Amir Khan exclusive: Peterson was juiced up and could have seriously damaged me
07:05 GMT, 11 May 2012
Amir Khan flies home to Bolton on Saturday giving thanks that he was neither killed nor maimed in what has become one of the most controversial fights in boxing history.
As even this hard old game recoiled in disgust from the sinister scale of Lamont Peterson's drugs cheating, Khan had this to say of the man who robbed him of his world titles: 'He could have destroyed my life.'
When I informed him that Peterson had a pellet of a synthetic steroid implanted in his hip before their December fight in Washington, Khan modified his initial response to the positive doping test which has forced the cancellation of next Saturday's grudge rematch in Las Vegas.
It's off: Sportsmail's chief boxing reporter Jeff Powell caught up with Amir Khan
'My first reaction was to say I would fight him anyway,' he said. 'Not that my father or my team would have let me, but I have put so much work into getting into the best shape I've ever been 10 days before a fight that I just wanted to go ahead and beat him no matter what he was taking. But I also felt terrible for all my fans back home who had saved up and spent good money on booking their trips to Vegas.
'Now I realise the danger I was in at the original fight. Peterson could have seriously damaged me. He could also have destroyed his own life. Because he was juiced up he took more punishment than was good for him and I don't think he's ever going to recover fully from an eye injury he sustained that night.
'He just wanted to win no matter what it took. And all he's done is ruined himself. He would have made a life-changing $1.6million from this fight. Now he's getting nothing – and I think he's finished at 28.
Vindicated: Khan claims he is in the best shape of his professional boxing career
'I certainly hope he is punished hard. He had no respect for me as a fellow fighter, for himself or for boxing.'
As we spoke here in Hollywood's fabled Wild Card gym, his trainer Freddie Roach recalled how Peterson's trainer, Barry Hunter, had taken in Lamont and his brothers as homeless waifs from the Washington streets and turned them into professional boxers.
Busted: Peterson failed a drugs test
Roach said: 'I used to have great respect for Hunter and sympathy for that story – but that's gone. If this boy had not been caught he might have killed Amir next week, or the next guy he fought.'
Khan's father, Shah, confirmed he would have forbidden his son to fight if Golden Boy Promotions and the Nevada State Athletic Commission had not decided to call off the fight, despite the economic cost.
The HBO television network here estimate their losses at more than $1m, while Golden Boy are out of pocket by more than $250,000.
The upside for Khan is that his insistence that he was cheated in Washington is now completely vindicated. The deduction of two points by the hometown referee for the minor offence of pushing and the apparent interfering with the scoring of the ringside judges by the mystery 'man in the hat' have been part of the suspicious narrative from the start. Now the pellet in the hip and even a disappearing urine sample are part of the case.
Khan explained: 'We both took a drugs test at the end but some guy just walked off into the night holding Peterson's sample and it's not been seen again.'
His father added: 'Now, at last, we know the full story of that fight and everything that was wrong.'
Khan took some criticism for complaining about the defeat which cost him his WBA and IBF world light-welterweight titles. He has his answer now: 'I had to make an issue of it because people thought I had lost fair and square, while I just knew something was wrong. In a way I'm glad the truth has come out and people can see that I was cheated.
'If this boy had not been caught he might have killed Amir next week, or the next boy he fought'Khan's trainer Freddie Roach
'Everyone wondered why I couldn't back Peterson up and had to push him off. Now we know the answer. He was stronger than he'd ever been because of the drugs. He went flat out for the whole fight and was hitting just as hard in the last round as the first. It didn't make sense. He's not that kind of fighter. I caught him with a lot of big shots but he just kept coming. Had he been clean I would have knocked him out, probably in the ninth when I had him rocking.'
That dodgy defeat is certain to be expunged from Khan's record, probably with the fight re-assessed as a no-contest. The likelihood is that the two championships will be declared vacant, with Khan nominated to fight the new No 1 contender Danny Garcia, the recent conqueror of veteran Mexican legend Erik Morales.
Khan says: 'I'd rather be given back the belts which were taken from me unfairly, then go into the ring as the champion rather than fight for vacant titles. I'm asking my team to put that to the WBA and IBF. But I'll beat Garcia either way.'
Fighting his corner: Khan speaks to his coach Freddie Roach
Roach agrees: 'If it's Garcia, Amir will be too fast and hard-punching for him. Whoever it is, we'll do this one more fight and then go up to welterweight to look for Floyd Mayweather. I see Floyd's legs beginning to go (at 35) and him slowing up a little. If we get him as early as December, Amir can beat him.
'The Washington fight is now in its proper perspective. In all the tapes of Peterson we had never seen him fight the way he did that night. I thought it was unreal… and it was.'
Peterson was trapped by an unannounced random dope test at the March press conference called to announce the rematch.
Khan says: 'Knowing what we know now I think he knew he'd been caught. They tested me, too. four times for this fight. But I had nothing to hide.'
Khan will return to action, probably in Las Vegas on June 30… vowing to tidy up the light-welter title mess left by Peterson.