Controversy in the Nation’s Capital

COMMENTARY | Boxing would not be boxing if a fight did not end in controversy and that is how Saturday night’s light welterweight title fight ended. Amir Khan held the WBA and IBF Light Welterweight Titles coming into the championship fight to face challenger Lamont Peterson. The title fight took place in Peterson’s hometown of Washington on Dec 10th. Some people speculated that Khan was overlooking Lamont Peterson for a future fight with WBC welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. and appears that Khan might have done that.

Khan came out boxing Peterson when the bell rang to start the fight and was doing it very well. Right away you could see that Khan was quicker of the two fighters on that night. Khan was using his jab to setup his combinations, and when Khan landed his two or three combinations he would then slide out of way of Peterson’s counters. Khan knocked down Peterson two times in Round 1, but the referee ruled one of them a slip.

The second round went along the same path as the first round. Khan’s hand speed seemed to be too much for Peterson. Each time he moved forward, Khan would tag him with combinations and move out of the way just like he did in the first round. Peterson was slower, but patient, waiting to catch Khan on the ropes or trap him in the corner. Peterson would use his uppercuts and hard left hooks to the body, each time he was working inside the pocket.

Every time Peterson would get close to work the inside, Khan would shove Peterson back, pull Peterson’s head down and pushing off using his elbows. In some cases Khan would put Peterson in a headlock to buy himself some time and to break up Peterson’s attack to his midsection.

In Round 6, Peterson’s right eye was starting to close due to Khan’s jab and his speedy combinations. Peterson just kept on applying pressure, throwing hard hooks to the body each time he would get close to Khan. During the fight you could hear referee Joe Cooper telling Khan, “stop pushing off” and finally in Round 6 at the 1:22 mark of the fight, you can hear the referee tell Amir Khan, “Last time. Last warning. Stop pushing”.

Khan was out boxing Peterson winning four of the six rounds convincingly giving Khan a strong lead in the fight especially with the first round knockdown.

In the seventh round Peterson started applying more pressure on Khan and working the inside more. Peterson was landing his power punches more effectively in this round. Peterson was not only working Khan’s body, but was also catching the champion with hard hooks and rights to the head, snapping Khan’s head back. Round 7 was Peterson’s better round, where he was doing damage to Khan’s midsection causing Khan to clinch or move laterally to avoid the body shots. Peterson kept moving forward getting closer to Khan and unloaded his power punches . As the round was coming to a close, Khan pushed Peterson back with three seconds left in the round, the referee then called time and deducted a point from Khan for pushing. The point deduction made it a 10-8 round for Peterson.

The eighth round was a seesaw battle between Khan and Peterson. Peterson was relentless with his body shots and was applying constant pressure while trying to keep Khan from fighting on the outside. Khan started boxing Peterson again, using his jab and some body shots to keep Peterson at a distance. As the round went on. Peterson’s relentless work of the body was starting to take effect until Khan landed a hard right hand that hurt Peterson, but Peterson was able to recover. Both fighters had their moments in this round, making it a difficult round to score.

The last four rounds were a war between Khan and Peterson making it a very close fight as it entered the 12th and final round. Khan came out boxing, hitting Peterson with many jabs and combinations and was moving away from Peterson’s attack. During the 12th round, Khan continued to push Peterson whenever he would get close. Peterson was getting closer to Khan, landing some hard body shots causing Khan to shove Peterson. At the 1:55 mark of Round 12, Cooper deducted another point from Khan for pushing. Khan now feeling the pressure, picked up his pace to try and get back the point he just lost in the 12th, but ran out of time.

The fight went to the scorecards and the decision took longer than usual for the scores to be announced. Once the scores came in they read as follows; Judges Valerie Dorsett and George Hill scored it 113-112 for Peterson and Nelson Vasquez scored it 115-110 Khan giving Peterson the WBA and IBF light welterweight titles and the win by split decision.

I personally scored the fight and here were my scores:


Rd 1: 10-8 AK, Rd 2: 10-9 AK, Rd 3: 10-9 LP, Rd 4: 10-9 LP, Rd 5: 10-9 AK, Rd 6: 10-9 AK, Rd 7: 10-8 LP, Rd 8: 10-9 LP, Rd 9: 10-9 AK, Rd10: 10-9 AK, Rd 11: 10-9 AK, Rd 12: 10-8 LP Total: 113-112 for Khan.

Despite HBO claims of this fight being a “Home Cooked” fight, or their disregards to Khan’s other fouls that were not called on, the referee DID warn Khan to stop pushing. Whether we agree or not, Cooper is the man in charge inside that ring while the fight is happening. It is his instructions that the fighters need follow, not HBO’s or anyone else’s. I do not agree with the judges scoring but I cannot blame Cooper for Khan not getting the decision. Yes, Joe Cooper did deduct a point from Khan in the seventh and 12th round and those point deduction are the difference in this fight, I agree with that. But it’s also true that Khan received a final warning from Cooper in the sixth round to stop pushing, yet he continued to push the entire night along with other fouls that were not called.

Boxing gave its fans a very good fight. It could be a contender for “Fight Of The Year.” The fight itself was very entertaining and had plenty of action to please the boxing fan, but instead people are focusing on the decision of a very close fight that many feel could have gone either way. Let’s enjoy the fight for what it was, a great fight between two warriors that gave us the fans, everything they had that night.

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