Khan Vs Peterson – Forget the Drama and Fix the Style!

by Fran on January 7, 2012

Amir Khan Vs Lamont Peterson
10th December 2011
WBA/IBF Light Welterweight Title
Convention Center, Washington DC


Following on from the MyBoxingCoach scorecard on the Pacquiao/Marquez fight in November, this article is my interpretation of what was quite a controversial match between Amir 'King' Khan and Lamont 'Havoc' Peterson for the light welterweight championship. I have maintained a focus on highlighting the key strategic and tactical factors in play from the fighters, and obviously given the controversy around the performance of the referee Joseph Cooper I cannot avoid bringing his performance into the assessment.

It has to be said I did enjoy this fight. There was a clear distinction between the approaches of both fighters, in many ways the classic 'boxer/fighter' match up, even though Peterson brought to the ring some quite accomplished skills and achievements so maybe calling him the 'fighter' is a little unfair. In case you want to watch the fight (either before or after checking out the analysis), I've included a link to the wonderful SoSoBoxing.com boxing video site. This link is at the end of the article.

As with all articles on the MyBoxingCoach site, my contribution is intended as only the starting point. I know that within this community we have some real discerning, bright, smart boxing people who tend to offer such nuggets of enlightenment that it makes my efforts worthwhile. So, please do let me have your thoughts as to the fight or any related matter in the comments section below.

Round 1

A very interesting start with Khan roughing Peterson up right from the opening bell, looking to stamp his authority early. Peterson is firing back but is doing so with single,power-focused shots. The footwork from both is subtle, with each looking for that ideal range (see Range Finding in Boxing). We can see early also that Peterson is very much looking to land booming body shots, but Khan seems to be the brighter with his effective feinting providing a good basis for phased attacks. The first controversy of the night hits us, or more appropriately doesn't hit Peterson. The home town fighter visits the floor twice, with the second being classed as a knock down by referee Cooper. This seemed arbitrary to me; neither was a knock down! However, I've opted to accept the referee's count and scored the knock down.
K 10 - P 8

Round 2

Khan works well from the outset of round 2. He uses combinations and seems to accept the fact that Peterson is going to march forward. However, and this is the first area of concern for me, Khan appears to be in such a rush to throw fast flurries that his feet appear unsteady toward the end of the exchanges. Peterson is boxing in what is, it has to be said, a one-dimensional way; plodding forward with single shots. But, and this is something that we observed during the Khan versus Maidana fight, Peterson has no fear at all of the Khan punch power. His objective is to get up close, it doesn't matter how, he just wants to get inside with Khan. Why? Because Khan's continuing flaw is his utter inability to fight on the inside. The round is closer than the first, but Khan edges it for me.
K 10 - P 9

Round 3

Khan continues his fine movement, both foot and head. There's no denying the young man's boxing ability, he's smart, fast and fluid. His use of the right uppercut has obviously been identified as a key tool to use against Peterson, he lands an absolute gem in this round. But, Peterson becomes more aggressive, hammering away to the body and switching to the head. A much better round for Peterson, so much so that he nicks it for me.
K 9 - P 10

Round 4

The 4th round seemed to me to be a story of inaccuracy from both fighters; many of Khan's shots sailing over Peterson's head whilst Lamont's smashed into Khan's guarding arms. The work of note was again Peterson's infighting and Khan's use of the slip outside with the long range right hook. The round was just too close for me to call anything other than even.
K 10 - P 10

Round 5

I really felt in this round that Peterson lacked any kind of original ideas on breaking Khan down. His plodding forward seems tailor-made for Khan's shoot-and-scoot tactics. He stalks Khan but Khan is landing shots fairly constantly. None of Khan's shots are likely to cause any significant damage to Peterson, but he is scoring.
K 10 - P 9

Round 6

This is the first round in which the referee makes any observable, visible reference to Khan pushing with both arms. The pattern of the fight continues, Peterson looking to target Khan's body whilst Amir moves well and picks his shots. Peterson lands a really good right uppercut, and this is the first serious punch landed from either guy for quite some time. Even though Peterson landed this shot, I still think that Khan's work rate is higher and he is landing. Khan edges another close round.
K 10 - P 9

