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Written by Ian Wallwork

Amir Khan loses his WBA and IBF titles to Lamont Peterson

Amir Khan lost his WBA Super and IBF titles last night when judges gave a split decision to challenger Lamont Peterson. A sold-out Convention Center watched Khan and Peterson go at it for twelve rounds but there was controversy when Khan was docked two points - points which would prove important.

Peterson was the underdog going into this fight, seen as another test in a path that would lead Amir Khan to Floyd Mayweather. Although we were warned not to underestimate the challenger - this is a man who came back off the canvas twice to score a draw with Victor Ortiz - many, including myself, still had Khan as the winner.

Things didn't turn out that way.

What Happened to Khan?

A better question is "what happened to Peterson?" The Washington resident looked sluggish in the first round and couldn't cope with Khan's speedy combinations and movement around the ring. Khan would buzz around Peterson, sting him with four punches and then get out of reach. It was the best we saw from Khan all night.

It wasn't until round three that Peterson could do anything. But when he did, he didn't mess around. He used bully tactics to force Khan against the ropes. Once there he sent hooks to Khan's body and followed with an uppercut and hooks to the head. He put this combination on repeat as though it were a special move on street fighter.

The transformation in Peterson between rounds two and three was incredible. We suddenly had a fight. It was edge of your seat stuff, with Khan showing us glimpses of his flashy technique and Peterson stalking him around the ring.

By round seven the match was anyone's.

Khan and Peterson before the fight, Khan serious and Peterson all smiles. It was the same after the fight too.

Do We Still Think Amir Khan Has a Glass Jaw?

Ever since his 2008 knockout loss to Breidis Prescott, Khan's chin has been questioned. Last night it answered.

When Khan moved, Prescott couldn't hit him. But to his trainer Freddie Roach's despair, Khan did not utilise what would have won him the fight. Too many times he got trapped against the ropes by Peterson, where he would take solid smacks to the chin. He was wobbled a few times, once so badly he got jelly legs.

He didn't look as close to getting knocked out as he did in the late rounds against Marcos Maidana, but for a while it looked like Peterson could send Khan to the floor. To his credit, Khan showed maturity, using the techniques Roach has taught him to keep himself out of major trouble. Khan was able to stay up.

The question of Khan's chin has been answered. But now there is another we need to ask:


Did Khan Give His Titles Away?

Despite how good Peterson was, Khan could have won. His strategy of movement and sharp bursts was good - Peterson couldn't deal with it. He couldn't keep it up though. Peterson's brute force and Khan's refusal to stick to his plan cost him the fight.

When the scores were read, Peterson was given a majority decision:

  • 113-112 Peterson
  • 114-111 Khan
  • 113-112 Peterson

For two judges, there was one point in it. There lies the controversy.

Khan was docked two points; one in the seventh round and the other, devastatingly, in the twelfth. Khan had been holding Peterson all night to avoid getting battered against the ropes. The problem was every time he clinched, Khan pushed down on Peterson's neck. He was warned again and again. By the time he got his second point taken off I was shouting at the TV for him to stop.

I can't complain about the decision. It always felt like the points were going to be taken because Khan just wouldn't listen.

Still, give back the two points and Khan retains his titles. We've got another controversy on our hands. Hopefully this one will only last until next Saturday, when Andre Ward and Carl Froch have the biggest fight of the year. It would be nice to remember a great fight for once, rather than a controversial decision.

I'll leave you with quotes from the men involved last night:

Amir Khan: "We all know who won the fight. Even a few of the commissioners came over to me and said that was a disgusting decision."

Lamont Peterson: "I knew this was a 12 round fight - not just three rounds - and I didn't get worried when I knocked him down in the first round." "....I will definitely give him a rematch, why not? He gave me a shot at his titles in the first place."