What a terrible example to future generations: Disgraced Peterson is allowed to keep IBF belt
22:25 GMT, 13 August 2012
Lamont Peterson is being allowed to
keep his tainted IBF version of the world light-welterweight title he
won while on steroids for his fight against Amir Khan.
That disgraceful decision not only
draws another red herring across Khan’s career path but sets a terrible
example to young boxers and thereby heightens the risk of fighters being
badly hurt by an artificially strengthened opponent.
Peterson tested positive for drugs
prior to a scheduled return fight with Khan, which was promptly
cancelled. It was then revealed that the Washington boxer had a pellet
stuffed with synthetic steroids implanted in his hip before the first
Shambles: Peterson has been allowed to keep his belt, despite admitting he used steroids
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The WBA – immediately and properly – stripped Peterson and reinstated Khan.
Having prevaricated for months the
IBF have now re-confirmed Peterson as their champion. They have done so
on the flimsy say-so of one doctor that he was taking the drugs to
correct a hormone imbalance rather to enhance his performance.
That flies in the face of a vast body
of medical opinion and will appall the anti-drugs authorities in
America who are cracking down hard on steroid abuse in sport. The IBF
risk being discredited as they sanction a mandatory defence by Peterson
against Zab Judah.
Khan had hoped to 'tidy up' the
light-welterweight division before moving up to full welter but this
scandalous decision by the IBF complicates his life still further now
that Britain’s lone boxing medallist in Athens has finished supporting
his successors, who delivered at London 2012 the richest boxing medals
haul (three golds, one silver and a bronze) for more than a century.
A host of famous fighters came to
town to support the Olympic boxing – Evander Holyfield, Sugar Ray
Leonard, Lennox Lewis, Wladimir Klitschko and Barry McGuigan prominent
So, too, did Khan even though he
might have been excused for staying out of the public eye following the
bitterly disappointing KO loss of his world light-welterweight title
unification bout to Danny Garcia in Las Vegas.
/08/13/article-0-147211E7000005DC-691_634x440.jpg” width=”634″ height=”440″ alt=”No hiding place: Khan has made himself visible during the Games, despite his defeat to Garcia” class=”blkBorder” />
No hiding place: Khan has made himself visible during the Games, despite his defeat to Garcia
Khan admitted he was tired of playing
second fiddle to the great Manny Pacquiao at Roach's Wild Card gym in
Los Angeles, as well as on their joint trips to the Philippines. But he
says now: 'Freddie has told me I will become his No 1 fighter.'
The one remaining concern is the
style which left him open to the KO blow from Garcia: ‘Both Manny and I
have been developed as the best offensive fighters out there but we do
get hit by a lot of shots. I may need to work with someone else on the
defensive part of the boxing strategy.’
Well, this is supposed to be the noble art of self-defence after all.
Jury's out on judging debacle
The judges at the ExCel arena were never in contention for any kind of medals at the Olympics. Least of all gold. Certainly not in the eyes of the rest of the boxing world after the second controversy of the Games helped Anthony Joshua win the super-heavyweight title for Britain.
But there is a silver lining to all the controversies about their decisions.
The governing body of world amateur boxing, AIBA, have admitted they need to look yet again at a scoring system so convoluted that it finagles victories for fighters who are hardly given a round by the five judges at ringside.
The outrage at some of those decisions has led to the BBC being threatened with a law-suit for suggesting that medals were being bought by some in the amateur game’s Eastern European power bloc.
Also NBC, the official US broadcasters whose hundreds of millions of dollars are a vital part of the bank-rolling of the Olympics, had their commentators evicted for swingeing criticism of the judging.
Fabled trainer Teddy Atlas was among the American team told to put down their microphones and vacate their positions. They went home to New York to spend the last three days of competition giving their opinions in the studio as pictures were beamed in from London via satellite.
Controversial: Joshua was given the result on countback to seal his gold medal
The boxing was an unhappy experience all round for NBC, since the US men's team failed to win a medal in the ring for the first time in their Olympic history. But they made matters worse themselves by failing to screen live the gold-medal winning performance of their female middleweight, Claressa Shields.
Meanwhile disgruntled losers – in some cases rightly so – continued making more appeals than Stuart Broad when England’s bowlers are struggling to take wickets.
The majority of those protests were dismissed summarily but the uproar has forced the authorities to review the unsatisfactory situation which leaves the crowds In the arena and the world’s TV watchers unsure of who has won until hours later.
AIBA have modified the amateur scoring system since the scandalous robbing of Roy Jones Jnr by a decision in favour of a hopelessly out-classed but home-town South Korean in a final at the Seoul Olympics. But even striking off the two most extreme scores among the five judges still leaves the voting subject to abuse.
Despite their determination to keep the
amateurs at a distance from the prize-fighters they are considering
adopting now the system used by the professional game – a must
ten-points for the winner of each round and nine or less for the loser.
That method has hardly been free from
scandal and outrage itself. Of late, pound-for-pound king Manny
Pacquiao and our own Amir Khan have been the victims of outrageous
decisions. But in principle it is simpler and more transparent and does
hold each judge openly accountable for his scoring.
It has to better than the one out of ten which is the best mark anyone is giving to the judging at London 2012.
Points mean prizes: The amateur arena could adopt the scoring system used in the professional game
Former heavyweight Dokes loses final battle
One of the most talented but sadly under-achieving world heavyweight champions has died, aged only 54,
Michael Dokes was denied an Olympic place which would have crowned a stellar amateur career by Muhammad Ali (then Cassius Clay). He went on to hold the WBA world title briefly but his life imploded when he developed a cocaine habit.
A ten-year jail sentence in Nevada for a savage battering of his girlfriend was followed by a battle with cancer which ended at his old family home in Akron, Ohio on Sunday night.
Ultimate battle: Dokes succumbed to cancer after a lengthy illness
Mayweather v Pacquiao It's closer than you think
Only whisper it down here at the foot of this column but the first $200million fight – the one the whole world has been waiting years to see – just might happen next April.
Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jnr are closer than ever before to an agreement. The PacMan’s promoter, Bob Arum, identified the spring date during a summit meeting in the Philippines and believes that Mayweather’s close friend and potential new promoter, the rapper 50 Cent, will smooth the complex negotiation process.