The rematch between unified junior welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson and former titleholder Amir Khan remained up in the air Tuesday following Peterson's positive urine test for a banned substance.
Peterson tested positive for a substance "consistent with the administration of an anabolic steroid such as testosterone," according to a letter the Nevada State Athletic Commission received from the Las Vegas-based Voluntary Anti-Doping Association, and obtained by ESPN.com.
At Peterson's request, Khan agreed to random blood and urine testing in the buildup to the fight. It is being overseen by VADA, whose president is Dr. Margaret Goodman, a former Nevada State Athletic Commission chief ringside physician.
As the Peterson team prepared to submit its findings to the NSAC by the close of business Tuesday in hopes of salvaging the May 19 (HBO) rematch at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Golden Boy promoter Richard Schaefer, who promotes Khan, told reporters on a teleconference that he was not aware that there was a problem until he got a call Monday morning from NSAC executive director Keith Kize.
That was when Kizer informed him the commission had just received the letter from VADA outlining the issues, including the revelation that Peterson's "A" sample and "B" sample both had tested positive for a banned substance.
"I was not copied in that letter. Why I was not informed, I can't explain. I find it rather shocking that nobody from Team Khan was copied," Schaefer said.
Nonetheless, the letter offered details about what had happened.
On March 19, while Peterson and Khan were making a promotional appearance at a news conference in Los Angeles, they were asked by an unannounced collections officer to provide a urine sample.
According to VADA, the urine sample was taken to the UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory, a facility that is accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency, which oversees drug testing for Olympians.
"The adverse results for the athlete's 'A' sample were reported to VADA by the laboratory on April 12," the letter read. "VADA informed the athlete of the adverse analytical finding on April 13 and advised the athlete of his right to have the 'B' sample analyzed. The process of analyzing the 'B' sample began at the laboratory on April 30 in the presence of one or more representatives of the athlete. The laboratory reported the results of the 'B' sample analysis on May 3. The results of the 'B' sample confirmed the results of the 'A' sample."
Under VADA policy, Peterson can appeal the findings. As a result of the positive test, Peterson has been removed from the VADA program, effective immediately, and the results were forwarded to the NSAC, which is responsible for licensing Peterson for the fight.
VADA also said that another test Peterson took April 13 came back negative May 2.
"Why it took from (April 13) to (April 30) to go and test the 'B' sample is again a mystery to me," Schaefer said. "If I would have been informed I would have asked for an expedited testing instead of waiting two weeks."
Kizer told ESPN.com that after he found out about the positive test, he informed Golden Boy, HBO, Mandalay Bay and the IBF and WBA, the organizations whose titles are at stake.
"Golden Boy was unhappy with VADA and Team Peterson for the delay," Kizer said.
Jeff Fried, Peterson's attorney, said in a statement given to ESPN.com that they are preparing information to be given to VADA and the NSAC in an effort to clear up the situation.
"We are pursuing (Tuesday) closure of the documented reason for the positive test result from the March 19, 2012 urine test in Los Angeles," Fried said. "This determination is based on comprehensive and specific medical analysis performed since becoming aware of the positive test. Specifically, there are productive developments based on such medical analysis/reviews."
Fried went on to say that a doctor who treated Peterson in November has traced the origin of the positive test to a one-time treatment for an undisclosed medical situation.
"This information has now been communicated and independently confirmed by the chief of medicine at Suburban Hospital (Johns Hopkins) and its chief of endocrinology and included within a report that will be submitted to VADA and the Nevada commission," Fried said.
Schaefer said that once the commission receives the report from the Peterson camp, it will rule on whether there will be a fight.
"That is all I know at this point," Schaefer said. "I would assume by (Wednesday) or the latest the day after we will know where we stand. Amir Khan continues to train. He is fully aware of the situation. He is very disappointed, but he is going to follow whatever the athletic commission is going to rule. And that's where we stand.
"My full focus is to work with the Nevada State Athletic Commission and get to the bottom of this and do what is right. This demonstrates the importance of random drug testing and how important it is to the sport of boxing. This is not about hitting a baseball or running faster or jumping higher. This is toe-to-toe battle where one's life is at risk every time these young athletes enter the ring."
Peterson (30-1-1, 15 KOs) and Khan (26-2, 18 KOs), of England, waged one of the best fights of 2011 in Peterson's hometown of Washington, D.C.
Peterson won a split decision in the Dec. 10 showdown, claiming a pair of belts in a fight that ended in a storm of controversy, mainly over Khan being docked two points on questionable pushing calls by referee Joe Cooper.