By Nick Parkinson, courtesy of The Daily Star
AMIR KHAN fears he could still miss out on a rematch with Lamont Peterson.
Khan has a series of complaints about his points defeat in Peterson’s home city of Washington with the latest being the presence of a mystery ‘man in the hat’ at ringside now exposed as Mustafa Ameen.
His camp yesterday identified Ameen, an off-duty official of the IBF world governing body [depending on who you talk to], and are now gathering evidence for an IBF appeal into the fight on January 18.
Khan, 25, lost his WBA and IBF world light-welterweight titles to Peterson after two judges scored the thrilling scrap to Peterson and a third for the Briton.
The WBA has demanded a rematch but Khan’s business manager Asif Vali is concerned the new champion could go in a different direction.
Khan’s training partner Manny Pacquiao is unlikely to fight pound-for-pound rival Floyd Mayweather Jr on May 5 and the Filipino is considering other options for a next opponent – and Vali claims Peterson is one of them.
He said: “The WBA have verbally said they will order a rematch but I’m not sure if it is nailed on because we believe Peterson has now signed for promoter Bob Arum.
Peterson may have been offered the Pacquiao fight as Arum promotes him too.
“The reality is there’s so much controversy over fight the honorable thing would be for Lamont to do the rematch. But we made the offer five weeks ago for a date in the middle of April, and we need to get a move on. It’s up to them now and we are waiting for the IBF appeal. Hopefully they will order a rematch like the WBA but we haven’t thought what we will do if we don’t win the appeal.
“Things are coming out all the time and I’ve just discovered that Ameen is also a manager of a heavyweight boxer from America called Michael Hunter.
“Ameen has worked for the IBF in the past but he was NOT officially supposed to be working at Amir’s fight in any shape or form.”
Khan’s demanding answers to why: ‘Man in the hat’ Ameen was pictured talking to officials, handling scoring slips and then inside the ring near Peterson as the Yank celebrated his win despite having no official job on the night.
Referee Joe Cooper deducted Khan two points for pushing.
The scorecards went missing for two days after the fight and George Hill’s had crossing out on it, changing the outcome of the fight.
And while Khan waits for the appeal, Peterson’s trainer and manager Barry Hunter is not committing to a rematch.
He said: “We would love to dance with Amir again. I thought it was a great fight but on the flipside of that we have to step back and see what’s best for Lamont, his career and the future of his child.”
“We’ve been in Amir’s shoes before. We fought Victor Ortiz, a lot of people thought Lamont won that fight, there were some people that thought he lost that fight, but nevertheless we took the road and took our time to get back to the level that we thought we deserved in order to fight.
“Somewhere down the line we would definitely love to do it again because it was such a great fight, but we want to take time out and try to let Lamont enjoy his accomplishment and then turn around and try to decide what the best business decision for Lamont.”
Richard Schaefer, of Khan’s US promoter Golden Boy, revealed the mystery man in the hat and then urged the IBF to follow the WBA’s lead and order a rematch.
“We have been informed by the WBA that they will order a rematch. We received verbal confirmation and we will get written confirmation by next Tuesday. I sure hope the IBF will follow, because that is the least they can do. The ruling of the WBA to order an immediate rematch should put additional pressures on the IBF.”