Lamont Peterson says he’s "ready to die" in the ring to defend his WBA and IBF light-welterweight titles against British challenger Amir Khan in a rematch of their disputed fight last year.
Khan lost both belts in a split-decision loss to the American on Dec. 10. But he complained about the referee’s decision to deduct two points for pushing and the presence of an unauthorized man at ringside seen distracting an official.
They will fight May 19 in Las Vegas.
Peterson says Khan’s complaints took the shine off his victory and his opponent ”has to accept he’s not the champ anymore.”
The two fighters appeared before the press Tuesday in London to promote the rematch.
“I’ll let my mind do the work when we fight this time,” Peterson said, according to The Telegraph. “I don’t believe this fight is make or break for me, but I definitely want to win the fight. . . .
"I’ve been training ever since our last fight, so I’m prepared. And I’m ready to die in that ring to keep my titles.
"I don’t feel disrespected by what Khan has said, to be honest I don’t really know how I feel about it. Regardless of what he says I am now the champion and I intend to keep the belts."
The WBA ordered a rematch in the wake of Kahn’s complaints.
“I have a lot of respect for Lamont Peterson after the December fight," Kahn said, according to The Telegraph. "It was one of the best fights of 2011 and, in my eyes, the most exciting. We were toe to toe, and I know the fans found it a very exciting fight.
"I am not going to make the same mistakes as I did in the fight. I’ve watched it back, and it hurts me to watch it because I still think I won it.”