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Thom Loverro: Great night in 2011 for Lamont Peterson, Seth Mitchell essentially knocked out of existence

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Sports,Thom Loverro

It is almost as if the events that took place the night of Dec. 10, 2011, at Walter E. Washington Convention Center -- one of the greatest evenings in recent D.C. boxing history -- never happened.

Hometown favorite Lamont Peterson -- one of two brothers who grew up homeless and on the streets of the District -- upset heralded champion Amir Khan to capture the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation 140-pound world championship belts in prime time on HBO.

Earlier, local heavyweight contender Seth Mitchell made his HBO debut with an impressive second-round knockout of Timur Ibragimov.

The future for both D.C. fighters seemed bright.

Peterson's story of overcoming the odds of poverty and neglect, homeless as a youth with his brother Anthony on the D.C. streets, caught the attention of Hollywood. He stood to make $1.5 million in a rematch with Khan.

Mitchell was a personable former Michigan State linebacker with a power punch who gave boxing fans the most memorable performance by any American heavyweight on HBO recently.

Then ... poof. It disappeared.

Peterson tested positive for a banned substance -- synthetic testosterone -- and Khan and his promoter, Golden Boy, balked at the rematch as fast as they could and demanded Peterson be stripped of the titles.

Peterson, 29, made the case the testosterone was for a medical condition, but the damage was done. He has not fought since that night, stripped of the WBA belt and then embroiled in promotional disputes that may have cost him millions.

Now instead of defending two championships in Las Vegas on HBO for millions of dollars, Peterson (30-1-1, 15 knockouts) will defend the belt he was able to retain -- the IBF light welterweight title --- Friday night at the DC Armory against former champion Kendall Holt (28-5, 16 knockouts) on ESPN2. He will make about $40,000, less than 10 percent what he earned for the Khan fight.

Meanwhile, Mitchell, 30, talked after that 2011 convention center win about possibly facing Wladimir Klitschko, but he hardly called the champion out.

What Mitchell should have done is dogged the 36-year-old Klitschko every chance he could and pressed the issue to create some momentum for a fight the American boxing public is starving for -- a U.S. heavyweight with at least a puncher's chance to become world champion.

It didn't matter whether Mitchell was ready at that point or whether he would lose to Klitschko. So what? Mitchell would have earned a good paycheck and more than likely received another shot soon.

Mitchell (25-1-1, 19 knockouts) has fought just twice since that D.C. show, and one of them was a second-round knockout loss at the hand of Johnathon Banks in November. Their scheduled rematch for Saturday was postponed because of Banks' thumb injury. So Mitchell appears no closer to a heavyweight title now than he was 14 months ago.

Dec. 10, 2011 -- like it never happened.

Examiner columnist Thom Loverro is the co-host of "The Sports Fix" from noon to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday on ESPN980 and espn980.com. Contact him at tloverro@washingtonexaminer.com.

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