there are fighters you have to take on first before you get those big fights and I just didn’t take it seriously then.
“I can’t mistake that mistake again. This time I will be 100% serious.”
Khan will begin training for the fight with coach Freddie Roach in the Wild Card gym alongside Manny Pacquiao on Monday. With a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight seeming more unlikely than ever, Khan has the undefeated welterweight champion in his sights.
“After Lamont I will move up to fight at 147lbs (welterweight). I will have one more fight at 147 and then fight Floyd. This time next year could be the big fight for me,” Khan added.
The Briton successfully defended his titles against Zab Judah in his last fight in Las Vegas and his bout against Peterson will be his third in the States.
Promoters Golden Boy hope the 12,000-capacity arena will sell out, while Khan’s camp are confident that more than 4,000 Britons will cross the Atlantic for the fight.
With Peterson being from Washington, Khan will be braced for a hostile atmosphere - but the Olympic silver medalist thinks the trip will be worth it to boost his image Stateside.
“I don’t want to fight just in England or Vegas. I want to fight all over the world. I want to be a global star,” Khan said. “Cracking America is very important to me really because I have always said I want to be a global star and to do that you have to win good and win with style.”
Peterson’s only defeat of his career came against Timothy Bradley two years ago. The American thinks the fact both fighters have tasted defeat in their careers makes the showdown an exciting prospect.
“We both know what it feels like to lose and we definitely don’t want to lose again,” Peterson said. “We both want to win this fight badly.”
Khan has predicted the fight will be a technical duel, but Peterson has warned the Briton to expect a scrap instead.
“I like to box but I don’t mind getting in there and mixing it up,” Peterson added. “I think it will come to a point in this fight where we will just be fighting. All skills will go out the door. We will just be fighting all-out. I like those fights.”