Boxing: Can Khan regain belts over Hat-gate?

Presence of mysterious man at ringside alongside title fight supervisor adds to Peterson win doubts

Amir Khan could get a late Christmas present of his world title belts back if the role of a mystery man in a hat sat at ringside during his defeat to Lamont Peterson last month is not satisfactorily explained.

Khan and his team have closely studied the fight, which took place in Washington DC on 10 December and have identified a man who arrives at ringside, allegedly without the correct accreditation, and then somehow manages to sit next to the World Boxing Association's official supervisor.

The man in the hat, who has been variously dubbed "Hatman", "the Fixer" and "the Smiler", sits quietly for a few rounds and gently shuffles his chair closer and closer to the supervisor's table. However, it all changes as the fight opens up and "Hatman" and Michael Walsh, the WBA's supervisor on the night, are in constant discussion from round six until the end of the fight; they actually miss whole rounds as they talk. This all takes place just a few feet in front of Khan's father, Shah, his business manager, Asif Vali, and Oscar de la Hoya, his promoter – none of whom attempted to evict the man or even question his right to be at ringside.

When the fight finished the same man appeared in the ring celebrating with Peterson, whose split-decision verdict benefited from the inexperienced referee taking points from Khan for fairly innocuous fouls.

Khan lost his light-welterweight titles by just one point on two of the final scorecards and the deductions by Joe Cooper, the referee, seemed harsh to many observers. At the fight's conclusion, De La Hoya said that the judging was not the problem and that the referee was the reason that Khan had lost.

The discovery of "Hatman" has shifted the focus from Cooper to the judging because it is Walsh's job to fill in a sheet, called a master scorecard, which contains the combined scores from the three judges at ringside. At the end of each round the referee collects the scores and then hands them over to an official at ringside, who was sitting on the other side of Walsh to "Hatman".

Khan and his people have made vague claims that "Hatman" tampered with the sheets – a disturbing and serious allegation. Vali confirmed that he has asked for and had not yet seen the original slips of paper.

"I just want to know what the man is doing there and who he is?" said Vali. There appears to be no disputing the fact that "Hatman" had no right to be at ringside.

The discovery by Khan and his team could lead to both the International Boxing Federation and the WBA, both of whom have been lobbied to reverse the decision, declaring the fight a no contest. The two sanctioning bodies had agreed to look at the scoring and the referee's role in the decision and render their judgements on 18 and 19 January respectively.

However, this could change and Peterson, who pulled off a fantastic shock against enormous odds, could find himself a victim of the mystery in the coming days as the WBA has promised to take strict and prompt action.

De La Hoya's promotional partner Richard Schaefer said: "We want the verdict overturned and I would like the people involved in the fight to do the right thing."

Rough Justice: Other boxing controversies

Felix Bwalya v Paul Burke

(Commonwealth lightweight title. Lusaka, Zambia, 13 December 1997)

Burke, from Preston, dominated the fight and dropped Bwalya heavily in rounds 10, 11 and 12. In the 12th round the bell saved Bwalya even if it came nearly two minutes early and he was on the floor at the time. Burke celebrated but Bwalya was lifted up, semi-conscious and given a truly unbelievable decision. However, he collapsed and died nine days late from injuries sustained in the fight. "It was scary and crazy at the same time," Burke said.

Lennox Lewis v Evander Holyfield

(Heavyweight unification fight, New York, 13 March 1999)

After 12 often tedious but always gripping rounds a drawn verdict was returned when the judges went three different ways: one for Lewis, one for Holyfield and one a draw. The problem was Eugenia Williams, a veteran of 12 years and accountant, who had given the fifth to Holyfield when it was one of the clearest in Lewis's favour. She later watched the fight on tape and changed her mind. All hell broke out and New York's District Attorney called for an investigation into allegations, which were unfounded, that the promoter, Don King, had paid the judges. The decision stayed and Lewis narrowly won the rematch.

Juan Manuel Marquez v Manny Pacquiao

(WBO welterweight title, Las Vegas, 12 November 2011)

Marquez seemed to have won the fight without any doubt but when it was over two of the three judges went heavily in Pacquiao's favour. The decision for Pacquiao, who seemed a reluctant participant at times, kept the dream of a fight between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather alive; it is a bout that is expected to generate half a billion dollars, with most of that vanishing into the casino's vaults. It was a shameful and sadly predictable outcome to a quite brilliant performance from Marquez.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Dennis speaks to his French teacher
tvThe Boy in the Dress, TV review
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
Sport
sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
News
americasVideo message warns Sean Paul to stay away from Maldives New Year's Eve concert
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect