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Khan aims to move from Peterson saga
Newly-reinstated WBA champion Amir Khan believes victory in Saturday's light-welterweight unification clash with Danny Garcia will help him move on from what he describes as the worst six months of his career.
Khan endured a "devastating" spell as he lost his WBA and IBF titles in a surprise defeat by Lamont Peterson last December. Ahead of a rematch, Peterson tested positive for banned synthetic testosterone, before admitting he had already used it before their first fight in December, albeit for medical reasons.
Although robbed of a chance to avenge the defeat, Khan's bitterness has been eased by the news that the WBA have stripped the title from Peterson and strapped it around his own waist once more. "It was the hardest six months of my career," Khan told Press Association Sport ahead of Saturday's bout with WBC champion Garcia in Las Vegas.
"Straight after the fight I was devastated because I'd lost the fight and I was so upset. Then when I got into the camp I was so happy that I'd got the rematch, because even that was so hard to negotiate. I agreed to whatever they said.
"He was making his biggest pay-day in that fight. It was a 50-50 split and he was making something like £1.5million. It's a lot of money. He then got caught. He must be kicking himself because even if he'd lost the rematch, he still would have made that sum. It's a lot of money for a guy brought up off the streets. It would have changed his life.
"But look at me, I've got another fight. People kind of thought 'wait a minute, Amir really did win that fight, because Peterson was on steroids and he was a cheat'.
"That respect he had is totally gone. Even if he'd knocked me out in that fight and then got caught, people would not have respected him for the win. Once you take drugs, you're a cheat."
Khan welcomed the WBA's announcement that he will go into the fight with WBC king Garcia as a title-holder himself. The bout has been given added prestige by the presence of two recognised world titles and, importantly, the respected Ring Magazine belt which is awarded to fighters regarded as the best in their division.
"I'm glad the WBA are reinstating me as champion again," Khan said. "It means I walk into this fight as world champion and the WBC title is on the line but not only that, the Ring magazine title will be on the line as well. It means this fight will really show who is the best fighter in the 140lb division and it will show I'm the best."