WBA and IBF Super Light Welterweight Champion, Amir Khan, heads across the Atlantic this weekend to take on American, Lamont Peterson, in his hometown of Washington DC.
Peterson has an impressive 29 wins from his 31-fight career to date, with a draw and a single defeat accounting for the other two bouts.
Khan, meanwhile, who is defending his titles, is also a fighter with a formidable record, with 26 wins from 27 fights, 18 of those by knock out and only one defeat. That loss came at the hands of big-hitting Colombian, Breidis Prescott, who sensationally knocked Khan out in the first round of the fight which took place in Manchester, UK in September 2008. A defeat that Khan says was "the best thing that ever happened to him."
Since the Prescott defeat, Khan switched trainers, moving to the Freddie Roach camp and has subsequently run up an impressive sequence of eight wins from eight fights, seven of those being world title fights, with only two going the distance.
As a student of Roach, comparisons are being drawn between Khan and Manny Pacquiao and many are suggesting that the British fighter has the ability to become every bit as good as the multiple world champion over the next few years.
Khan can take the next step towards the superstar status enjoyed by his sparring partner, Pacquiao, when he faces Peterson on Saturday.
The boxing odds make Khan overwhelming 1/10 (-1,000) favorite to win the fight with Peterson rated as the 7/1 (+700) underdog to win, despite the fact that he will be fighting in his hometown and will no doubt have huge, vociferous support on his side.
Khan would also do well to remember that Peterson and his brother Anthony, also a boxer, are regarded by many in Washington as local folk heroes after their awful upbringing was revealed some years ago on TV, so the fight may not be as easy as the lines suggest but Khan will surely set out to silence the locals early on.
That said, Peterson is going to need more than the crowd to defeat Khan, who under the guidance of Roach, has developed a huge work-rate and is a lot stronger and fitter.
Peterson would worry Khan if he can somehow manage to take him out of his comfort zone, make him fight when he doesn’t want to and take him on at the end of each round. This would be a very important tactic for Peterson to adopt as Khan has become a master at stealing close rounds by stepping up his game for the last 30 seconds. He is a very accurate double-handed puncher, who not only can hurt opponents, he can render them helpless.
Peterson will also need to bring his best shots along with him, because as proven by Prescott, Khan has a chin described as "glass" if hit with timing and it is the 25-year-old's Achilles heel.
Khan has to be congratulated for his resilience in recent fights where he has withstood plenty of big shots which in the past would have put him on the canvas.
Not only is Khan able to withstand battering, he also proved in his title fight against Marcos Maidana 12 months ago that he can come back from one too.
Despite fighting in front of his home crowd, it would seem, on paper at least, that Peterson is one of the weaker opponents that Khan has faced in the last couple of years. The American will test him on occasions but it will be Khan that wins the fight with ease, probably by stoppage or knockout by Round 5.
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