Round 7

Peterson is more driven this round. He begins to rough Khan up in a big way and at one point pretty much sprints after the Brit. Peterson's short range hooks and uppercuts work really well, and Khan's key weakness is that he provides no threat at this range. If you aren't skilled-up enough to fight at close range in the pro ranks then you have to have the kind of knock-out power that will deter fighters from rushing on (think Thomas Hearns). Unfortunately for Khan, he just doesn't bring that kind of punch power to the ring. Khan actually talks to the referee when he is up close. Should a boxer's infighting tactics involve whining to the third man?

Cue the next controversy. Referee Cooper deducts a point from Khan for pushing. This for me was wrong, but not for the reason you might think. Khan was pushing with both arms, from as early as the second round. This is a foul. But, the referee for me did not issue clear warnings to Khan that he would deduct a point. I'm not talking about the referee talking to the fighters as they box, I'm talking about him stopping the action at least twice and telling the offender that he is committing a foul and should stop, or else. Think Mills Lane. No ambiguity, no doubt, continued fouling will result in a deducted point. Fighters sacrifice too much to not deserve clear communication from the referee.
K 8 - P 10

Round 8

As I've said before, Khan opponents see the benefit from closing him down and bringing it up close. Peterson basically works Khan over in this round, rushing in without too much finesse but then using good quality short range punching to great effect. Amir looks for favours from the referee rather than thinking about tightening up the guard and hammering back with safe, short punches before moving back to long range. I refuse to believe that a fighter of Khan's undoubted ability, with the team he has around him, cannot devise simple tactics for being up close.
K 9 - P 10

Round 9

Really good round for Khan this one. His continued use of the right uppercut catches the eye, a shot that has paid dividends all night long. Whilst Khan struggles with Peterson's approach up close, he simply dominates at long range and even looks like he has Peterson hurt quite bad at one point. Really solid round for Khan.
K 10 - P 9

Round 10

Peterson's simple tactic of rushing down on Khan returns, although at this point in the fight he is visibly tiring with each shot he throws. Khan for me is just far too busy for Peterson at long range. His rather disconcerting chatter to the referee continues. Surely his energy would be better spent looking to bring together the basic ingredients of a solid infighting strategy (you know, defensive blocks and short range hooks and uppercuts). Khan's conditioning is very, very impressive by the way, really outstanding.
K 10 - P 9

Round 11

Deep into the championship rounds now, and both are tiring, Peterson more noticeably than Khan. Up to now Peterson has simply been a little rough-house with his head (this is professional fighting after all) but in this round he seems to be more dangerous, likely a result of his increasing fatigue levels. In fact, in this round Khan's whining to the referee has an impact as Mr Cooper orders Lamont to keep his head up. The pattern remains the same; Peterson chases (forlornly for me) and Khan peppers him with scoring shots rather than shots that are likely to test the chin of his adversary in any serious way. Khan's higher work rate wins out for me again here.
K 10 - P 9

Round 12

A rather uninspiring closing round, with Khan again edging the encounter. However, referee Cooper again deducts a point from Khan, and again the protocol of his actions are inappropriate. Some may say "But the referee talks to both fighters as the fight progresses, isn't this enough?" Well, as usual my sound was down, but that is irrelevant. Think about the situation. You have a highly trained opponent in front of you looking to knock you out and take from you everything you have worked for. Is it the responsibility of the boxer now to hear every little word mentioned in the ring? With all due respect, the referee could question Khan's manhood in this way and the fighter could very well miss it.

The boxer is entitled to be told in no uncertain terms that he or she will be losing a point if they continue to foul. A timeout could be called to emphasize the seriousness of the situation.

