Amir Khan (26-2, 18 KO) went into tonight's bout with Lamont Peterson (30-1-1, 15 KO) as the champion and the heavy favorite, but after 12 rounds of blistering and exciting action, Peterson walked away with a well-deserved and hard-fought split-decision. With the win, he becomes the new WBA and IBF light-welterweight champion in his birthplace of Washington, D.C.
Peterson had to overcome adversity early, and if anyone knows what it's like to overcome the odds, it's him. Khan knocked the 27-year-old down in the very first round, and it was a battle from that point on.
Realizing he couldn't just box his way through the fight—as he had done throughout much of his career—Peterson put a non-stop attack on Khan and punished him to the body and head for the rest of the bout. Khan boxed well, but the relentless pressure of Peterson worked in his favor of the judges' decision.
Controversy will come out of the closely-contested bout, and it will mostly come from referee Joseph Cooper's decision to deduct two points from Khan for pushing. He warned Khan throughout the bout, so it's up for argument of whether or not it was warranted.
In the end, the scores read 114-111 Khan, 113-112 Peterson and 113-112 Peterson. (I had it scored 113-112 for Peterson as well.)
In the post-fight interview, Khan said he heard the referee warn him but that Peterson was coming in with his head. Peterson said he wasn't bothered by the pushing, but he was by Khan holding down on his head.
Overall, it was an instant classic and one that calls for a rematch.