WBA orders rematch between Lamont Peterson, Amir Khan
By Gene Wang,
The World Boxing Association has mandated an immediate rematch between super lightweight champion Lamont Peterson of the District and Amir Khan, whose handlers contend that their Dec. 10 unified title bout featured improprieties in officiating and judging.
WBA Vice President Gilberto Jesus Mendoza confirmed the rematch, and Golden Boy chief executive Richard Schaefer said in a telephone interview Friday afternoon the sanctioning body had notified him of the ruling.
“The right thing to do is to do the rematch,” Schaefer said. “I think it would be one of the most anticipated fights of 2012, and I hope that we can negotiate the fight in a professional and respectful manner.”
Golden Boy Promotions is in charge of Khan’s publicity, and they petitioned both the WBA and the International Boxing Federation several days after the fight at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in which Peterson won via 12-round split decision for the unified title.
Despite the WBA’s ruling, Peterson is not obligated to grant Khan a rematch, which Schaefer said could be May 19 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Peterson could opt to relinquish the WBA belt and keep the IBF title if that governing body does not call for an immediate rematch. The IBF is expected to issue its ruling next week.
Khan had two points deducted for pushing, prompting outcries from Khan’s camp and setting into motion the appeals process.
Khan’s side charged the deductions came without warning while Virginia-based referee Joe Cooper repeatedly cautioned Peterson (30-1-1, 15 knockouts) about coming in low. During a teleconference several days later, Schaefer raised discrepancies between the WBA and IBF cards and brought into question a then-unidentified man at ringside who Khan’s camp alleges may have altered or interfered with the judging.
Schaefer also questioned other circumstances that unfolded immediately after the fight. That suspicious activity, Schaefer said, included judges taking an exceptionally long time after the fight to pick the winner; judge George Hill’s card showing 10-10 for the seventh round and later changed to 10-8 in favor of Peterson; and the disappearance of an IBF scorecard that had the fight as a draw.
Schaefer said he spoke to IBF Champions Chairman Lindsay Tucker about the incident and was told the IBF supervisor at the fight said the scorecard had vanished. Schaefer also said Tucker told him it appeared to the IBF supervisor that the D.C. boxing commission removed the card while Peterson was in the ring receiving the belt.
As for the mystery man at ringside, Khan (26-2, 18 KOs) went to Twitter recently to post pictures showing an individual later identified as Mustafa Ameen. On his Twitter page, Khan highlighted a series of photos he claims incriminates Ameen for distracting WBA supervisor Michael Walsh. Ameen is affiliated with the IBF but was not at the fight in an official capacity.
“Mustafa Ameen is in no way, nor has he ever been affiliated or associated with anyone within Team Peterson,” Barry Hunter, Peterson’s trainer, said in a statement released earlier this week. “That includes myself, Lamont and [brother] Anthony Peterson.”
Khan’s camp initially sent the IBF a letter stating its disapproval of the refereeing and judging, and the IBF responded by saying it did not see grounds to overturn the decision. Khan’s team then filed an official appeal.
At a charity event last week, Peterson talked about a possible fight with Manny Pacquiao, considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. Pacquiao, though, reportedly is mulling a highly anticipated bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr., who wrote on Twitter this week that he’s ready to fight on May 5.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.