Anyhow, Khan edged a largely forgettable round (in terms of actual action) and the deducted point makes it an even round.
K 10 - P 10

So, the MyBoxingCoach scorecard is as follows (and by the way, no one is standing over me now 'advising' me how to record these figures):

Amir Khan - 116
Lamont Peterson - 112

For me Khan should still be world champion, and by a quite convincing margin. Even with the deducted points I had Khan winning by a 4 rounds. But, boxing judging is largely subjective and is therefore open to often wild interpretation. Would I be upset if I was in the Khan camp? Absolutely I would. Lamont Peterson is very fortunate to be a world champion. The standard of the referee's performance left a lot to be desired, it was pretty dire. It's likely that a rematch will take place, and this is a just way forward.

But, and on a final note, I remain absolutely staggered that Amir Khan remains fundamentally weak on the inside. I think the team at the Wild Card gym need to spend some serious time working on his close-range tactics. Khan is in my opinion one of the best movers/shoot-and-scoot specialists in world boxing, but maintaining those tactics for 12 hard rounds of fighting is quite simply the objective of a deluded mind. Team Khan need to earn their corn and get their fighter prepared for the rough-house world of professional, close-range fighting. If not, then his potential will remain unfulfilled.

Would love to hear your thoughts.

Amir Khan Vs Lamont Peterson on SoSoBoxing.com

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Mark February 11, 2012 at 6:10 am

Also a brief response from Terry’s comment: You are exactly right, as far as my memory serves me. Big George Foreman, at least in his comeback, would push opponents away multiple times every round it seemed. As Jim Lampely, Harold Letterman, and what’s his name, the old guy (I must be getting old), and Max Kellerman stated, technically it’s illegal, but they had never witnessed it in a major fight or any fight. Technically, lowering your head and leading with it and pushing your opponent against the ropes is illegal as well, as are many, many other things, but are either disregarded unless done multiple times every round, or clearly warned that a point will be deducted the next time it happens whether an amateur or professional fight. Also, Joe cooper, missed several low blows and gave no warnings to Peterson, throughout the fight, repeatedly blamed and yelled “Khan let go” because Peterson was leading with his head, and for these veterans to never have seen this happen, says it all. This referee should have been retired after this fight, albeit honorable, but was clearly biased. He also caused a 2nd first round knockdown, that may or not have been a knockdown, because he couldn’t move his fat body fast enough and evidently got tangled in Peterson’s legs as he was falling back, whether just stunned or knocked off balance, this could have been another knockdown but we will never know. The best ref’s you never know their names, and shouldn’t, or if do, only know their names because of their clear warnings or prevention of tie-ups but not point deductions. Anytime a referee is involved in three questionable instances, and more, and rarely seen two of them which he deducted points for, the referee needs to be at least thrown back to amateur fights.

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Mark February 11, 2012 at 5:57 am

Peterson, in his home town did fight effectively. He mainly connected to the body, with wide power shots when Khan was on the ropes. Not offering my own scoring opinion, I do know that Peterson would not have won if Khan wasn’t penalized 1 point in two rounds for “pushing” off. The final score cards had one judge 113-112 Peterson; 114-111 Khan; 113-112 Peterson. Fact. The other fact that in the 4th(or 3rd?) round the referee Joe Cooper, deducted one point for “pushing” off from Khan. In the final and last round he deducted another round, for “pushing off”.
This referee should be retired, if looked at by a legitimate commission. He did, before the first deduction, weakly comment to Khan about no “pushing down”-never pushing away, and never separated and actually made it clear to Khan of giving him a warning, or threaten to take a point away if it happened again. Never. He through the early rounds also remarked in the same way to Peterson, about having to “keep your head high”-because lowering your head can be a form of pushing someone against the ropes, and a potential headbutt if he should raise his head. Peterson did this almost every round throughout the fight, which may not be legal, but general is accepted by referees. The first point deducted from Khan was 100% wrong, and a total hometown referee, and prejudice decision, because Khan at that point had only been warned in passing of “Pushing down” on Peterson’s head when Peterson lowered it and maybe once or twice pushed him away, which happens in every fight. Then, without another clear warning, like instructing each fighter to briefly return to their corner, and giving a clear warning of a point deduction for the nest time of “pushing” from Khan, he clearly, without any justification, deducted the first point early in the fight. Then, again without any clear warning, though Khan had actually been occasionally pushing more by now, deducted another point again, in the last round! Despite Joe Cooper (the hometown referee, also black) letting Peterson (also black and from D.C) push his head down and into Khan’s chest almost every round, which pushed Khan into the ropes and was a real threat of a headbutt should he raise his head; and being warned the same way Khan was, and more times. The referee was corrupt, intentional or subconsciously. I have watched over 200 fights of both fighter ranked at least in the top five, and never have seen this penalty called. Never. In fact, due to the recent frequency of a couple of fighters leading with their heads down, any penalty should have been called against Peterson. Just another biased tragedy in the sport of boxing, although I believe Peterson showed heart, and could have gone either way without the point deductions. A shame, and should have made headlines in any paper that carried the fight, and the judge should have been temporarily suspended and interviewed by the sanctioning committee.

