By: Ronald Cameron
Normally when I watch an HBO telecast I’m almost always more interested in the main-event. But when I turned on the set to watch these fights, I was more interested in seeing the co-main event (more on that later) because truthfully I didn’t expect jr. welterweight champion Amir “King” Khan to have too much trouble with challenger Lamont Peterson even though Khan was fighting in Peterson’s hometown of Washington DC. But this year has been the year of the unexpected and tonight, Lamont Peterson (30-1-1 with 15 KO’s) scored a monumental upset by knocking off Khan (26-2 with 18 KO’s) winning a VERY controversial split decision. I will get to the controversy in a bit, but first let me give my review of the fight as I saw it.
Amir Khan – Lamont Peterson Review
Amir Khan took the fight right to Peterson in the first round, controlling the fight with his hand speed and hard power shots. Midway through the round, Khan knocked Peterson off-balance with a left hook that grazed him and knocked him to the canvas, but referee Joseph Cooper ruled it a slip. It was close, but after seeing the replay, I thought he should have ruled it a knockdown. But near the end of the round, Amir Khan dropped Peterson with a hard right hand which was a clear knockdown. Lamont Peterson was not seriously hurt and he survived the round. It was more of the same in the second round as the champion out-boxed and countered Peterson’s wild shots with right hands. Khan was not crisp, but he did enough to win the round.
But things shifted in the third round as the challenger landed some lethal right hands and good body shots that got Khan’s attention and momentarily stunned him, but the champion rallied with some crisp combinations of his own. A very good round for both fighters, but Peterson did enough to win it.
Peterson had another strong round in the 4th as he took the fight to Khan as he landed some looping right hands and body shots. Peterson is fighting very inspired, fighting in front of his hometown crowd. Khan went back to basics in the 5th and 6th rounds as he scored with fast combinations and body shots that were not power shots, but very accurate and he did enough to win both rounds. Peterson is putting on constant pressure and at times he’s very effective, but he’s not landing often enough to win those middle rounds.
The 7th round was a better round for the challenger, as he out-worked the champion and landed some effective body shots, but near the end of the round, referee Joseph Cooper took a point away from Amir Khan for pushing, so in a round that would have normally been a 10-9 round for Peterson was now 10-8 which makes the fight closer. Peterson dominated the 8th round with an unstoppable work-rate as he landed some bruising body shots and some good right hands. So now with 8 rounds in the books, I now have the fight dead even.
In the 9th round, the two took turns hurting each other, first Peterson rocked Khan with body shots and uppercuts that had the champion in trouble but Khan retaliated with a series of uppercuts and combinations and he had Peterson in trouble. Khan did enough to win this round as he out-worked Peterson at the end of it and he hurt him with good right hand that had Peterson reeling, but the durable challenger refused to give in. This was clearly the best round of the fight.
Khan did enough to win the 10th and 11th rounds with combinations and for the first time in the fight, Peterson showed some signs of slowing down in terms of his work-rate. Khan is now keeping the fight in the center of the ring and he’s out-boxing Peterson, who is fighting a game, inspired fight. Between rounds right before the 12th round, HOF trainer Freddie Roach told Khan to “Put him on his ass” (now where did we hear that before?) sensing that the fight was close. Khan was out-working Peterson but midway through the round referee Joseph Cooper took another point away from Khan for pushing. Khan clearly won the round but considering that the fight was close, a VERY questionable call by the referee. The fight went the full 12 rounds and it was now left in the judges hands.
Judge George Hill scored it 113-112 for Peterson … Nelson Vazquez had it 114-111 for Khan and Valerie Dorsett scored it 113-112 and the winner via a split decision…. and the NEW jr. welterweight champion of the world… Lamont Peterson!!!
Once again, an incompetent referee plays a role in a major fight. When will this BS stop??
Now before I get into the controversy, I don’t want to take anything from Lamont Peterson because he fought the fight of his life tonight. He was the aggressor for most of the fight and he did hurt Khan on a few occasions. But with that being said, once again a clueless referee played a part in a major fight. This referee took two points from Khan for pushing? Are you kidding me? Low blows, rabbit punches, head-butts… ok I can live with that, but for pushing? This was total BS in my opinion. And let’s not forget the first round when Khan did not get credit for the first knockdown. This was a very close fight and truthfully Khan did not his best tonight and Peterson should be credited for that but even so, this win was tainted. As a whole, boxing referees have stunk out loud this year. We as boxing fans should be talking about the fight yet far too often we are talking about how lousy referees have been in big time fights. And when HBO’s crew tried to talk to referee Joseph Cooper after the fight, they were prevented from doing so. This has happened far too often this year and something has to be done about this. If a referee is bold enough to make such a controversial call, then he should be man enough to give an interview RIGHT AFTER the fight explaining why he took 2 points away from Khan without really warning him. Fighters are always held accountable for what they do in the ring and it should be no different for judges and referees.
