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Written by Ian Wallwork

The controversial scoring of Khan vs Peterson

This year we've had the Agebeko vs Mares injustice, the Chisora vs Helenius robbery and the most controversial decision of the last 12 months - Manny Pacquiao vs Juan Manuel Marquez. It has been the year of the dodgy decision.

On Saturday three judges handed Amir Khan’s WBA Super and IBF belts to Lamont Peterson. Unlike most recent fights, the tallying of Amir Khan vs Lamont Peterson didn’t cause any controversy. Boxing fans around the world applauded the judges for their sound scoring and fairness. "At last", we said, "a fight with no controversy".

Yeah, right.

In fact, Saturdays fight carried on the 2011 theme of score-system fury, a condition that has characterized the last twelve months in boxing.


Why Do We Never Believe the Judges?

Boxing has one of the most subjective scoring systems of any sport. Think about football. If a team scores a goal, it is clear for everyone to see. The ball crosses the line and a goal is awarded. There isn’t much to moan about.

Imagine if you changed football’s scoring system. What if a panel of three had to judge each team’s performance – count completed passes and command of the pitch. We’d have a very different sport. Maybe the human error element of boxing is what makes it so appealing.

This is a key point to remember – judges are only human. They are three men or women watching the same fight as us at home, but closer to the action, and filling out a score sheet. They are as much open to the influence of flashy combinations and “Hollywood” shots that shake a boxer’s skull as we are. Their ears prick up when a fighter’s hometown crowd cheer their man’s landed punches. This is why “hometown decision” is so often cried when a boxer gets an unlikely win in his place of birth.

Did Lamont Peterson get a hometown win on Saturday? No, I am not suggesting that. But a lot of fans think he didn’t deserve his victory. 

I was given exclusive access to a judge's scoring sheet.

How I Scored Amir Khan vs Lamont Peterson 

First, there are the point deductions to consider. Did Khan deserve to have to points deducted from him for holding? I think yes – he was warned enough times. How often can a referee warn a fighter before he is forced to take some sort of action? It is like when a kid’s parents constantly give him threats but never follow through. The kid doesn’t learn his lesson and carries on his bad behaviour.

Here is how I scored the fight. Bear in mind it was 4am, and I had already been up for 21 hours. My judgement was even worse than usual.

Rounds 1 and 2: Khan set the pace. He came out fast and was in top shape. He moved around Peterson, stuck him with a combination, then skipped out of danger. Peterson couldn’t cope. In round one, Khan scored one knockdown, with an argument he got two. In round two he wasn't ass effective but he did enough to win.

20 Khan 
17 Peterson

Rounds 3 and 4: Peterson came out a different fighter in round three. He pressed Khan, bullied him into the ropes and landed home. Khan didn’t expect it, and Peterson wobbled him. He carried on more of the same in round four but Khan was wiser to it, but it was still a round for Peterson.

38 – Khan
37 - Peterson


Rounds 5 and 6: Freddie Roach must have reminded Khan of his gameplan, because the champion came out and reasserted his dominance. He made himself hard to hit and landed accurate shots. When Peterson landed, his shots were powerful but Khan still took both rounds.

58 – Khan
55 – Peterson


Rounds 7 and 8: Round 7 was a coin toss until Khan had a point taken from him but Peterson was active enough to take it. Round eight saw Peterson terrorise Khan, chasing him around the ring for three minutes. Another round scored for Peterson.

75 – Khan
75 – Peterson


Rounds 9 and 10: Both men stuck to their plans– Peterson trying to force Khan into the ropes at every opportunity and Khan skipping in and out. Khan did enough to take both rounds, though round ten was close.

95 – Khan
93 – Peterson


Rounds 11 and 12: Khan left his corner in the final rounds knowing he had to put on a show. Freddie Roach told his man he needed to put both rounds away – the fight was too close to leave anything to chance. By now, Peterson could taste the belts and when a man like him gets that taste, he is hard to beat. Peterson took round 11.

In the final round the fight was there for both of them. There was a sense in the crowd that something special was happening, and they were right. In round 12 the referee took another point from Khan, making a knockout essential for the Brit. He couldn’t get it.

Final Scores: 

112 – Khan
113 – Peterson


How Important Were Khan's Point Deductions?

It is simple really – two judges scored the fight 113-112. Give Khan back his two points and he takes his belts home with him. There is no question that the point deductions cost him the fight. What we need to ask is “Did Khan deserve his points deductions?”

I touched on it earlier, but that is a question I would need another hour of your time to answer properly. Instead, I want to know what you think – did Khan deserve to have points taken away from him, and how did you score the bout?