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Fran February 12, 2012 at 7:12 pm

Hey Mark. You make some very good points and also make some quite controversial points, all very welcome for a open and wide-ranging debate.

All things considered, I think that your final sentence is very telling. This was a real ‘fighter’s fight’, one for the boxing specialist and the fact that all of the headlines were regarding side-shows is unfortunate for all concerned. Khan and his camp must take some of the blame for that. Dave and Scott offered the other viewpoint, but we all agree it was a close fight that deserved nothing but positive headlines.

Anyhow, the return is on so maybe our focus can switch to that mouth-watering prospect. Will Joe Cooper be in charge? Being facetious there obviously! If you have your way he will be in charge of a WWF fight where the ref is, let’s say, less of a factor!

Thanks again Mark, some great views there. Much appreciated.

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Terry January 27, 2012 at 6:43 pm

Hello Fran,
Without going right into it I thought that Khan may have just edged the points in this bout.But in another vein does anyone remember George Foreman’s style of pushing.I haven’t watched big George’s fights for a long time but seem to remember him pushing his opponent into the “right”range constantly.Can’t ever remember him even receiving even a caution for these tactics though.
Another little story of general interest Fran is that Michael Katsidis is training in our Pcyc gym at the moment for a few weeks.He came in last week and signed up and said he was here for awhile to catch up with his father and “freshen”up his outlook.Hopefully he will inspire a few local kids to come and have a look and maybe sign up as clubs like ours in inland rural areas are reallly struggling.Good luck Fran.Terry

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Fran January 29, 2012 at 6:39 pm

Hey Terry. Yeah, thinking back Big George did spend a lot of time ‘putting’ opponents in the right spot to land those skull-crushing hammer blows. As I said in the article, I felt that the referee’s communication could have been better. In the amateurs Khan would have been reprimanded much more sternly, much more early. In the pros?

Onto Mr Katsidis. That’s great news for you and the team at your gym. Absolutely the boys can a) be inspired and b) learn some technical improvements and get a taste of the attitude required to be successful in the sport. It cuts both ways though, I’m sure that Michael will benefit greatly from being around you and your fellow coaches as well as the great kids that we are all fortunate to work with. Get the news out to the local kids, a top level fighter is coming to the gym in their town. Outstanding. I wish you all the luck in the world mate, I know you’ll be working hard to keep your gym thriving.

Top man. Thanks Terry

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Fran January 10, 2012 at 10:33 pm

Dave, Scott and Karl

Rather than reply individually, I wanted to add a couple of responses/thoughts in the face of the salvo of very well made points across the board (my God, what have we created!) I hope that this is OK.

I think that we agree on a whole host of considerations about the fight. Khan moved very well, Peterson fought very well on the inside whilst Khan most definitely did not, Peterson was the aggressor, the rounds were close and the Team Khan post fight antics have been less than welcome, in particular the disgraceful call to have the bout called a no-contest.

