By Jake Donovan
With the rejection of Golden Boy Promotion’s appeal for the International Boxing Federation (IBF) to order an immediate rematch between Lamont Peterson and Amir Khan came the assumption that plans for such a bout were dead in the water.
All it meant was that a different approach needs to be taken in hopes of receiving a ruling in its favor.
The ruling sought by Golden Boy was that the IBF would see enough controversy on the officiating side from the December 10 title fight thriller to justify a return go before either fighter thought about looking in another direction.
“Golden Boy sent in a request to order an immediate rematch in accordance with Rule 5(k),” states, Daryl Peoples, IBF Ratings Chairman. “We looked at the DVD that they sent us and reviewed the scorecards. Based on that alone, we didn’t think there was reason to order an immediate rematch.”
Golden Boy cited rule 5(k) of the IBF Championship Rules which states, “The Championships Chairman and the President, in their discretion, may direct two contestants to engage in a rematch for the Championship within a prescribed time.”
Also included with the appeal was a copy of the December 10 fight itself, in which Khan was deducted two points from referee Joe Cooper, whose officiating performance was widely criticized. Without the deductions, Khan would have successfully retained his unified titles by narrow unanimous decision.
The appeal is similar to what occurred in the days following the controversial August bantamweight title fight between Abner Mares and dethroned champion Joseph Agbeko.
Mares won the title via majority decision, one mired in controversy due to the poor performance turned in by referee Russell Mora. The veteran Nevada official missed numerous low blows in the bout, and would later admit that it wasn’t his best night in the office, though standing behind his performance at the time.
An immediate appeal was filed by Don King, Agbeko’s promoter, providing evidence that went beyond subjectivity, enough to where it was a no-brainer for the IBF to order a return go.
The difference for the December 10 super lightweight bout between Peterson and Khan, is that any take on Cooper’s performance was more along the lines of subjective, therefore open to interpretation. While there was stark criticism over his docking points in situations where most refs would’ve turned a blind eye, there’s legal precedence for the third man acting the way he did.
With that in mind, the IBF had no choice but to deny the appeal on the grounds in which it was filed.
However, there is another way to secure a rematch if Golden Boy wants to do things by the book.
“While their appeal to have an immediate rematch ordered was denied, they are still free to file a formal appeal to request a rematch,” Peoples explains.
The difference between the two is the IBF approving a request for what functionally becomes an optional defense. The loophole in that is the sanctioning body throwing its support behind an agreed-upon bout between former titlist Zab Judah and undefeated contender Vernon Paris, in which the winner becomes the mandatory challenger.
Khan already satisfied his mandatory obligation in facing Peterson, who in turn is not scheduled for a mandatory defense until September 10, 2012. The newly crowned titlist is free to take on anyone else currently rated in the Top 15 of the IBF ratings while a mandatory challenger is decided in the forthcoming bout between Judah and Paris.
The new ratings have not yet come out, though there stands a chance that Khan will be ranked high enough to be deemed an acceptable optional defense. Most former titlists are normally accepted as an exception even in the event of a mandatory challenge being due.
Khan would fall under this category, though it depends on two things: Peterson agreeing to terms for such a fight, and Golden Boy filing the correct appeal.
“They haven’t done so at this present time,” stated Peoples, indicating that a window remains for the amount of time they still have to file such an appeal.
Phone calls made to Golden Boy Promotions seeking comment were unsuccessful, though the company has scheduled a media conference call on Tuesday, on behalf of Khan to discuss the controversial nature of the December 10 bout.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]