By John F. McKenna (McJack)
As if there were not enough controversy already in the December fight between former World Boxing Association (WBA) / International Boxing Federation (IBF) champion Amir Khan (26-2, 18 KO’s) and new champion Lamont Peterson (30-1-1, 15 KO’s) the plot continues to thicken. It was reported in The Telegraph today that there are fears for the well being of WBA judging supervisor Michael Welsh.
Welsh is one of the key figures at the center of the ever deepening controversy in the disputed split decision loss, that cost Amir Khan his title belts. Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer filed an appeal in December over what he and Khan felt were a number of irregularities that occurred during the fight. The fight was the first major match held in Washington, D.C. in over a decade.
The first major controversy was referee Joe Cooper’s handling of the bout. Cooper took the unusual step of deducting two points for shoving off by Khan. Amir stated after the fight that he was shoving off on Peterson because Cooper allowed Lamont to come in with his head down. Even long time boxing observers were surprised at Cooper’s point deductions.
There was also controversy surrounding the disappearance of the master score card after the fight. The missing scorecard later reappeared in pristine condition, leading Schaefer to suspect that it had been al tered. Most troubling was the “Mystery Man” seen on video talking to Welsh during the fight. The “Mystery Man” appeared to be interfering with Welsh and he could also be seen handing slips of paper at ringside. The “Mystery Man” was later identified as Mustafa Ameen. Ameen is also seen on video celebrating in Peterson’s corner after his victory.
When it was leaned that neither Welsh nor referee Joe Cooper were going to appear at the January 18 hearing Golden Boy withdrew their appeal, apparently believing that without the key players present to give their account of the happenings it was useless. Welsh has stated that he wanted to double check the score cards himself after the fight but he was told that the IBF officials had already left the venue.
WBA vice president Gilbert Mendoza has acknowledged that no one has been able to reach Welsh and that he is depressed and has personal issues. Meanwhile Ameen while saying he has nothing to hide complicated matters by acknowledging that he had made corrections in the score cards. The reality is that Ameen had no business being at ringside in the first place.
Boxing was beset by a number of highly controversial decisions in 2011. It would seem that if the major boxing commissions are serious about instilling integrity in the decisions being rendered by its officials than a serious review needs to be made of any controversial decision. Why wait for the aggrieved fighter to file an appeal?