Seven-month layoff doesn’t curtail Cayo’s quest for title

Victor Cayo last fought Dec. 29. But to the junior welterweight from the Dominican Republic, it seems like forever since he stepped into the ring.

Cayo has recovered from a right shoulder injury and is ready to resume his quest for a world title. In what might be the biggest fight of his career, he will meet Lamont Peterson in the 12-round main event Friday at the Cosmopolitan’s Chelsea Ballroom, with the winner getting a mandatory shot at Amir Khan’s IBF junior welterweight title.

“This is my time,” Cayo said through an interpreter Wednesday. “I plan to be a world champion soon.”

Cayo (26-1, 16 knockouts) and Peterson (28-1-1, 14 KOs) originally were to meet April 29. But the 26-year-old Cayo, who initially hurt the shoulder in March, aggravated the injury during a sparring session and had to stop training.

“Thank God all is well with me now,” he said. “But that’s boxing. Things happen. I didn’t plan for it to be this way. I’m not used to not fighting for this long. I like to stay busy.”

Once Cayo recovered, there were plans for his fight with the 27-year-old Peterson to be at Mandalay Bay as part of Saturday’s undercard of the Khan-Zab Judah fight. But Golden Boy Promotions wanted Cayo to commit to them long term, and he wasn’t prepared to leave his promoter, Leon Margules of Seminole Warriors Boxing.

“It’s no big deal,” he said of losing out on a chance to be on HBO. “I was going to be the co-main event last Saturday. Now, I get to headline on ESPN, so I’m good with that.”

Cayo-Peterson will be televised on ESPN2 as part of its “Friday Night Fights” series. And Cayo, the IBF’s No. 3-ranked junior welterweight, says it means getting closer to a title shot.

“To get that chance to fight Amir Khan would be tremendous,” he said. “That would mean the world to me, and I hope we get the chance to meet because I know I can beat him. But I must beat Lamont Peterson first.”

Despite not having fought in seven months, Cayo said he has stayed busy in the gym — except for the few weeks he took off because of the shoulder injury.

“I’ve been training a lot,” he said. “I don’t think it will be a problem not having fought since December. My team has done a great job in getting me ready for this fight. I had great sparring, and training alongside (world middleweight champion) Sergio Martinez has taught me a lot about how to train and act like a champion. His discipline is contagious.”

Cayo hopes his second visit to Las Vegas turns out better than his first. On March 27, 2010, he fought for the interim WBA junior welterweight title at the Hard Rock Hotel against Marcos Maidana.

It was a tough night for Cayo, who claims he was hit in the back of the head numerous times by Maidana before being knocked out in the sixth round.

“I don’t want to make excuses, but Maidana was a dirty fighter,” Cayo said. “But I’m past that now, and I’m a better fighter than I was last year.”

Cayo said he won’t have any excuses against Peterson, ranked No. 4 by the IBF.

“I’ve seen some of his fights, and he’s a good fighter,” Cayo said. “But I believe I’m quicker and I’m stronger, and that’s why I will win.”

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.

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