By Rick Reeno
WBA/IBF junior welterweight champion Lamont Peterson (30-1, 15KOs), and his manager/trainer Barry Hunter, are flying sky high after Friday's ruling by the International Boxing Federation (IBF).
Last Saturday night in Washington, DC, Peterson captured his titles with a close twelve round split decision victory over Amir Khan (26-2).
During their contest, referee Joe Cooper penalized Khan in the seventh and twelfth rounds for repeated pushing. The two penalized points would play a major role in the final scoring. Because of the point deductions, Peterson became the winner on two cards - with identical scores of 113-112. The third judge had Khan well ahead, with a final score of 115-110.
Earlier this week, Golden Boy Promotions, on behalf of Team Khan, filed an appeal with the IBF. The British superstar felt the referee's point deductions were unjust. The boxer requested an immediate rematch.
But to Khan's surprise, the sanctioning body disagreed with his position. The IBF denied Khan's appeal.
The IBF's decision is a major blow in terms of the negotiating leverage for Team Khan. Because Peterson was a mandatory challenger to Khan's title, there was no rematch clause involved.
Team Khan is far from finished with their pursuit of a Peterson rematch. On the table is a million dollar offer for a May showdown. Peterson can accept, or Peterson can accept an offer to fight someone else for more money, or Peterson can accept an easier fight for less money.
What is Peterson going to do? We may not know until early next year.
"Again, as I said after the fight on Saturday, I am truly proud to be the newly crowned IBF and WBA junior welterweight champion of the world. I also applaud the decision by the IBF and I look forward to doing everything in my power inside and outside the ring to represent the IBF and WBA as the new champion. For now I am going to take some time and enjoy the holidays with my family and friends," said Peterson.
Hunter agrees with his student. He wants Peterson to spend some time with family, and then the two of them will sit down to evaluate their options.
"We appreciate the decision of the IBF in recognizing that Lamont gave it everything he had, and won the world championship. It is not our style to complain about what goes on in the ring. We look forward to Lamont defending the IBF and WBA world championship belts for many years to come. As I have said all along, what we want is for this young man to take a week or so and enjoy his family and his accomplishment in the ring last Saturday, said Hunter.
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