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Peterson vs. Holt on February 22nd in Washington, DC

Kendall Holt lamont petersonBy Thomas Cowan: Lamont Peterson will be defending his IBF light welterweight title on February 22nd against Kendall Holt. As someone who loves boxing, I think allowing a drug cheat to keep his title is an absolute disgrace and sends out totally the wrong message to young boxers. Peterson was caught using synthetic testosterone after he fought Amir Khan in December 2011 and hasn’t fought since. The WBA stripped Peterson of his title and returned it to Khan but the IBF decided that it was fair for Peterson to boost his testosterone levels artificially without asking for permission from Khan or the sanctioning bodies.

Unlike some writers who make every excuse in the book for Peterson, purely because he’s American, I think it’s important to see the bigger picture here. By allowing Peterson to keep his title because the testosterone pellets were supposedly to boost his low testosterone level and put him on a level playing field with other fighters, the IBF are condoning cheating. It is not okay for a fighter to artificially enhance his body to put him on a level-playing field with other fighters. For example, look at at WBA/WBC champion Andre Ward, who fought Carl Froch in the same month as Peterson fought Khan. Ward is not a big puncher and will never be as strong as Froch no matter how hard he trains. Would it have been fair for Ward to use steroids to put him on a level playing field with Froch? Of course it wouldn’t. Ward used superior skill and tactics to beat Froch that night and that is what Peterson should be doing. If he really believed he was acting fairly he’d have declared that he was using testosterone pellets.

This isn’t just about Khan and to be honest, it’s not really Khan I feel sorry for because even though he was cheated, he got his title back and he’s still a multi-millionaire with many years in boxing ahead of him. However, no one knows how long Peterson’s been cheating for and he’s fought 31 other guys in his career who aren’t in Khan’s privileged position. For example, if Peterson was cheating when he fought Victor Cayo in their 2011 IBF title eliminator, then he’s robbed Cayo of a fight against Khan which would have given him biggest purse of his career and a shot at the IBF and WBA titles. This opportunity probably won’t come round again for Cayo and there’s many other fighters whose careers might well be in a much better state had they beaten Peterson.

If Kendall Holt knocks him out in a few weeks it won’t just be a victory for Holt, it will be a victory for boxing.

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