After nearly two months of frequently contentious dialogue that included accusations of impropriety from one camp following their championship fight, Lamont Peterson and Amir Khan are set for a rematch, the sides announced late Thursday afternoon.
Peterson, a District native, and England’s Khan will fight for a second time on May 19 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas for the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation 140-pound belts. Peterson won the unified title via a 12-round split decision over then-champion Khan on Dec. 10 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
Almost immediately after the fight, Khan’s team expressed dissatisfaction over the circumstances surrounding the outcome, citing what they deemed irregularities in judging and refereeing. Khan’s Golden Boy Promotions team, which in conjunction with other local entities handled publicity for the fight, sought a rematch at that time, but Peterson’s camp declined to commit until it was able to examine all its options.
“My whole comfort zone is that Lamont wanted it,” said Barry Hunter, Peterson’s trainer and manager. “He took his time. I’m pretty proud of him actually.”
Khan went to Twitter to get out the word of the fight in which there will be an even split of worldwide revenue. That arrangement means each fighter’s winnings based on industry estimates could reach $1.5 million.
“At last I git the fight I deserve,” Khan (26-2, 18 KOs) wrote.
Included in the agreement for Khan-Peterson II is the stipulation Peterson’s next fight after May 19, regardless of opponent, will take place in the District, according to Jeff Fried, Peterson’s chief negotiator from Las Vegas.
In the aftermath of the first bout, Golden Boy went on the offensive, filing formal appeals to both the WBA and IBF seeking to overturn the decision or at least require an immediate rematch. The WBA ordered a rematch, but Golden Boy withdrew its appeal to the IBF shortly before the sanctioning body was to examine the case.
Several days after the fight, Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer outlined during a teleconference the alleged improprieties prompting those appeals.
Most prominent on that list, according to Schaefer, were referee Joe Cooper deducting two points from Khan for pushing; judges taking an exceptionally long time to select the winner; and one scorecard showing a 10-10 draw in the seventh round that later was altered to 10-8 in Peterson’s favor.
Schaefer also referenced a so-called “mystery man” spotted at ringside later identified as Mustafa Ameen. Khan’s camp suggested Ameen may have distracted WBA supervisor Michael Welsh during the fight.
Ameen is a volunteer for the IBF but was not at the fight in an official capacity, IBF President Daryl Peoples disclosed during a hearing last Friday before the D.C. Council’s Committee on Small and Local Business Development, which oversees the D.C. Boxing and Wrestling Commission.
Peoples said he requested a credential for Ameen as a courtesy, and during the hearing at the John A. Wilson Building, Golden Boy COO David Itskowitch and Golden Boy attorney Arnold Joseph alluded to Ameen’s suspicious presence at ringside.
Khan’s team also introduced photographs into the proceedings of Ameen in the ring apparently celebrating with Peterson (30-1-1, 15 KOs) following the decision. The suggestions of impropriety compelled Peterson’s camp last month to issue a statement from Hunter denying any affiliation with Ameen.
“I just want to fight him again because it was a good fight,” Peterson said. “It’s a fight that the fans wanted, so that’s just what I’m trying to focus on right now, just giving the fans what they want, and once I beat him again, I just don’t want to hear his mouth again.”