Khan pushed titles away in SD loss to Peterson

Amir KhanBy Paul Strauss: Amir Khan claims he had two opponents in the ring Saturday night at the Convention Center in Washington, District of Columia. The first was his scheduled opponent Lamont "Havoc" Peterson and second was Referee Joseph Cooper. Khan bad mouthed all of D.C. as well, saying that it's no wonder there haven't been any big fights there in quite some time. He insinuated that you have to knock out a guy to win in D. C.

Khan feels his title was stolen from him by the referee, because the referee reeked havoc on two occasions, when he took two points from King Khan for pushing. Announcers Jim Lampley, Max Kellerman and Larry Merchant were in agreement it was a bad call both times. They believed that before any such penalty is imposed, a referee should give what they called "A hard warning", explaining a referee should stop the action, and specifically point out to the fighter that a point will be deducted if the fighter commits the same offense again.

Really! Is that necessary? Even the most inexperienced fighter knows if he gets warned twice for the same offense, he will then lose a point if it happens again. It certainly is true that fighters and fans alike do not enjoy having a referee inject himself into a fight. More importantly, they do not want the outcome of a fight to be decided by a referee's call. Without the two point deduction, Lamont Peterson would not have won a SD. So, everyone wants a rematch, assuming a referee's action wouldn't be a factor. Both Peterson and Khan expressed a readiness to do just that, but will the promoters agree. Can Khan make the junior welter limit again? Prior to the start of this one, it was thought it would be Khan last fight as a junior welter.

Regardles, what actually happened in this fight? What stood out the most was Khan's superior hand and foot speed, and combination punching. He was more willing to take chances than Peterson and to let his hands go. Peterson realized his initial Plan A wasn't working, so by his own post-fight admission he went to Plan B, which was to turn the fight into more of a brawl. Every chance he got he pressured Khan back against the ropes, where he could trap him and pummel him with shots to the body and head.

The question was, "Did he do it often enough to win the fight?" Without the two penalty points, the answer is "No". Too often Peterson would allow Khan to unload fast three and four punch combinations on him with no response. Certainly Peterson fans could argue the reason he didn't respond more often was due to the fact that Khan would push him after throwing the combos. The pushes would knock Peterson off balance long enough to keep him from countering, and often times even allow Khan to rip off yet another combination.. Against such tactics a fighter has to slip punches, not block them. When attempting to block punches, a fighter too often ends up waiting for his opponent to stop throwing, which then allows for the push. When slipping and countering, the opponent isn't allowed to get to that point.

On the other hand, Khan fans would quickly point out that the real reason Peterson couldn't counter successfully was that Khan wouldn't be there. He, they would say, would hit and run. Peterson would be left with being led around the ring like a dog on a leash. Those times when Peterson tired of the pattern, he would rush at Khan and bull him against the ropes. Plan B worked often enough to impress at least two of the judges and many of his hometown fans. It was obvious Khan did not want to fight a brawl type fight, so in those cases he would use a defensive push or grab behind Lamont's lowered head and push or pull down. Obviously that was not always the case. There were many excellent exchanges. Both men went to the head and body, but it was at those timeson the ropes Lamont did some of his best scoring. It was getting there that was costly for him. He didn't jab enough, and too often was getting tagged on the way in.

But, he had no choice. When the fight was kept at center ring, Khan would control the action. I couldn't help thinking Khan is a bit like the 1st George Foreman, who used the "push" as an offensive weapon. Most often a fighter will employ a push to get his opponent off of him, a defensive measure. But, Big George and now Khan use it offensively, as part of a combiination. One, two, three, push. If it was Hopkins, it would be one, two, followed by the head. In Khan's case it also helps protect him when he over extends. Specifically, he throws hard shots from too far out. His upper body gets too far out or ahead of his feet. If he doesn't push, or elbow, he becomes very vulnerable to counters. In Big George's case, the push was more intimidation. There's a little of that with Khan too, but primarily it's necessary because of the chances he takes.

Let's hope Khan can make junior welterweight one more time, so these two can have their rematch. It's a safe bet Khan won't want to fight in D.C. again, but he might have to because this time he's the challenger for the IBF and WBA Super World light welterweight titles he lost Saturday night . As always, It will boil down to a business decision, and D.C. might simply be where the big bucks are more readily available. Golden Boy wants the titles back for their fighter, so after the wailing and whining subside, the rematch can hopefully be made.

Article posted on 11.12.2011

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