Lamont Peterson has declared that he will be "ready to die" in the ring, in order to to keep his belts, when he meets Britain's Amir Khan in a Las Vegas world title rematch on 19 May.
The American, who took Khan's WBA super-lightweight and IBF light-welterweight belts in a controversial split points decision in Washington DC in December, told a televised news conference yesterday that he was already in training for the rematch. Peterson said he had accepted the fight because the fans wanted it, not because of pressure from Khan or any feeling that he had to prove himself.
"It seems like Team Khan still have problems over what happened in DC, I can only tell them that nothing shady happened in DC but I'm pretty sure they won't take my word on it," said the 28-year-old American.
Khan's camp criticised the referee of the DC fight, Joseph Cooper for docking him two points for pushing. They also questioned the presence of a "mystery man", wearing a hat, who was seen on television talking to a ringside judge. The man was later identified as Mustafa Ameen, an IBF volunteer helping needy boxers, who denied interfering with scorecards. The WBA ordered a rematch, however.
Peterson, who has a 30-1-1 record, said: "I want to tell Team Khan you all have your chance to make things right. I'm looking forward to a good fight. I'll be training just as hard as you. You say your training camp started two weeks before you normally do. Well, I've been training since that day we stepped out of the ring. So I'll be prepared and ready, ready to die in that ring to keep these titles."
David Itskowitch, the chief operations officer for Golden Boy Promotions, said the fight was being billed as "No Doubt" because both men wanted to leave no doubt about who was the champion.
Khan, speaking in London, said: "In my eyes, the fight was the best fight of 2011. It was toe-to-toe action and exciting. But for this fight, we're going to change a lot of things. I'll train hard and am not going to make any mistakes at all. It's a huge fight, a winnable fight.
"I made a few mistakes in the first fight but I still felt I won it. It was tough and the next one will be even tougher because we know what to expect from each other. I've started training early for this fight, I wanted to get back in the gym and get into shape. I'm going to meet Freddie [Roach, his trainer] next week to train at the Wildcard Gym [in Los Angeles] and then go to the Philippines for high-altitude training.
"I always train like a challenger and I want to bring those titles back to Britain. We'll see a different Amir Khan for this fight. I'll be explosive, as always, and maybe this fight can be one of the fights of the year too."