Peterson (30-1-1, 15 knockouts) has not fought since scoring a victory via split decision over heavily-favored Amir Khan on Dec. 10, 2011, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. In claiming the IBF and World Boxing Association belts in a seminal yet somewhat controversial triumph, the District native appeared positioned for a promising and financially lucrative future in the sport entering his scheduled rematch against Khan.
But less than two weeks before the May 19 multimillion dollar bout in Las Vegas, Peterson failed a urine test the Las Vegas-based Voluntary Anti-Doping Association administered as part of the agreement between the camps to allow for random Olympic-style drug testing.
“I feel like I’ve got some things to prove,” said Peterson, who also revealed during the news conference at his Bald Eagle boxing facility in Southwest Washington that he has signed a deal with Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions that will take effect after his match with Holt. “I know I can fight. I know Kendall’s going to come and fight. This is pretty much probably his last chance. With me I’m looking forward to moving to bigger fights.”
In acknowledging the positive test May 9, Peterson’s team maintained the testosterone was organic and intended for medicinal purposes only and not as a performance enhancer. The fighter’s team filed paperwork to that effect to the Nevada Athletic Commission, which denied Peterson a license to fight in the state and forced cancellation of the rematch.
The WBA stripped Peterson, 28, of the title and reinstated Khan as the champion. Khan, who’s also a member of Golden Boy’s stable of top-level 140-pounders, went on to lose to Danny Garcia in a fourth-round knockout July 14 in a unification bout that came together only because the Peterson-Khan rematch was scrapped.
The IBF subsequently ruled in August that Peterson would be permitted to keep his title. The sanctioning body issued a statement indicating it had based its the decision on findings of an independent physician retained by the IBF who reviewed Peterson’s medical records.
While Peterson steps back in the ring after more than a year, Holt (28-5, 16 KOs) also will be coming off an extended layoff. The native of Paterson, N.J., has not fought since a second-round technical knockout of Tim Coleman March 16 in Cabazon, Calif. The former World Boxing Organization junior welterweight champion had surgery to repair tears in his labrum and rotator cuff in his right shoulder nearly five months ago and began training again in October.
The Peterson-Holt match will be televised live on ESPN2 as part of the network’s “Friday Night Fights” series.
“Of course we never like to lay off this long,” said Barry Hunter, who has trained Peterson for his entire boxing career. “This is the longest we’ve ever, in amateurs, have laid off, but nevertheless it’s all for a reason. I feel good about it. I definitely feel good about Lamont. His mind’s in a good place, and physically he’s in a good place.”