For the majority of rounds I just felt that Khan threw more and landed more, just about. Peterson’s punches appeared more solid, but it has to be said that at the end of the bout, both guys looked like they had shipped their fair share of punishment. Should aggression be used as a measure of victory? Yes, but only in a fight were the round is simply too close to call. It didn’t feel like there were many of these rounds. Did Pernell Whittaker spend much time chasing people around the ring? No, but it didn’t stop him dominating his weight classes for years on end and becoming the ‘boxer’s boxer.’ This is why I always stick with the judgement of who landed the most shots, be it on the front foot or the back foot. By the way, I take no notice of the HBO ‘Punches Landed’ stat, load of baloney, but I’ll come onto that in a moment.

It’s interesting also that you guys feel that Roach will fix these infighting problems, I’ve read other comments where the poster feels that Roach is the wrong guy to do this. It has to be said, most of Freddie’s success has come with guys who excel at long range. Even Pac prefers to fight at distance, but he carries lump hammers in his gloves so opponents are understandably reluctant to rush him in the way Khan gets rushed.

At this stage, Khan is a one-trick pony, another way of describing Karl’s very well made point. Pro boxers fight on the inside, especially when tiring in the later rounds. So, if you have a natural inclination to infighting then you should dominate someone who doesn’t enjoy ‘phone booth’ fighting over the later rounds of a fight. There was a real balance between the guys during that phase, down only to the insane conditioning of Khan I guess.

Just on the ref, I just don’t feel that Khan was repeatedly warned. The ref may have chatted intermittently to Khan from the side lines, out of Khan’s line of sight. But, let’s remember that Khan had a very aggressive Washingtonian (if there’s such a word) looking to ice him in the blink of an eye. So, the ref could inform Khan that he was wearing women’s underwear and Khan could have been forgiven for missing it. It’s about effective communication. The fighter and ref need to make eye contact and the ref must tell the fighter what’s what. If this doesn’t happen then problems will occur.

Finally, I watched the fight on that link. It was on HBO. I just wanted to get a couple of things off my chest. Firstly, I want to meet the guy who decides what was a ‘power punch’ and what was not. From my recollections of my sparring as a youngster, in winters before central heating in council houses and boxing clubs, I remember being hit on the nose with a simple jab and feeling that someone had tore that nose off my face. I genuinely hope that the guy making that decision gets punched in the face at least once a week, just so that he can speak from a position of authority.

And lastly, I noticed that at the end of virtually every round, HBO showed a slow-motion replay of a Peterson punch landing, very rarely a Khan punch. I know that I’m leaving myself open here to the response “that’s because Peterson was the one landing punches”, but there were plenty of Khan shots that went unnoticed by the HBO director; subliminal messaging at work?

By the way Dave, any clues on these dramatic events?

Scottie, forget real wood floors; tiles are for life baby! 😉

Thanks boys, some brilliant contributions there, I really do appreciate the time that you spend putting them together.

Cheers

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Dave Waterman January 10, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Nice to read your take on the fight, Scottie. What with the exchange on Facebook and now myboxingcoach you might be doing a spot of overtime tonight!

You know that my opinion mirrors your own where this fight is concerned. I also agree that Freddie Roach has a wee bit of work to do but I think he’ll do it. After Khan’s loss to Prescott (that Fran discusses elsewhere on this site), and his subsequent messing about with Dean Powell as a coach, Freddie Roach got hold of him and fixed some of the basic errors he was making then. Particularly his dropping his right hand and exposing his chin whenever he threw a jab – a mistake Prescott exploited in dramatic fashion.

I think Roach will arrive at the rematch with a more rounded fighter and Khan won’t make the same mistakes against Peterson again. I would expect Khan to recover his titles- at least Peterson will achieve a better payday than he did in the first fight.

But if the whisper on the street is to be believed there are some dramatic events yet to surface from the Khan Peterson fight.

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Scott Hamilton January 10, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Allrite Fran!

