LOS ANGELES — When Michael Buffer boomed out Lamont Peterson’s name Saturday night, officially awarding Peterson a pair of junior welterweight titles and ending Amir Khan’s reign atop the 140-pound division, the first person I thought of was Tim Bradley. Bradley, of course, has had a very public back and forth with Khan over the last year, one that intensified when Bradley passed on a $1.8 million payday to fight Khan last summer. Still, I was interested in getting Bradley’s thoughts on his archrival losing to Peterson, whom Bradley destroyed over 12 rounds in an alphabet title fight in 2009.
“I thought the fight went exactly as I thought it would,” Bradley said. “Peterson can box but he likes to bang and brawl. He attacked the body the same way he did with me. He looked a little more confident though. He said he wasn’t mentally ready when he fought me. He said he was a little nervous. He looked more comfortable, like he was ready to be there.”
The ending was controversial, of course, because referee Joe Cooper deducted two points from Khan for pushing. The deductions proved to be the difference in the fight. While Khan protested the referee’s calls, Bradley says they were fair.
“Review the tape, see how many times Khan pushed and shoved Peterson,” Bradley said. “He was pushing him and trying to get space. The ref warned him. He took action. The ref did his job. A foul is a foul.”
Bradley said he had no sympathy for Khan getting a raw deal in Peterson’s hometown.
“It was in D.C., you allowed that to happen,” Bradley said. “You should look at your promoter and say, ‘You set me up.’ Khan goes to Vegas and he does five or six thousand fans. In D.C. there was about nine thousand. That’s more money for the promoter. They thought it was going to be safe but when you go into someone’s hometown, you take a risk. I know when I fight, I look at who is going to be the judge, the ref, everything. Khan has himself and his team to blame. What they did was arrogant and stupid. You are the No. 1 guy at 140 pounds and you allow that to happen? I’ve been saying Amir needs to focus on Lamont and not me and Floyd [Mayweather]. Now he lost his belts.”
Bradley says he has been taking some time off since his win over Joel Casamayor last month but plans to get back in the gym next month. He is waiting for word on a fight with Manny Pacquiao — he is believed to be one of Top Rank promoter Bob Arum’s top choices as a possible opponent should negotiations for a megafight with Mayweather fall apart — but he won’t wait forever. He says he is still open to fighting anyone, including Peterson, who does not owe Khan a mandatory rematch.
“That would be a good fight, a tough fight,” Khan said. “Peterson, now that he has those belts, it is going to be hard to take them from him. It’s definitely a challenge that I would love to face. He’s a guy who can make an exciting fight. It would be a tough fight, but I believe it is a winnable.”
– Chris Mannix, SI.com