Amir Khan believes unfancied challenger Lamont Peterson poses a bigger threat to him on Saturday than two-weight world champion Zab Judah did in their recent light-welterweight unification scrap.
Khan defends his WBA and IBF belts when he faces hometown hero Peterson in Washington this weekend and does so as the clear favourite against an opponent who has so far fallen short in his two biggest tests.
Peterson lost a wide points decision to WBO light-welterweight champion Timothy Bradley in 2009 before getting off the canvas to salvage a draw against Victor Ortiz last year.
While the American has had to rebuild and earn another shot, Bolton’s Khan (26-1, 18KO’s) goes from strength to strength and made a real statement by adding Judah’s IBF title to his own WBA belt in July with a slick performance which culminated in a fifth-round knockout.
However, Khan is well aware of the danger posed by Peterson (29-1-1, 15KO’s) and even believes he is in for a harder night than against Judah.
“I definitely think this will be a tougher fight for me than Zab Judah was,” Khan, 24, told Press Association Sport.
“At the end of the day you have to remember that while Peterson might not be one of the biggest names, he’s one of the most dangerous opponents in the division.
“He’s been in the top 10 for a long, long time. He’s had some big fights and has only lost once, against Timothy Bradley – and that was on points – and he drew against Victor Ortiz.
“He’s the number one contender for my IBF title. It just shows that he’s a tough character and he’ll be up for this fight because it’s a massive opportunity for him.
“But me and my trainer Freddie Roach know what to do.
“We’re fighting in his home city which will give him more motivation and more confidence against me and we know he’s tough so we can’t take this easy.
“I take every fight seriously and that includes this one.”
Peterson, meanwhile, is ready to showcase his improvement since that ill-fated bid to unseat solid WBO champion Bradley two years ago.
The Washington native, who has only twice previously boxed in his home town as a professional, believes it is a matter of temperament after getting too caught up in the moment on previous occasions.
“I’ve been getting more comfortable at that elite level by just fighting in these big fights, in world level fights and by just being more confident about doing what I know I can do,” he said.
“The experience of going into big fights, with people who have already been fighting in big fights, my mind is racing.
“I want to be perfect. I want to do everything right and I seem to overdo a lot of things instead of just being me.
“At this point, though, I feel comfortable enough to be me. I think that’ll be a big difference in the fight and I think it’ll be the key to victory.”