Peterson title defense still up in air as commission reviews drug test
The Nevada State Athletic Commission is still reviewing information relating to unified junior welterweight champion Lamont Peterson's positive test for a banned substance, executive director Keith Kizer told SI.com on Wednesday, a test result that has put Peterson's May 19 title fight with Amir Khan in jeopardy.
On Monday it was revealed that Peterson had tested positive in March "for consistent with the administration of an anabolic steroid such as testosterone" in a test administered by the Las Vegas-based Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency. Peterson's attorney, Jeff Fried, says Peterson took testosterone pellets last year on the recommendation of a doctor
According to a letter submitted to the commission by Dr. John A. Thompson, a copy of which was obtained by SI.com, Peterson was diagnosed with low testosterone after complaining of fatigue and difficulty concentrating.
"Upon obtaining the lab results, I was literally shocked to see Mr. Peterson's testosterone was so low," Thompson wrote. "His total testosterone measured 563 ng/dl, and the more important free testosterone was drastically low measuring 7.5 pg/ml. Free testosterone is what is more biologically available because it is unbound and able to act on the tissues. In my opinion free testosterone is the better standard for measuring testosterone levels in the body. I have never witnessed such a young athlete with so little available testosterone."
"Given the critical nature of this hormone for many important bodily functions and overall health and Mr. Peterson's severe deficiency, I made a medical decision to treat his condition. Mr. Peterson complained of ongoing fatigue and lack of mental focus. Since low testosterone levels can cause these symptoms, I felt that Mr. Peterson could possibly experience significant health problems without normalizing his testosterone level. I have measured the testosterone levels of many men, and I have never seen any male in good physical and mental health whose levels were not well within the normal range. As stated previously, Mr. Peterson's free testosterone was only 7.5. I have patients in their 70's and 80's with higher levels."
"To therapeutically treat Mr. Peterson's testosterone deficiency, I administered 800 mg of testosterone in the form of pellets which were inserted subcutaneously into his hip. These pellets deliver bioidentical testosterone derived from soy, not synthetic testosterone. When delivered via pellets, the hormone is time-released as the body needs it over a period of months and does not cause a sudden rise in testosterone levels. This would not produce a significant enhancement of athletic performance. The amount he received is a physiologic dose of testosterone and has been safely administered to thousands of people in this country and internationally since the 1930's. It is my professional opinion that no therapeutic alternative exists to increase low testosterone other than hormone replacement therapy."
Peterson's failure to report his testosterone issue, however, is of particular interest to the commission. According to a source, when Peterson filled out his disclosure form of medications when he signed up for VADA, there was no mention of testosterone.
Kizer said Peterson (30-1-1, with 15 KOs) isn't currently licensed to fight in Nevada, but would usually get routine approval in the next several days for the fight scheduled next week at the Mandalay Bay resort.
Now, Peterson needs to win an appeal to the five-member commission, which isn't scheduled to meet until May 21.
Khan's promoter, Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions in Los Angeles, said it's premature to say whether the Peterson-Khan fight will be held. But if Peterson can't fight, Khan won't face a substitute opponent, Schaefer said.
"If he is allowed to fight, obviously we will fight,'' Schaefer said. "We're going to wait to see what the Athletic Commission decides. It would be impossible to find an opponent within a week and a half for a fight of this caliber.''
Goodman and Dr. Edwin "Flip'' Homansky, a former Nevada Athletic Commission member also affiliated with the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association, declined to comment on Peterson's test. They cast VADA as a neutral testing agency.
Kizer said Fried told him Peterson recalls receiving testosterone treatment from a doctor before his first fight against Khan ended in controversy last December in Washington.
"He's saying Peterson's only real fault was that he failed to report therapeutic use of testosterone,'' Kizer said.
Khan (26-2, with 18 knockouts) lost his WBA and IBF belts in a split-decision loss to Peterson on Dec. 10, but was granted a rematch after complaining about the referee's decision to deduct him two points for pushing. He also was upset by the presence of an unauthorized man at ringside who was seen distracting an official.