Khan’s fighting arrogance and lack Of respect for Peterson results in defeat – Poor judging and refereeing a scapegoat for Khan’s failings
By Martin Salt: Amir Khan lost his WBA/IBF World Light-Welterweight titles on Saturday night to Lamont Peterson in Washington DC, USA and it has caused a hotbed of debate from all corners of the boxing world. In this writer’s opinion, Lamont Peterson won the fight by the narrowest of margins, a contest which could have gone either way.
Article posted on 12.12.2011
Amir Khan spent most of the build up talking about his future and that this was his last fight at Light-Welterweight. Rather fine tuning his pre-fight preparations, Khan was clearly pre-occupied with all the talk of a potential fight with Floyd Mayweather Jnr.
During this time Peterson was training hard, doing small pre-fight interviews with plenty of respect for his opponent and taking time out to remember his roots by visiting centres for disadvantaged children. For Peterson the fight with Khan was clearly the culmination of a ‘Cinderella Man’ style rise to the top of boxing and he was treating the opportunity with all the respect it deserved.
With the exception of trainer Freddie Roach, Amir Khan and his entire team did not seem to respect the challenge of Peterson and had been looking forward to another defence against a less than serious threat.
In the first round Khan should have finished the fight, catching Peterson off guard with the volume and speed of his punches. Instead, Khan appeared to slow down and began showing off in a style reminiscent of Prince Nazeem Hamed, putting his gloves in the air and gesticulating for Peterson to come on to him. Peterson did and wobbled Khan in the third round with several hard left hooks to the head. From then on it was a fight which neither boxer had a clear advantage.
The so called controversy began in the seventh round when Khan was docked a point for pushing Peterson away. This has been a common occurrence in Khan’s fights and you only need to watch the Marcos Maidana fight to see being demonstrated. In the Maidana contest Khan would physically push his opponent away to unsteady him before throwing an overhand hard right. The referee in the Khan/Peterson fight did not stand for this and after several warnings decided to penalize Khan.
The fight continued to be a close affair until the final round where Peterson appeared to catch Khan in the early moments. Khan then grabbed hold of Peterson again, pushed him away and then punched him as the referee broke them up. Now this is where the problems occur for Team Khan and Golden Boy who were outraged that the point was deduced for the push. For the record this writer will spell out for all parties what the point deduction appeared to be for –
Amir Khan pushed Lamont Peterson away from him - THEN PUNCHED PETERSON AFTER THE REFEREE WAS BREAKING THEM UP AND HAD NOT INDICATED TO BOX ON.
Earlier this year Floyd Mayweather knocked out Victor Ortiz in similar circumstances when Joe Cortez may or may have not indicated for both fighters to box on. The boxing mantra is always to protect yourself at all times. In the Khan/Peterson fight the referee was about to stop the action due to Khan pushing Peterson when Khan threw the additional punch. This is how the point seems to have been deducted and amazingly many analysts have failed to recognize this.
The decision itself was not controversial. It could have gone either way. If Khan had not been caught for persistent fouling then he would have won. As it was he underestimated the capability and desire of Peterson and lost the fight.
In the post fight interviews Amir Khan went on to demonstrate why he has not become as popular here in the United Kingdom as other British fighters like Ricky Hatton, Joe Calzaghe and Frank Bruno. Khan moaned and whined to Larry Merchant about how he was fighting the referee and that this was why boxing has not been held in Washington DC for 20 years. Pretty disrespectful stuff for the city hosting his title defense. I doubt Washington DC will want Khan back for 20 years.
Amir Khan could have taken a leaf out of Derek Chisora’s book. Chisora was lost in a genuinely controversial decision last week against Robert Helenius but left his respectful complaints until after he left the ring.
Khan did not seem to provide any real thought that he had underestimated Peterson and showed that all Golden Boy Promotions have done is helped create an over hyped boxer without any thought for his own failings.
Let’s get this straight for the record. Amir Khan is an exceptional talent but is being hindered by an attitude that seems to suggest he is far more important and a better boxer than he actually is. Khan does not even appear in the Ring Magazine top ten pound for pound fighters when his fellow Light-Welterweight Timothy Bradley does.
Lamont Peterson deserves to enjoy his huge success. Peterson should also be careful of agreeing to an immediate rematch with Khan. Not because Khan doesn’t deserve it or that Peterson could not beat him again. It’s because Khan has never offered Marcos Maidana or Breidis Prescott a rematch when asked for it. If a rematch is going ahead, it should be on Lamont Peterson’s own terms.
Amir Khan could learn a lot from Lamont Peterson, both as a fighter and as a man.
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