Excellent analysis as always, great to hear your ‘take’ & I like the way it is broken down round by round…

Now, I believe (for the time being!) the Championship is in the correct hands, this could be due to a whole host of factors…

Firstly I think the way Khan has handled the loss has been poor to say the least, o.k to lose, especially at that level, losing your titles etc must be devastating but the manor in which Team Khan & Golden boy have used every possible excuse to have the decision declared a no contest is wrong.
Now voicing his belief respectfully that he believed he won the fight whilst also giving credit to his opponent would be expected, but on programmes such as Ringside he paid no respect to his opponent & the manor in which he exploited Khan’s weaknesses, fought a great fight, getting his tactics right…showed great heart, determination & picked his shots well, bringing the uppercut & hooks into play, doubling up both body & head & pushing Khan back to the ropes, exactly were he doesnt want to be!…
Khan’s inability (as mentioned) to fight on the inside, his obsession with ‘proving he has a chin’, he’s landing eye catching fast combinations but alot of the time his feet are still moving therefore he’s unable to discourage a strong opponent, (Maidana, Peterson) Khan looked tremendous in the first round, as he did in some others…the guy has tremendous ability, obviously & I’ve always been a fan but I believe he looked beyond Peterson…’dreaming’ of big nights against legends of the Welterweight division like Floyd Mayweather. This aspect of Khan’s ‘make up’ is also annoying to fight fans.
Does Khan deserve a rematch?…Hell, yes!! it was a good, hard fought, close fight & a return would be relished by all fight fans.

Did the right person win this fight?…Yes!..Lamont Peterson fought the fight he had to, to win & I believe he just about done that based on his inside work mainly…points that were deducted, should have been, the referee was correct to deduct the points as Khan was repeatedly warned but he could of made himself alot more transparent & it could have been done earlier in the fight rather than in the 12th & final round but also no knockdowns should have been scored against Peterson as they were not knockdowns!

Should it be declared a ‘no contest’…no!!! a contest certainly took place & if Amir feels although he won the fight, he should prove it in a rematch! Boxing is objective & the judges at ringside had Lamont Peterson winning the fight, end of!…Controversial decisions (if it was) happen in Boxing & using your ‘friends in high places’ to have it overturned leaves fight fans with a ‘sour taste’…settle it in the ring Amir!!

Khan’s style is perfect for the Amatuer game & based on amatuer rules I cant imagine many beating him as he would outscore probably all his opponents, dishing out standing counts for fun;-)!! but in the pro’s there is other things to consider, such as effective aggressiveness, Power of shots etc…

Maybe the aforementioned are my reasons for picking Lamont Peterson or maybe i’m letting my heart rule my head, maybe I like the ‘rags to riches’ story of Lamont Peterson, maybe I like the underdog coming out on top, maybe I dont like the idea of ‘powerful’ men in Boxing having a mans titles taken off him outside the ring that were won inside the ring???…

A rematch should be granted for Lamont Peterson’s titles & Amir can win them back in the ring but there are many things him & Freddie Roach need to work on before such a return fight…flaws in his armoury that were exploited by Peterson that night!

But hey, as always, it’s just my opinion!;-)

If any of this doesnt read well guys, I apologise…I’m currently meant to be laying Solid Wood Flooring not talking Boxing therefore, in a rush!!
Damn MyBoxingCoach!!! haha

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Karl-Heinz January 9, 2012 at 8:24 pm

“You should not have any special fondness for a particular weapon, or anything else, for that matter. Too much is the same as not enough. Without imitating anyone else, you should have as much weaponry as suits you.”
― Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings

Looks to me like Kahn failed to adjust to his opponent on this one. I think Kahn’s special talent is speed, movement and stamina. He’s very good at getting around to create angles and firing off combinations in flurries. No doubt this strategy allowed him to overwhelm all his very early opponents on points alone. He must have great confidence in this method because it has worked so many times, but, I think his previous success was his undoing in this fight with Peterson.

When you have great success with a particular weapon you are loath to give it up even when it obviously isn’t working. You will tend to call upon and use that weapon in every situation, even when another one is more appropriate. You always hang onto it with the ‘it HAS to work’ mentality. Why wouldn’t he think this? Historically, Kahn fires off his flurries and he can see the effect, the opponent doesn’t crumble right away but he can see the cracks starting to appear, all he needs to do is keep moving around quickly and landing those punches in bunches.

