Inside Lines: Ringside Khan-spiracy theory that simply doesn't add up
Sunday 08 January 2012
First Watergate, now Khangate. Was what went on in Washington DC last month when Amir Khan lost his two light-welterweight world titles on a bitterly disputed split decision to home-town challenger Lamont Peterson a cock-up or a conspiracy?
The latter would seem to be the substance of the new allegations from the Khan camp, that a "mystery man" may have influenced one of the scorecards which marked Peterson the winner.
Sorry to blow this Le Carré-like theory apart, but according to the British Board's secretary, Robert Smith, the card in question was not one of the three collected from the ringside judges, but an unofficial one copied by the Washington State Commission. It seems that a mistake was made in the marking of round seven, in which Khan had a point deducted for pushing.
As Peterson also appeared to win the round, the score of 10-8 should have been in his favour but initially was wrongly marked to Khan on the copied card, and subsequently corrected.
Whether Khan lost the fight (which I scored a draw) fair and square is still open to debate only because of the referee's controversial points deductions. But that alone makes it worthy of a rematch, which Khan's Golden Boy promoters say one of the sanctioning bodies, the World Boxing Association, have now ordered.
The other, the IBF, are withholding a decision until they have concluded the inquiry Golden Boy have requested, but there is little chance they will declare the fight "no contest" with Khan keeping the titles. Even less likely is an admission that skulduggery was afoot.
I doubt anything dodgy went on with TV cameras capturing every move outside the ring as well as in it. If it did, it is a matter not just for the WBA or IBF, but the FBI.
No way Jose
One fight-game scenario surely worthier of investigation is how Floyd Mayweather Jnr, due to be incarcerated this weekend for hitting a woman, has managed to have the 90-day sentence postponed until June.
How convenient for the struggling casinos of Las Vegas, where it is now anticipated that the Money Man's long-awaited mega-bucks showdown with Manny Pacquiao (worth around $100m) is likely to happen on 5 May. Pushing hard for this is the portly poobah of boxing, Jose Sulaiman, the president of supposedly the most authoritative governing body, the World Boxing Council, who had this to say about Mayweather.
"Beating a lady is not nice, but it is not a major sin or crime. We [the WBC] should not touch his belt because we want him to fight Pacquiao, which is the fight that the world wants." Confirmation that Sepp Blatter does not have a monopoly on self-interest, crassness and sexism among global sports bosses.
Hard times for softball
Women's sport rightly complains of lack of recognition, and further evidence of this comes from one of the nation's most successful teams, the GB women's fast-pitch softball squad, who look likely to miss the World Championships in Canada this summer because they can't afford to go.
Among the top three teams in Europe, they have to decide by the end of this month whether to take up the place for which they qualified, but many are students who don't have the cash for air fares and accommodation, estimated at a total of £60,000. They have existed on donations but the money has now run out and UK Sport, who are now focusing entirely on sports that can win Olympic medals – softball has been dropped for 2012 – feel unable to help despite chief executive Liz Nicholl acknowledging that the girls have achieved more than some sports which receive funding.
Says the GB Softball manager, Bob Fromer: "These players deserve to be at the World Championships but sadly it is beginning to look like they won't get the chance. We need a miracle."
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