By Rick Reeno
Boxing promoters Ricky Hatton and Frank Maloney spoke simultaneously with BoxingScene.com about Amir Khan's decision loss to Lamont Peterson. Last Saturday in Peterson's hometown of washington, DC, Khan was on the losing end of a close split decision, with identical scores of 113-112 in Peterson's favor, while a third judge scored it 115-110 for Khan.
The key factor in the scoring was referee Joe Cooper deducting two points from Khan for repeated pushing.
Because the fight was a mandatory defense, Peterson is not obligated to grant Khan an immediate rematch. There is nothing preventing Peterson from defending his new IBF/WBA junior welterweight titles against another opponent.
Hatton and Maloney respect Khan's desire to defend his title in the challenger's backyard, but they both agree that Khan's management team should have known better and set themselves up for disaster.
BoxingScene.com: Do you agree with the referee taking two points from Khan?
Hatton: Maybe yes and maybe no. As much as Amir is a real good friend of mine, I have to say that the best man won. You have to admire Amir Khan for traveling to the United States to fight in Peterson's backyard but it backfired.
But Amir will come back, he's come back before. He came back after Breidis Prescott. He doesn't have a lot of miles on him.
BoxingScene.com: There has been a lot of negative press in the UK, criticizing Amir's decision to fight Peterson in his hometown without the comfort of a neutral referee or neutral judges.
Hatton: That's the team's decision. It's hard enough coming over to America and fighting Peterson. But to do it in his backyard. I admire Amir for doing it because I would fight anyone and I didn't care where it was. Boxers do that, it's up to the team to make those decisions [on where the fight takes place]. Sometimes you have to take the fighter's arm. A fighter will fight anywhere. When I was a fighter, I wanted to fight Kostya Tszyu three years before I fought him, but if I would have fought him three years before I fought him he would have killed me.
Maloney: What I don't understand in that situation, because I used to come here with [Lennox] Lewis, and we always insisted on netural judges.
Hatton: I don't blame the referee. He came to America, to his backyard. The officials are from his backyard. The referee is from his backyard. That's not Amir's fault, it's the team's fault.
Maloney: They should have gone to purse bids. Khan doesn't have one boxing person on his team. That's the problem. You need at least one experienced boxing person on your team. I had a great teacher. I had Dan Duva.
Hatton: You can't learn this game in five minutes. It takes years to learn it. When I became a promoter and I fought in Manchester stadium, I worked with Frank because I knew that I needed a little bit of help. You need to walk before you can run. I just think bad decisions all the way - from the officials, to the venue.
BoxingScene.com: Do you believe there was too much focus on Amir fighting Floyd Mayweather Jr. in May?
Hatton: That should be more incentive to beat the fighter in front of you. I don't see anything wrong with it. I always used that [a bigger name] as my incentive. I just think it wasn't his night. But to fight him in Washington, in his backyard, I don't think it was the best move to be honest with you.