After their first meeting Dec. 10 ended in controversy with questionable officiating and judging, there was no way Lamont Peterson was going to be allowed to fight Amir Khan again in Peterson's hometown of Washington, D.C.
But Peterson, the IBF and WBA junior welterweight champion who won the titles that night with a 12-round split decision, might have gotten a huge break when the May 19 rematch with Khan landed at Mandalay Bay Events Center.
Las Vegas is a long way from D.C., but it's a lot closer than the United Kingdom, where Khan is from and where he wanted the rematch.
"I'm happy with the terms of the fight," Peterson said Friday. "It's at a neutral site, and when I beat him this time, he won't have anything to complain about."
The 28-year-old Peterson (30-1-1, 15 knockouts) said that while being champion allows him a certain amount of latitude on whom he fights, it also carries the responsibility to give an opponent a rematch. The fact the IBF ordered the rematch also might have had something to do with influencing Peterson's decision to fight the 25-year-old Khan again.
"I want everyone to know that as champion, it has always been up to me what fight to take next," Peterson said. "I was not persuaded by any of the controversy or anything else. I just want to be clear that I never said I wouldn't fight (Khan). But I wanted to take a look at everything that was out there before I made a decision."
Barry Hunter, who manages and trains Peterson, said his fighter would have loved to have been in a megafight with Manny Pacquiao. But Peterson has no problem giving Khan (26-2, 18 KOs) a rematch, which will be televised on HBO.
"I was extremely proud of Lamont with respect to this process," Hunter said. "He took his time and looked at all his options, and this was the best option available."
Hunter said he expects the rematch to be just as hard-fought as their first meeting.
"Our preparation will be the same," Hunter said. "We'll be ready for the challenge."
■ SILVER GLOVES CHAMPS -- Two local boxers won national championships at the Feb. 4 Silver Gloves tournament at Independence, Mo.
Destiny Diaz, 11, who fights out of Richard Steele's Boxing Club, won gold in the girls 75-pound division. Ju Ju Butay-Fillon, 11, who competes for Barry's Boxing, captured the title in the boys 105-pound weight class.
■ STAR POWER -- As expected, Saturday's "Power of Love" gala at the MGM Grand Garden honoring Muhammad Ali's 70th birthday will bring out the stars. The fundraising event, which will benefit the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and the Muhammad Ali Center, will include performances and tributes from musicians, entertainers and athletes.
Stevie Wonder, John Legend, Lenny Kravitz, Sammy Hagar, Sean Combs, Snoop Dogg, Cee Lo Green, and Kelly Rowland have committed to perform. Local magic legends Siegfried & Roy and David Copperfield also will be on hand. Actors Samuel L. Jackson, James Gandolfini and Chazz Palminteri will participate in the tributes to Ali.
Among the athletes scheduled to attend are tennis Hall of Famers Andre Agassi and wife Steffi Graf, football legend Jim Brown, soccer star David Beckham, mixed martial arts great Randy Couture and boxing legends Sugar Ray Leonard, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Thomas Hearns and Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini. Former Ali foes Ken Norton, George Foreman, Leon Spinks, Earnie Shavers, George Chuvalo and Chuck Wepner also are taking part in the ceremonies.
Highlights from the event will be shown at 2 p.m. Feb. 25 on KTNV (Channel 13) and will re-air that day at 7 p.m. on ESPN2 (Cable 31).
Contact reporter Steve Carp at email@example.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.