However, I think Kahn became a little confused here. He didn’t see the cracks starting to appear when he expected them. Instead, Peterson shook off the flurries and kept charging ahead, wanting to get nose to nose, wanting to land the big punch. There were many spots where Peterson seemed to have no respect for Kahn’s ability to hurt. Running after him, staying in his face, constant pressure (just like Maidana). Kahn should have realized this and gone to war on the inside.

There comes a time when you fight fire with fire just to gain some respect from your opponent. Kahn didn’t do that as far as I could see. He began well but when it appeared to have no effect on Peterson’s mental attitude he didn’t adjust properly, instead he tried to turn up the intensity of his original strategy, but remember ‘too much is the same as not enough’. This caused his technique to fall apart, several times he lost his footwork and threw punches off balance. Several times he tried to physically push Peterson out into the range he was more comfortable with. Several times he tried appealing to the ref as if he could somehow make Peterson fight the way Kahn wanted him to. And why? Because Kahn has a ‘special fondness’ for his particular weapons. He’s not willing to switch to a gritty inside fight even temporarily.

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tom January 9, 2012 at 7:17 pm

Have just re-watched some of Khan’s amateur fights and it seems to my unschooled eye that he actually used to be able to fight back at mid-range at least.
Do you think the fact he is lacking the skills in pros nowadays could be caused by his shift to heavier weights and ipso facto being in danger of getting more serious damage?
Just wondering…:) Thanks for any ideas.

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Dave Waterman January 8, 2012 at 10:41 pm

I had Peterson as the winner here, as did many others. Ben Doughty makes a very good claim for this outcome on his much discussed boxing threads on Facebook too.

But my opinion?

Of Khan: Firstly, he was a classy amateur (to state the obvious) but has failed to fully adapt as a professional. He still favours the long game, where as long as he commands the centre of the ring, turns lovely footwork to put himself on the outside of his opponent where he can throw the straight punches on target. At mid range he starts to run out of ideas and seems to become clueless as the action comes up close and particularly as he finds the ropes at his back. It’s here you would imagine he could employ his masterful footwork to turn his opponent. But as has been stated above, he stands too tall and square. For that reason he seems to have adopted an age-old tactic of pushing down on his opponent to tire him and render his attacking ability null and void. In this fight he was too blatant, too repetetive, and too constant in employing a tactic that is technically illegal. Other fighters get away with it because they’re subtler and don’t use it as a default defence up close as Khan did here.

Secondly, I think that Khan was too focused on his move to welterweight and a possible match with Floyd Mayweather. He made the very basic error of concentrating on his future rather than fighting the man in front of him.

Thirdly, Khan has had an up and down career. Up when he won Silver at the Olympics, down when Prescott flattened him in a round. Up when he dug deep and fought to the soles of his boots against Maidana then down again with his falling out with Sky TV. It seems he’s failed to impress since the Sky/McClosky debacle, what with the questionable end of the Zab Judah fight and now with a loss against Peterson. It’s not so much the loss (because us Brits love a loser….Bruno against Tyson 1; Benn against Eubank 1; Cooper v Bugner all spring to mind) it’s the way Khan’s team have dealt with it. Initially questioning the judge, then the mystery man at ringside. Many other fighters have been on the end of a dodgy decision (what about Delboy Chisora against Helenius last month?) but have swallowed that and boxed on. Not our Amir. It smacks of poor sportsmanship.

On Peterson: He boxed aggressively, in superior fashion and against the expected outcome. He deserved the win. It’s a mark of the man that he stated from the outset that he would grant Khan a rematch. That matters not since Khan and Roach’s grumbling have secured a mandatory rematch if not a no contest.

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tom January 8, 2012 at 6:35 pm

Hello Fran,

I have always been a bit confused watching pro fighters getting away with what would be completely apparent fouls in amateur boxing. I have even seen DLH practising pushing with Roach. Pushing, head down, pushing down, these all seem quite acceptable in pro fights.

