The Pugilist

Peterson leaves Khan in limbo

Although Lamont Peterson's failed drug test is a reprieve of sorts for Amir Khan, it also leaves the British boxer struggling for career navigation.

Khan's loss to Peterson at the Washington Convention Center back in December was controversial enough at the time: Mustafa Ameen, the infamous 'man in the hat' who was seen going over the judge's scorecards with a WBA official before the hometown fighter took Khan's WBA and IBF light welterweight titles sparked outrage, particularly when pictured celebrating with the 'Havoc' camp after the decision.

The news earlier this month that Peterson had taken synthetic testosterone before the Khan fight without notifying the Nevada Athletic Commission added further fuel to the flames of the ire, but more importantly it scrapped the Mandalay Bay rematch planned for the weekend.

Even if Peterson's appeal next month culminates in the return of the belts to Khan and the blemish on the Brit's record being expunged, it just won't compare to redemption in the ring.

The next 24 months seemed to be all laid out for the lad from Bolton: win the rematch, enjoy the fruits of the gate generated from the whole drama, step up to 147lbs and work towards a 2013 collision with welterweight king Floyd Mayweather — after Mr. Money shakes off his jail time.

But the recent turn of events has left camp Khan scrambling for a replacement fight, and with the scrapping of the 'No Doubt' rematch coming too late for a replacement to be wheeled in, promoter Richard Schaefer will have to settle for a July card.

It has been made abundantly clear this week that target number one is Danny Garcia, undefeated WBC light welterweight champion (23-0). But though both parties are keen on the bout, at the time of writing an agreement is still some way off.

With the exception of citing Anaheim as the intended location and either July 7 or July 14 as the date, various financial obstacles remain - the biggest being the uncertainty over the WBA and IBF belts, leaving the gold mine of a unification fight billing up in the air.

Peterson has refused to hand the belts back, maintaining the innocence of his pellet usage due to a hip condition, no matter how dangerous the unauthorised use of testosterone is in combat sport. The upshot of the shambles could cost a pretty penny if the Garcia battle is green-lighted.

And then there's Mayweather. The Peterson cancellation has accelerated talk of Khan stepping up a weight to meet the WBC welterweight champion, perhaps even later this year.

But after watching Floyd's counter-punching clinic in defeating Miguel Cotto, combined with Khan's tendency to leave himself prone to the likes of Marcos Maidana's returns in 2010 suggest the Englishman remains three or four big tests away from taking anything more than a decent payday from arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter going.

Devon Alexander and Erik Morales — who lost an engrossing UD to Garcia in March — have also been underscored as potential opponents for Khan in the summer, while the proverbial crossroads has even triggered an interest from Dmitriy Salita, despite the Ukrainian losing to Khan in just 74 seconds in 2009.

It's easy to feel that Peterson is getting his just desserts after the controversy of the December title match and the drug test revelations. But pending Khan's next move, the lack of a Vegas rematch this weekend could end up costing both men dearly.