Now I’m not going to go after the judges all that much because this was a close fight and it could have went either way. But those two points were the difference in this fight and if not for those bogus, BS point deductions and the missed knockdown in the first round, Khan would have retained his title.
Lamont Peterson has now resurrected his career and he could now either fight Khan again, Timothy Bradley or several other contenders at 140lbs. He said that he would be willing to give Khan a rematch, so who knows what he may do. He fought with tremendous will and heart tonight and I look forward to seeing him fight again, no matter who he fights.
As for Khan, obviously this was a MAJOR setback for him because he was considered as a potential opponent for the best fighter in the world, Floyd Mayweather. Even thought I thought Khan won this fight by a point tonight, he was exposed tonight as someone who still struggles with pressure fighters who goes to the body. Now he did recover and he showed that he has the heart of a champion because he rallied when he got into some trouble just as he did with Marcos Maidana last year, but still he didn’t use his jab enough tonight which could have made things easier for him. One more observation of Khan: He looked a bit weak fighting at 140lbs. and I believe he would be wise to move up to welterweight. Even thought I thought he won most of the later rounds, he didn’t sit down on his punches and land the vicious punches that were accustomed of seeing from him. As for future opponents, he could fight Peterson again or maybe Juan Manuel Marquez (if Marquez doesn’t fight Manny Pacquiao for the 4th time) or if he moves up to welterweight, he could fight the winner of the Andre Berto/Victor Ortiz rematch. Khan will learn from his mistakes and will be a better fighter down the road once he works on his flaws.
Seth Mitchell could be the man who could someday dethrone the Klitschko brothers
Earlier I mentioned that I was more interested in the co-main event because the heavyweight division, with the exception of the Klitschko brothers, is mostly filled with recycled road kill so tonight I wanted to see if the former Michigan State football star-turned professional fighter, Seth Mitchell could be the guy who could someday challenge for the heavyweight title and based on what I saw tonight, he could be the guy that could get the job done. Mitchell (24-0-1 with 18 KO’s) scored an impressive second round TKO over Timur Ibragimov (30-4-1 with 16 KO’s). After a knee injury prevented him from playing football (he’s had 7 knee operations), Mitchell took up boxing at the age of 20, which is very late to start boxing but if you’ve only seen him fight for the first time, you would think he’s been fighting since he was a young kid.
Mitchell dominated the first round with good body shots and some good right hands and he also ate a few right hands from Ibragimov as they mixed it up. In the second round, Mitchell rocked him with a crisp left hook and he followed it up with some good body shots and some lethal right hands that drove him into the ropes. Seth poured it on and continued to land hard shots which forced the referee to step in and stop the fight. What I liked about Mitchell is that he was very patient, he threw short, accurate shots and when he got his man hurt, he threw body shots and he finished him off, not by throwing wild shots like so many fighters do, but he moved in and took his time and he still got him out of there. The only thing that would concern me is that he did absorb several right hands, but to his credit he shook them off like rainwater so we know he can take a good shot and that’s not a bad thing. And also, he’s not a one-two fighter (yes, I’m taking a shot at the Klitschko brothers), he throws left hooks, uppercuts and hard body shots.
As for what’s next for Mitchell, I’d like to see him fight some of the bigger heavyweights such as Dereck Chisora or Robert Helenius sometime next year and based on what I saw tonight, I believe he would handle himself quite well against either of them and that would prepare him for a potential showdown with either Wladimir or Vitali Klitschko down the road. It’s been many years since there’s been a US Heavyweight that boxing fans really want to pay money to see. Could Seth Mitchell be that guy? Time will tell but one thing is for sure, I can’t wait to see him fight again.
In all, this was a good night of boxing even though the main event was marred with controversy, but this has been how things have went this year in many main event fights. Hopefully next year we will be talking more about the actual fighters who risk so much when they step into the ring instead of how deplorable referees and judges have been this year. I can only hope.
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