Haven’t you covered these pro vs amateur “rule diffecences” in any of your articles? If not, aren’t you planning to do so?:)

Thank you and good luck in the new year

tom

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Fran January 8, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Thanks Tom. I suppose you will always get more rough and ready in pro fights. Maybe because it’s ultimately a business and very often the more rough-house, bloody tactics the better. What I think we all would have appreciated was the referee taking an amateur ref’s approach and making clear visual warnings. At international level the referee of an amateur match will only use three verbal commands; “box”, “stop” and “break.” Everything else, as you’re probably aware, is done with hand signals (it gets around the language barriers). Interesting idea on that article, I’ve made a note. I think we could probably get a few out of that one. Thanks again.

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Ken January 8, 2012 at 5:15 pm

Boxer vs fighter? Mr P got my vote;Kahn was retreating through many rounds,Peterson was RUNNING at him in 11, and Kahn shouldnt need to push him away unless Peterson was better.

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Fran January 8, 2012 at 9:44 pm

Fair point Ken, but simply moving forward does not win fights on it’s own. Boxing on the back foot is considered the more difficult of the boxing skills to master. Khan did land his share of punches, but when Peterson landed his shots were more commanding. And you are right, Khan was pushing Peterson away because he was not in a position to compete up close. He wanted to stay at long range, not matter what it took. Thanks Ken.

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Rich January 8, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Hey up Fran,

Good article.

I agree 100% regarding Amir’s inability to fight at close range. I was literally shocked at his complete lack of very basic infighting skills. After just a few of months training most novice boxers would at least have some idea how to fight at close range. I watched the fight with my 12 year old son, and was asking what Khan was doing wrong. With a couple of hints, he pointed out that Khan’s feet were too close together, that he should have dropped his body weight down (lower centre of gravity) to maintain his balance etc and that he was generally off balance and not in a position to punch with any authority.

I can’t help thinking a new trainer could be the way forward – at the very least he needs to get plenty of rounds sparring working on his inside game againsts decent inside fighters. Clearly he’s not comfortable fighting at close range, but at least if he can learn how to defend himself effectively at close and capitalise when the opportunity presents itself, he will be much more successful.

Rich.

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Fran January 8, 2012 at 9:41 pm

Spot on Rich, and to just add to that. When fighters tire, they go up close. So, if you are adept at fighting up close you have a key advantage. If you are only adept at hitting and moving then your odds are not good. Low center of gravity, aggressive short range response when each incoming shot is blocked, slight foot adjustments to make it difficult for the opponent to land uppercuts and the use of the pivot. All simple things, so why is he not doing them? It’s often considered that amateur boxers shouldn’t bother to learn how to fight up close, instead firing off long range shots. To my mind, it would be foolish for a boxer, amateur or pro, not to understand the basics of fighting at close range. It’s a real oddity that he hasn’t worked on that aspect of the game. It has to be said, it’s the responsibility of the trainer to deal with this. Cheers Rich.

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Paul Smith January 8, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Nice analysis and Happy New Year Fran.
I saw the fight and thought the ref was the most inept and useless official I’d ever seen. His ‘hands off’ approach was disturbing and I did think however, like you, that he was neglient in not warning Khan sooner about the headlocks. I personally thought if the ref had any good sense at all, he would have taken even more points way from Khan.
Too bad Amir got robbed, but he did get away with a lot of pushing and headlocks in this fight. There was no questioning his (Khan’s) conditioning though and Peterson’s fatigue. His lack of understanding the fact that he was literally giving points away to Khan, by just walking into scoring shots, had me frustrated. The only thing worse than that strategy, was the final decision.
As it is, thank you for your fighter’s insight and the lesson about in-fighting.
I look forward to the rematch and think Khan should win handily.

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Fran January 8, 2012 at 9:35 pm

You’re right Paul, based upon the number of infringements Khan could have ultimately been disqualified. However, with a clear warning from the ref ahead of a point being taken the fighter may have stopped doing it. Depends how habitual the act has become in training I suppose. Not a good tactic though for me, does nothing except risk point deductions and bring the guard away from the home position.

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