Khan vs. Peterson- This won’t be a walk in the park for Amir!
By Colm Hutchinson: On Saturday night Washington DC will host its first major fight in a few years between reigning Light Welterweight Super Champion, Amir Khan, and the IBF No.1 contender, Lamont Peterson. On paper, it seems that Khan will be too fast and too smart for Peterson, yet this writer sees it being a fairly difficult night for Amir as Peterson has shown
improvements lately that I think have gone unnoticed by the general public.
I just watched Peterson vs Cayo and have picked out a few things that Amir will have to contend with if he is to win this fight. Lamont showed against Cayo, a nice tight guard in defense and excellent timing to catch Cayo after he threw his punches. He also was far stronger superior on the inside and Amir is certainly not known for his inside skills, instead favoring grabbing or pushing his opponent off to get back on the outside and set up his flurries.
Peterson is also roughly the same size as Khan and stated that he much prefers taller fighters than shorter ones such as Bradly or Ortiz. Peterson doesn’t have great power but he has enough to keep Khan on his toes and he is also pretty fast with his combinations, and I would argue more accurate than Khan who generally has a pretty low connect rate despite the large volume of punches he throws.
However, Peterson does have some weaknesses that Khan should be able to expose if he sticks to Roach’s game plan. He can be caught quite easily by the straight right hand and he doesn’t seem to fight so well moving backwards. Bradley showed this by constantly pushing forward and pressuring him and Ortiz had lots of success in the early rounds using this tactic. However, in the later rounds, Ortiz started backing up and Lamont began to land more often and eventually pulled out a semi-controversial draw. Similarly, Peterson was the aggressor against Cayo and showed much more quality when fighting on the front foot.
In this fight, I think Khan will be the aggressor, constantly circling Lamont, using his stiff double jab to set up his combos. How Lamont reacts to this will determine the outcome of the fight. If he stands his ground and tries to take over the exchanges by timing his counter and attacking immediately after, then he has a good chance as Khan is also a fighter that doesn’t do so well moving backwards. Yet, if he sits back and only tries to counter, Khan will start to connect and will gain in confidence leading to a wide points win or possible late KO. Peterson’s high guard also leaves him open to the body and Khan has a very powerful left hook that will cause damage if he connects.
The other factor I think will be if Peterson can get close to Khan and drag him into an inside battle. Lamont has proven to be strong in this scenario and inside work is not how Khan likes to engage. If Lamont can back Khan up and land some blows he can hurt him, especially in the later rounds. Khan’s constant movement means he can tire in the last 3 or 4 rounds and Lamont has good stamina.
Unfortunately for Peterson, I don’t think Khan will get sucked into an inside battle. Look for him tie Lamont up when they clash inside prompting the ref to call a break or for Khan to simply push Lamont off and taking a few steps back to get out of inside range.
I see this as a fairly close fight and not the walk in the park that many are predicting. I think the early exchanges will be cagey as both fighters feel each other out and try to establish their game plans. In the middle rounds I think Khan will start to connect more and become more confident with his combinations which could lead to a late stoppage. However, a 12 round decision would also come as no surprise.
Khan is fighting in Peterson’s hometown which could be a factor when judging the close rounds. While I don’t like to consider judges when predicting a fight outcome, unfortunately, it has been happening all too often lately (Chisora vs Helenius being the most recent example) and should be taken into consideration. Khan may needs to win rounds convincingly to ensure he doesn’t get robbed, yet, I suppose the opposite could also be true. Khan is Golden Boy’s next big hope and is the champion, so it could be Lamont who needs to leave the judges in no doubt..
I think we are in for an intriguing battle from two similar fighters. In the end we will know whether Peterson has what it takes to be considered a top fighter in the division, or if Khan is really ready to be considered for mega fights against P4P fighters.
I welcome your comments……