Last December 10th, Britian’s Amir Khan dropped his IBF and WBA World Titles to Lamont Peterson in a match fought in Peterson’s backyard of Washington DC. The judge’s scorecards were 112-113, 112-113 and 115-110, rewarding Peterson with a split decision win and the belts. What has ensued since then is nothing short of a campaign of whining, bitching and playing the victim on the part of the Khan camp, which really looks to be par for the course with ‘Team Khan’. The rematch has been set for May 19th at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada and it is in large part the result of Khan’s campaign of whining and his position in boxing, which is that of a million dollar plus draw.
In many ways, Khan is like a British version of Oscar De La Hoya, with his Olympic medal (he won a silver, BTW), his ethnic roots and his boyish charm. The unbelievable level of complaints after this last loss however, dimmed a lot of his star. He went so far as to file official protests at the sanctioning organizations, though those were later pulled. But after all, Khan got what he wanted, a chance to get the belts back.
I watched the first meeting between the two again, and it was a good, old fashioned, ugly fight. One of the controversies Khan has fabricated is that he was unfairly deducted points for pushing (in the 7th and the 12th rounds). This really has no justification, as Khan was repeatedly warned in the first six rounds with no point deduction for the following infractions – elbows (the dreaded Freddie Roach left hook-elbow follow thru), pushing Peterson away, pushing down on Peterson’s head, and holding.
Peterson landed a great deal of body shots, and his connect rate was at a much higher rate than Khan. He landed more power punches, and landed them more efficiently than Khan throughout the fight.
Despite the indignation of the announcing team, he were almost literally tripping over each other to gush about Amir Khan, Peterson fought a workmanlike fight, and it did appear at times as if Khan was avoiding the fight. He backed away throughout the fight, and the warnings Khan got for pushing and holding are indicative that Peterson was the fighter managing the distance, not Khan.
So who do I have in the rematch? Peterson will almost certainly go in the underdog, and ther emay be some good value in this underdog. Khan had a bad strategy in the first fight, and his corner’s encouragement when they should have been pressing him for more seemed like a team that has become complacent.
Oh yeah, and check out Freddie Roach teaching the elbow follow thru. ”If the left hook misses, the elbow lands” (at :56 seconds of the video).