Lamont Peterson dethrones Amir 'King' Khan
By Lee Skavydis
Amir Khan was forced to go back to the drawing board as Lamont Peterson ripped away his IBF and WBA light-welterweight titles at the Convention Center in Washington DC.
Khan started fast, jabbing Peterson and landing head combinations. It looked as if Peterson had been caught by a left as he went to the canvas but referee, Joseph Cooper ruled it a slip. Moments later in the final minute, Khan caught him with a right hand that sent the home town fighter down and up for the count. Peterson got up immediately and was ready to continue.
Khan had a good second round as he set up a rhythm of hitting with his fast combinations to the head and body and getting out of Peterson's range quickly, but it was the third that paved the way for Peterson's own game plan as he nailed Khan with an overhand right that forced the two belt champion to hold. Throughout the remainder of this round, Khan spent his time trying to survive, clinching and back peddling away from his challenger.
In the fifth, Khan attempted to get back in the fight but Peterson was landing more right hands to the head. Khan utilised the tactic of clinching his opponent and slipped to the canvas. Nearing the end of the round, it looked as if Khan found his rhythm once again.
In the sixth round, the Bolton boxer from England was settling back into his usual pattern of hitting with combinations and getting out of the way but Peterson had his fair share of success by landing more right hands to the head.
The seventh round saw Peterson begin to walk Khan to the ropes and one of only a few responses from Khan was to tie his man up, and both boxers set a fast pace in the final minute as Peterson began to furiously chase Khan and he scored with more rights. Cooper, after having warned Khan more than once for pushing, deducted a point.
The pressure was getting to Khan in the eighth as he began to look weary and Peterson was relentless in his determination. Khan complained to Cooper that Peterson was punching below the belt line but no attention was being paid toward him. By the end of the round, Khan was able to set up a partial rhythm.
A good right uppercut from Khan landed on Peterson's chin in the ninth but was hit with Peterson's own that made him clinch. Three successive right hooks were fired from Khan but it did not trouble Peterson, who continued to walk forward, but out of nowhere a big right hook rocked Peterson backward! However, nothing was stopping him on this night as he scored with yet another right back at Khan before the bell sounded. The war wounds began to show on Khan as he developed a welt under his left eye.
More complaining regarding low blows from Khan was voiced in the tenth but he grew enough confidence to back himself against the ropes and encourage Peterson to throw. Khan missed with a wild left hook that Peterson successfully evaded but he looked the fresher of the two at this point as the duration and intensity of the fight began to catch up with Peterson. Khan began to repeat what he did in the earlier rounds and landed with blistering combinations while avoiding Peterson's.
The right eye of the American was almost shut as he began to prepare for the final six minutes of his life, and he was able to, again, walk Khan to the ropes and land shots which made it all for the taking in the twelfth! The challenger started fast, knowing that he had to make a statement and impress the home crowd, and he began chasing Khan with great conviction once more. In the most crucial round for both boxers, Cooper once again deducted a point from Khan for pushing Peterson. Both boxers traded hooks, with Peterson finishing with another right to the head. Khan managed to land combinations in the final minute of the most curious round of the contest but missed majorly as the bell sounded to end an exciting and hard fought battle.
The boxers had to wait for over five minutes before the scorecards were read out, and Khan attempted to make a statement to the public that he should have rightfully won the fight by holding up his hands and vocally expressing that he is the champion, however, the three judges did not agree. Michael Buffer announced a split decision score of 113-112, 114-111 and 113-112 in favour of Lamont Peterson to the delight of the Washington DC crowd.
Peterson, humble in victory, said, "It was a tough fight. It couldn't have been a more perfect night. I was a big underdog. He was pushing a lot but I didn't mind. I would definitely give him a rematch. It was a good fight and I wouldn't mind doing it again."
"It was like I was against two people in there. The referee and himself (Peterson). I was the more cleaner fighter. I had to push him away because his head was so low. He did what he had to do. I am ready for a rematch", said Khan, obviously unhappy with the result and his treatment by referee, Cooper in the contest.
Post fight presser: