Junior welterweights Lamont Peterson and Zab Judah, ranked number 4 and 6 respectively, are likely to face each other for the IBF crown. Peterson’s manager and trainer, Barry Hunter, won the purse bid for Peterson vs. Judah with a minimum bid (there were no other bids) and the right to promote a match between his fighter and Judah, the mandatory challenger.
Twenty-eight-year-old Peterson (30-1-1, 15 KOs) is the current IBF titleholder. Judah, who’ll turn 35 this month, is a former welterweight and junior welterweight champ and has a record of 42 (29)-7. He’s coming off a March victory over Vernon Paris, whom he TKO’d in the ninth. Peterson last fought in December 2011, winning the WBA and IBF belts from Amir Khan. Prior to a planned rematch, Peterson failed a drug test and Khan had his WBA title reinstated (which he lost to Danny Garcia in July).
This is just one boxing fan and writer’s opinion, but I deem it a disgrace that the IBF didn’t strip Peterson of their title. Peterson can take a spinach leaf out of Popeye’s book any time he wants, but taking a drug with the intention of giving himself a grossly unfair advantage over his opponent is a different kettle of testosterone. The IBF’s course of action was a cynical wink and a nod, consisting of having an “independent” doctor spout a lot of high-sounding, quasi-medical gobbledygook.
The bottom line: The added levels of testosterone “would not have enhanced Lamont Peterson’s training for or performance during the bout on Dec. 10, 2011 [Khan’s loss of the fight and his titles], nor for his training for the [rematch] that was scheduled for May 19, 2012”. Oh yeah? And have I got a bridge for you. Name your price. Hmmm, I wonder if anyone at the IBF has said that lately.
So, instead of being stripped of his belt, Peterson is treated as a worthy titleholder. Here’s hoping that Judah wins the IBF belt from the oh so mysteriously better…stronger…faster Lamont Peterson. It’s a position that Zab hasn’t found himself in very often throughout his career. Suddenly, he’s the good guy, fighting to restore order and a sense of justice to the boxing realm. Let’s see if he can pull off the role reversal with success.