'Mystery man' statement slims chances of Khan-Peterson re-match
The mystery man in the hat explained himself on Wednesday and in so doing made it easier to understand Amir Khan's last minute decision to pull out of his appeal to the IBF for an immediate world championship re-match with Lamont Peterson.
Mustafa Ameen, whose presence at ringside in Washington had been cited in TV highlights by team Khan as potential interference with the scorecards, had prepared a detailed statement for Wednesday’s hearing.
Mystery man: Mustafa Ameen (left) in the ring after the fight
Since Ameen is one of their own officials, it would have been almost impossible for the IBF to overturn the split decision which cost Britain’s Khan his unified light-welterweight titles, however controversial the circumstances.
Ameen not only justified his attendance at the fight but was ready to reinforce with TV evidence his claim that he had no contact with the three judges, who were on different sides of the ring.
Khan will be suspicious of Ameen’s insistence that he merely helped an unwell WBA supervisor, Michael Welsh, tally the submitted round-by-round scores correctly, especially since that organisation have ordered a re-match.
Khan-spiracy: Amir Khan's camp had demanded an immediate re-match
However, it would have been difficult to prove any wrong-doing in the wake of this comprehensive rebuttal issued by Ameen through his lawyer, the renowned New York boxing attorney Michael Marley…
OFFICIAL STATEMENT OF ‘MYSTERY MAN’ MUSTAFA AMEEN (Released through his attorney, Michael Marley)
I voluntarily came forward to testify in the IBF hearing on the Amir Khan-Lamont Peterson title bout which was supposed to be conducted Wednesday in Newark.
After arriving in New Jersey, I was disappointed to hear that Khan promoter Golden Boy had withdrawn its demand for such a hearing as to the controversial Dec. 9 title bout in Washington, DC.
You may recall that I was subjected to completely false allegations and innuendo as to my conduct at this event.
I was ready to put the facts into the record, under oath at the hearing, but now I won’t have that chance.
Briefly, here are the facts as to my involvement in this matter:
1 I never did anything illegal or even unprofessional while I was seated in the officials section at ringside.
2 I was properly admitted and credentialed for the event by the promoter after a request from the IBF. I have long been associated with the IBF in terms of assisting boxers who need a hand up and not a hand out. My efforts on behalf of such boxers with the IBF have always been done voluntarily and I have never received a single dollar for this work. In fact, I pay all my own expenses as to air travel and anything else in this activity. I do it because I love boxing and boxers.
3 I never tampered with, changed or altered any official scorecard before, during or after the Khan-Peterson title bout.
4 The WBA supervisor, Philadelphia CPA Michael Welsh, was seated next to me in the officials or technical zone and he told me he was feeling quite ill at ringside. He thanked me for handing scorecards over to him and helping him add them up. I merely double checked his addition at his request. I did this at his request but, again, I never altered or changed any marking made by any judge as to any single round or rounds or to any judge’s total scoring.
5 I never communicated during the bout with any of the three judges, all of whom were seated on a completely different side of the ring than the side Mr. Welsh and I were on. I did not use hand signals, smoke signals, notes or any gestures to communicate with any judge.
6 As an IBF offical, duly credentialed and admitted, I was in the ring when it was announced that Lamont Peterson had won. I was happy for Peterson and his manager Barry Hunter. I would have been in the ring and just as happy had Mr. Khan been named the winner. It was an excellent bout, highly competitive and good for the sport I love.
7 Allegations made by Freddie Roach, Khan’s trainer, about me being 'kicked out' of USA Olympic boxing training centers are completely false. I represent USA 2012 London Olympics heavyweight hopeful Michael Hunter (no kin to Barry Hunter) and Roach has seen me with Michael many times at various training facilities. I have never 'buzzed' any other boxer, amateur or professional. I feel that Mr. Roach has slandered me and I fully expect an apology from him for those false allegations.
8 I have been around boxing since the halcyon days of my friend, Muhammad Ali. I am quite friendly with respected people such as Manny Steward and the Klitschko Brothers. Michael Hunter and I have been involved in training camps with the Klitschkos and great trainer Steward. Another of my longtime friends in boxing is the highly respected Larry Hazzard, the former New Jersey boxing commission leader.
9 I will continue to work diligently, honestly and in a way that brings credit to boxing as I have always done.
I am no 'Mystery Man.' And I did nothing wrong.
Second chance: The WBA title could soon be vacant
With Ameen pulling that rabbit his hat and Peterson appealing against the WBA ruling, the prospect of Khan securing the re-match are receding again.
Even if the WBA stand by that decision Peterson is expected to surrender that title and defend the IBF belt against another opponent, possibly in a unification bout with WBC champion Tim Bradley.
That would leave Khan to fight for the vacant WBA title.