The World Boxing Association (WBA) has ordered a rematch between Britain’s Amir Khan and American Lamont Peterson after finding several irregularities during their welterweight title fight in Washington DC last Dec. 10. The fight was for Khan’s WBA and IBF Jr. Welterweight titles and fought in Peterson’s hometown. Peterson dethroned Khan by taking the fight on a close and controversial split decision.
The WBA made the announcement on Jan. 13 and said the pair has 180 days to complete the rematch. Khan’s promotion company, Golden Boy, protested the scoring of the fight because referee Joseph Cooper deducted two points, one each in the seventh and 12th round from Khan, for pushing during the fight. Cooper also ruled that Peterson slipped to the canvas in the first round after he went down following a punch from Khan. Without the point deductions Khan would have retained his championships since he lost by scores of 113-112 on two cards and won 115-111 on the third.
However, rematches usually aren’t ordered in such circumstances, especially since the referee has the power to deduct points where he sees fit. But there were other issues that prompted the WBA to order the rematch. The most serious was the presence of Mustafa Ameen at ringside. This unauthorized individual was caught in photographs speaking to one of the judge’s during the fight and handling the judge’s scorecards.
The WBA said there were also discrepancies between the scorecards of the WBA and IBF and the Washington athletic commission. The photos that were published in newspapers and on internet sites across the world clearly show Ameen speaking with a judge while the fight was taking place, with the judge not watching the fight. This alone should be immediate cause for a rematch. Any judge who fails to watch the fight he’s scoring should also be suspended.
Richard Schaefer, the head of Golden Boy Promotions, said he’s thrilled that the WBA has ordered another fight and hopes it’s as good as the first one, which was easily one of the best of the year. In addition, the International Boxing Federation (IBF) also said that Ameen didn’t have any business being at ringside and will meet on Jan 18th to decide if their version of the title will also be up for grabs in the rematch.
Ameen does some work for the IBF’s educational fund and the boxing organization requested a press pass for him. However, he had no other credentials and doesn’t work for either the IBF or WBA. He was also photographed celebrating in the ring after the fight. Ameen has been asked to attend the IBF meeting to explain what he was doing at ringside throughout the fight.
However, just because a rematch has been ordered it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to take place. Peterson could possibly give up the WBA belt or both of them for matter and then look for a bigger-money fight against Manny Pacquiao. It’s been reported that Pacquiao is scheduled to fight on June 9 against an unnamed opponent and Peterson is one of four opponents being considered. The others are Miguel Cotto, Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez.
But Pacquiao could even end up fighting Floyd Mayweather Jr. if an agreement can be reached for a fight before Mayweather heads to jail on June 9 to serve his 90-day sentence for domestic abuse. If Pacquiao does meet Mayweather, there’s a good chance Peterson will go ahead with the rematch against Khan.