At Friday's weigh-in for Lamont Peterson-Lucas Matthysse Saturday on Showtime, BoxingScene's David Greisman and I did some interviews on the fight itself, the topics in the headline, some upcoming bouts, the latest figure for Floyd Mayweather-Robert Guerrero pay-per-view sales and more. Read on for word from welterweight/Showtime commentator Paulie Malignaggi; upward-moving junior welterweight Amir Khan; and Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer.
Earlier this week, the welterweight contender had said in an interview that despite signing an agreement to get advanced drug testing via the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for his June bout with Adrien Broner, testing had not yet begun.
"They started testing me the next day," Malignaggi said Friday. Had they read the article? "I don't know. I didn't ask them. They're just, like, robots who show up and say, 'pee here, blood here.' They read you a bunch of instructions."
Malignaggi said that he had hoped to use the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association but Golden Boy told him that wasn't an option; Golden Boy turned its back on VADA over its handling of drug testing for the scuttled Peterson-Khan rematch. Malignaggi said he preferred VADA based on articles he'd read about the USADA testing for Broner's bout with DeMarco that was supposed to happen but did not.
Schaefer, asked to comment on drug testing for that fight and the lack of an advanced testing agreement for Peterson-Matthysse, offered: "I am not in the drug testing business. I don't want to be in it. It's not my job. My job is to put fights together. It's unfortunate that fighters feel the need for extra drug testing and I hope that the authorities which do regulate boxing are hearing the fighters cry for additional drug testing. I support additional drug testing, but it cannot be the promoters' responsibility."
As for the Broner fight itself, Malignaggi said he was very confident, having recently brought in Steve Forbes and Karim Mayfield for sparring. "We added Karim for physicality, Forbes for slickness," he said.
He's not about Broner as a welterweight, and not too impressed with him overall, he said. "I think a guy has to adjust me. I don't think a guy's style changes so much from moving up in weight," Malignaggi said. "I don't really anticipate him being very strong at all. I've been in with big punchers, so if he is I'm not worried about it. I don't think the whole puzzle of Adrien Broner is with his power, it's him fighting the opponents he's been fighting," adding that with Broner fighting "ESPN level opponents on HBO, you're going to look good."
The trash-talking for the bout, which has featured Broner calling up a former love interest of Malignaggi's during a news conference, only motivates him, Malignaggi said.
"I've always been a trash talker, but I kind of turned it down as I got older," Malignaggi said. "Someone like this, he brought it out of me."
The trash talking is helping build interest in the bout, he said. By contrast, Matthysse-Peterson is a "barnburner" on paper, but Matthysse and Peterson are quiet, nice types.
Khan, whose last fight was a narrow win at 142 pounds over Julio Diaz in which he had to get off the canvas, said he plans to move up to 147 to help both his punching power and punch resistance.
"I kill myself making 140, and what happens is I can't put the weight back on that quick," Khan said. "147 will be a natural weight for me. I walk around at 155. I knock my sparring partners down, knock people out at that weight. Maybe it's because I kill myself making weight."
Khan, whose punch resistance is a frequent source of criticism, also said he expects the weight to help him with that, too.
"It could help me big time. In sparring, I don't get put down. I've sparred the likes of [junior middleweight puncher Alfredo] Angulo, Manny Pacquiao, these big sparring partners and I've never been put down in sparring," Khan said. "It's only in the fight and the reason is because I'm killing myself making weight."
Schaefer said that the plan is to have Khan fight the winner of Saturday's Devon Alexander-Lee Purdy bout Dec. 7. Khan does figure as a potential opponent for Floyd Mayweather, especially since Mayweather has talked about holding a fight in the U.K., so Khan makes sense as someone after Mayweather's planned September bout, Schaefer said.
Khan is scouting Alexander but also watching his brother, Haroon, fight as a bantamweight on the Showtime undercard Saturday. He told Tha Boxing Voice in another interview that the advice he gave his brother was to "pick the right shots at the right time," and not to try too hard for the knockout; in Haroon's last bout, observers said he appeared overeager to make an impression. Khan also said it makes sense for him to have a welterweight belt that he could win off Alexander for some negotiation leverage with Mayweather, as well as to gain experience at the full 147-pound limit.
"My number one priority is to get the fight everyone is asking me about," Schaefer said. That used to be Mayweather-Pacquiao. "Now everybody's asking me, are you going to put together the Mayweather vs. Canelo fight?"
Although the trainers of Mayweather and junior middleweight Saul "Canelo" Alvarez have said Mayweather is insisting on a 147-pound limit for the bout, Schaefer said they don't know what they're talking about and couldn't.
"There were only two people in that room, nobody else — nobody, no trainers, no fathers, no brothers, no managers, no nobody," Schaefer said. "There was [Mayweather adviser] Al Haymon in the room and i was in the room. Unless there was like a mouse who knows how to speak or a fly who knows how to speak, it's impossible" for anyone to know what was said, Schaefer said.
"Al Haymon doesn't speak, as we all know, and I don't speak about this fight either. You guys are going to write about the fight and these rumors.. [and] the only thing we're going to achieve is what we all achieved together: The Mayweather-Pacquiao fight never happened because those stories came out and egos blew up."
Although there will never be a final number for the pay-per-vew buys for Mayweather vs. Robert Guerrero — a subject of debate between Schaefer, Showtime's Stephen Espinoza and some reporters — Schaefer said expects that based on estimates, it will end up at between 1,020,000 and 1,025,000 buys.
As for this weekend's Peterson-Matthysse main event, Schaefer said he hoped that the buzz from hardcore fans would spill out into a larger audience.
"I think it's a fight fan's fight, but I think it's going to be one of those fights when people watch it, they're going to start tweeting," Schaefer said. "And before you know, that fight will be trending on Twitter as must-see TV." He said he expects it to be the kind of bout that creates new boxing fans.
The fact that the fight is at 141 with no alphabet title on the line won't hurt the appeal, he said. "I haven't seen any outrage from fight fans because no belts are at stake," Schaefer said. "I think it's maybe more for the fighters than for the fans."
Some other bouts Schaefer said he was working on:
–Deontay Wilder's next bout won't be Dereck Chisora, in part because of a domestic violence arrest. "He had some legal issues he had to deal with, so it's not a good time for travel," Schaefer said. They're looking at Chisora later, or perhaps Tyson Fury or David Price sooner. Schaefer, quoting GBP's Oscar De La Hoya, said of Wilder, "We are ready to unleash the beast."
–Light heavyweight Bernard Hopkins's talk of fighting Carl Froch is real, Schaefer said, assuming Hopkins beats Karo Murat and Froch beats Mikkel Kessler in a rematch. After Schaefer wrapped up his interview with us, he wandered off with Matchroom's Barry Hearn, the company that promotes Froch.