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Amir Khan needs to impress against Peterson

Amir Khan lamont petersonBy John F. McKenna (McJack): Former WBA/IBF light welterweight champion Amir Khan (26-2, 18 KO’s) needs to be impressive when he squares off with new champion Lamont Peterson (30-1-1, 15 KO’s) on May 19 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas. Peterson upset Khan in December when he took his WBA and IBF titles in a highly controversial decision. The rematch will be telecast live on HBO’s World Championship Boxing series.

Khan would most likely concede that fighting local favorite Peterson in his hometown of Washington, D.C. was not the most intelligent thing he could have done. The initial controversy surrounding the fight was when referee Joe Cooper, who resides in D.C., took the unusual step of deducting a point on two separated occasions from Khan for pushing. Long time boxing observers have been hard pressed to remember an instance when a boxer was penalized for pushing. The two points deducted from Khan made all the difference as he wound up losing the match.

Adding to the controversy was the disappearance of the master score card immediately after the fight. The score card remained missing for two days and when it reappeared it was in pristine condition indicating that it may have been tampered with.

The controversy swirling around the happenings at the fight reached a crescendo when a “Mystery Man” was observed on video tape at ringside talking to the WBA scoring supervisor and handling slips of paper during the fight. After a few days the “Mystery Man” was identified as Mustafa Armeen. IBF and WBA officials acknowledged that Armeen was not one of their officials and stated that he had no business being at ringside.
Armeen was also observed in Peterson’s corner celebrating after Lamont was awarded the decision. Mustafa made matters even worse when in defense of his actions at ringside he said that he was merely making some corrections he had noticed on the scorecards.

There is no doubt that there were a number of irregularities surrounding the Khan – Peterson fight. But it should also be noted that Khan in essence took his eye off the ball and instead of focusing on Lamont, he began to look ahead to a hoped for mega fight with unbeaten WBC welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr (42-0, 26 KO’s).

In so doing Khan lost his WBA and IBF titles to a fighter he should not have lost to. The fight with Peterson should not have been close enough that it came down to a couple of points being deducted from him.

It is this writer’s contention that if Amir thought that Peterson was an honest to goodness threat he would not have fought him in his hometown where he is considered to be a hero. It all fairness to Peterson he fought a whale of a fight and under any circumstances his fight with Khan could have gone either way.

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