Hunter was supposed to meet with HBO officials on Jan. 9 in New York when he had to postpone the trip because his 82-year-old mother was ailing, he said. The next day, he read quotes from Khan’s manager, “as if we agreed to a rematch.”
“They said they had met with HBO and I was supposed to be there,” Hunter said. “I thought I was just meeting with HBO myself that day. I’m probably lucky I didn’t go. As Vito Corleone said, ‘At that meeting, you will be assassinated.’ I know I was going to be pressured into accepting the rematch.”
Reached Saturday morning, Schaefer said: “Look, I don’t want to say anything anymore that’s going to hurt a possible rematch between Amir and Lamont. I will either [anger] Amir or Lamont and I don’t want to do that. I want everyone on the same page. I really hope this fight happens.”
His comments came a day after he said Khan was moving on without Peterson, who is weighing rival promoter Bob Arum’s latest proposal: a four-fighter box-off, in which Peterson would fight Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao would fight WBC 140-pound champion Timothy Bradley in April, with the winners meeting up sometime in the fall. (Floyd Mayweather is out of that picture, pending his June jail sentence on a domestic-violence plea.)
The good news: By as early as next week, the champ could agree to his first defense: either Marquez, a seasoned, if shopworn, action fighter who would give Peterson a bridge to a mega-payday with Pacquiao, or Khan-Peterson II, for which he will make more than $1 million, the largest payday of his career.
I would choose Khan for financial and emotional reasons. Flashy and personable, the Englishman is still a big draw. And he and his camp’s post-fight attitude has essentially been, Lamont was lucky we gave him a shot in Washington, where he got a hometown decision. We will take away his fleeting fame just as quickly as we gave it to him.
No politics. No appeals. No corporate strong-arming — just two superb fighters, trading punches once again before a howling crowd. Once Peterson knocks out Khan, which I believe he will, maybe by then he will be recognized and treated as a champion instead of a fighter in limbo still waiting by the mailbox for his WBA belt.
For Mike Wise’s previous columns, go to washingtonpost.com/wise.