Former King Khan’t Complain

By Alan Francis: Now that the dust has settled a bit on Amir Khan’s close points defeat to Lamont Peterson last weekend, it seems the British press reaction in the immediate aftermath of the fight was somewhat biased towards the Briton. The bout itself, already a fight of the year candidate, has been described in some quarters of the press as highway robbery and while the fight wasn’t without its controversy, it was not a robbery by any stretch of the imagination.

The officiating has been heavily criticized with most of the press degrading the performances of both the referee and the three scoring judges. Let’s take a closer look at what actually happened.

Let’s start with the referee. Joseph Cooper was the appointed official from the Washington DC area where the fight was held. Cooper warned Khan several times throughout the bout for pushing Peterson away when close which lead to two point deductions, one of which came in the 12th and final round which ultimately proved decisive. Some are claiming Khan was not warned for the pushing before the points were taken but in actual fact he was warned several times. What Cooper did not do however, was warn Khan that if the pushing continued points would be taken. This really should have been clearly stated because there is an argument that had Khan understood this, he may have fought differently. In this instance this writer would have to disagree with the referees call.
As for the three scoring judges, any criticism of their officiating is unfair and just looks like sour grapes. The judges do not have a say in whether the point deductions were fair or not, if the ref calls it, they score it, simple. Judges George Hill and Valarie Dorset scored the bout the same as this writer, 113-112 giving Peterson a one point edge. This score highlights just how close the fight was, a back and forth see saw battle between two well conditioned skillful athletes. How the British press can criticize the scoring of the fight I just cannot understand. In fact, for this writer the only score that can be criticized is that of Nelson Vasquez, who inexplicably scored the bout 115-110 in favour of Khan. Boxing is a subjective sport and it was a close fight so opinion on who won will inevitably be divided, but neither man won by a five point margin, that score is ridiculous!
So on the whole, the fight had a fair result and we shouldn’t be crying robbery. If we are to have any gripes about any of the officials it should be directed at referee Joe Cooper, not for warning Khan and not for deducting points after several warnings, but for not declaring that he would take this action. The judges (bar one) got it right and any attempts by team Khan to have the result overturned should be quashed as the right man won. It was a great fight and rather than complain about the result, let’s just look forward to a great rematch.

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