Lamont Peterson winning the WBA and IBF light-welterweight titles in DC was big news when it happened, but not the ongoing controversy threatens to overshadow what was a great fight. Yesterday there was a press release from the Peterson camp responding to the accusations of Amir Khan that the fight should be overturned and was not a fair fight. The way Khan tells it it should have been clear to anyone in attendance that he not only won the fight but that he dominated. That was not the fight I saw.
The fight I saw could have gone either way and was extremely closely contested. Both fighters fought a great fight and it is a shame that this controversy has drug on. If Khan had filed the protest and kept his mouth shut then he could still come out of this looking good, but at this point he is starting to look like a sore loser who might not want to get back in the ring with Peterson. If Khan feels he is such a superior fighter to Peterson he will work to smooth things over and get a rematch as soon as possible and prove his ability in the ring.
As a fan of the sport this type of controversy and insistence to have the decision of a sporting event play out in a courtroom is frustrating. The Khan/Peterson fight was one of the best the sport has seen in a long time. Boxing needs less controversy and more fighters willing to challenge the controversy in the ring and not the courtroom. Below is the press release from Lamont Peterson’s trainer Barry Hunter in its entirety.
Statement of Barry HunterUnfortunately, we are in this process of dealing with these unfounded protests. It wouldbe an understatement to characterize Lamont as being disappointed in theunprofessional manner in which Khan is attempting to discredit his performance in thering and victory. We were raised to conduct ourselves where Champions displayprofessionalism, both in victory and defeat. Lamont previously tasted defeat and handledit the way it should be handled – - he worked harder on areas that needed improvementto maximize his performance in the ring. Now, he is World Champion.Khan blames everyone and everything but his performance and lack of ability to makeadjustments in the ring for his loss. He claims that the Ring Announcer privately statedhe won, then that the referee’s discretionary actions should be overruled, then a mysteryman in a black hat with no association to the Peterson Camp somehow affected theoutcome of the bout, and also that the judges did not score the Bout correctly. Eachclaim is boldly false, but because Golden Boy and Khan have the financial resources tofile protests and lawyers to create questionable accusations we are forced to addressthese issues. .We will not let these foul tactics take away from Lamont’s hard work,dedication and monumental victory. Furthermore, since Khan continues to focus on aman at ringside I want to be very clear– Mustafa Ameen is in no way, nor has he everbeen affiliated or associated with anyone within Team Peterson. That includes myself,Lamont and Anthony Peterson.If the media reports are true, the WBA President personally believes there should be adirect rematch of the fight. This was oddly stated before an official review had takenplace, as well as an official response or decision from the WBA review committee hadbeen presented regarding the various protests and our formal submission. That makesme wonder what procedures were actually followed before the WBA President madethese public statements? The Rules should be followed by everyone.Khan complains that the referee’s decisions should be overturned even though hecontinued to push Lamont throughout the fight. We believe the knockdown againstLamont was questionable but the rules give the referee that discretion on that call andwe respect it.When Zab Judah filed protests for Khan’s repeated low blows in their July 2011 boutGolden Boy and Khan argued that a referee’s decisions should be honored. Now,Golden Boy and Khan are flip flopping on the referee’s decision when it’s not favorabletowards them not the actions of a true champion.Immediately following our bout Golden Boy and Khan requested a meeting among uswith the sanctioning organizations and the Boxing Commission. When we left themeeting Oscar De La Hoya, Bernard Hopkins and I agreed with the commission that thescorecards were correct and Lamont won the fight. Real Champions don’t continue tocome up with various excuses and false accusations in hopes that something will stick tocover up for a loss.The bottom line is that after we decided not to accept Golden Boy’s offer for a rematchonly days after the fight and said that Lamont wanted to enjoy the Holidays with hisfamily and have time to make the best decision for his career and the future of his family;they started filing protest letters and trying to spin the media as some form of retaliation.If the media reports are true, then the actions of a few will put every close decision inboxing in jeopardy of being overturned. We will not let that happen. We will continue tofight for what is just and proper.Barry Hunter