Mendoza: Khan deserves Peterson rematch

The vice president of the World Boxing Association is in favor of a rematch of the light-welterweight title fight between Amir Khan and Lamont Peterson after Khan raised questions about the legitimacy of the American’s victory.

The WBA is studying images of an unidentified man that Khan has accused of interfering with the judges and leaning over WBA supervisor Michael Welsh during the fight Dec. 10 in Washington. Khan lost his IBF and WBA belts on a split decision after being docked two points for pushing.

”The fact is, there is that `mystery man in the hat’ who is seen sitting ringside and is seen, as well, handling score cards. I’ve been told that he’s seen on tape celebrating with Peterson, all happy that Peterson won,” Khan’s promoter, Richard Schaefer, said Friday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

”I hope that the IBF and the WBA are both going to be ordering immediate rematches. That would be, at the very least – and I want to say `very least’ in capital letters – the right thing to do,” said Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions.

WBA vice president Gilberto Jesus Mendoza said the ”mystery man” is unknown to his organization. Mendoza questioned what the person was doing at ringside.

”We don’t have an idea who this guy is; we can’t identify him,” Mendoza told Sky Sports. ”The guy … told Mr. Welsh that he was an IBF official, but we have consulted several persons at the IBF and they’ve also said they don’t know who this person is.”

Andre Johnson, a spokesman for Peterson, told the AP: ”To us, it’s really a non-issue. Right now, what’s factual is that Lamont is the newly crowned IBF and WBA junior welterweight champion of the world. That’s all that’s significant.”

Asked by the AP for comment, IBF public relations director Jeanette Salazar said the governing body wouldn’t be putting out a statement in order to ”preserve the integrity” of a Jan. 18 hearing into Khan’s appeal of his loss.

”We are not addressing it at all at this point,” Salazar said.

Mendoza is waiting to hear whether the D.C. Boxing and Wrestling Commission knows the man’s identity.

”There were a lot of things that make this fight controversial,” he said.

When asked if there should be a rematch, Mendoza said: ”This will be my personal opinion, but that would be the right decision at the moment.”

The D.C. commission did not respond immediately to requests for comment from the AP.

”There’s the old saying, `Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.’ We’re going to evaluate our legal options,” Schaefer said. ”What could happen – and what should happen – because of all the circumstances, is it should be ruled a no-contest, and the champion should retain his belt. But I’d understand if the sanctioning organizations might be reluctant to do that. So the thing to do might be to order an immediate rematch.”

Said Khan: ”I really think the whole world thinks I deserve this rematch because I know I was treated unfairly.”