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Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Amir Khan drops appeal with IBF

By Dan Rafael
ESPN.com

Former junior welterweight titlist Amir Khan, seeking an immediate rematch of his fight with titleholder Lamont Peterson on Dec. 10 in Washington, D.C., withdrew his appeal to IBF Tuesday.

The IBF was set to hear Khan's appeal at a hearing on Wednesday afternoon, but Khan promoter Golden Boy withdrew the request.

"We've been reviewing everything, including the latest paperwork which we received from the IBF, and I sat down with Team Khan and we realized that based on the makeup of that hearing that it would have been a very one-sided story," Golden Boy promoter Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com.

"Since not everyone that was in Washington -- the IBF officials and supervisor -- would have been in attendance there would not have been a complete story told," he said. "You don't go to hear a partial side of the story, so we decided to withdraw the appeal and focus our time on Amir's next fight. We will be meeting with HBO (on Wednesday) and have something to announce soon as it relates to a date and site."

Still, Schaefer said Khan still has a rematch with Peterson at the top of his list if the fight can be made. It just will have to be made without the benefit of a rematch order from the IBF.

Hopefully, we can get a 50-50 deal done. If not, the world goes on and Amir Khan is still one of the most exciting fighters in the world and has a tremendous future in front of him. But agreeing to a 50-50 split shows you how much he wants it.

-- Golden Boy promoter Richard Schaefer

"We are not going to go somewhere where we feel we can't get a fair shake, that's the bottom line. I feel it is impossible to get a fair shake with the IBF," Schaefer said. "What we are saying is enough is enough, let's get the rematch done. But to go to listen to some kangaroo court, what's the point?"

Khan, of England, wants a rematch so badly that Schaefer said Khan authorized him to offer Peterson a 50-50 deal. That's a surprising move since Khan would generate the bulk of the revenue, because of his exclusive contracts with HBO in the United States and Sky Sports in England.

Golden Boy previously offered Peterson at least $1 million for the rematch, but that was turned down. Peterson made a career-high $650,000 for the December fight, while Khan made well in excess of $1 million.

"We hope we can begin the negotiation with Team Peterson right away," Schaefer said. "We want these negotiations to be straightforward and respectful. In that regard, Amir really wants that rematch and would agree to split the worldwide revenue 50-50.

"It would be a much-anticipated rematch and HBO is obviously interested in airing that rematch. We want to make sure it is financially and professionally satisfying to Lamont to get this rematch done."

Schaefer later called Jeff Fried, Peterson's attorney, and said a 50-50 offer would be forthcoming, Fried told ESPN.com. Fried said he would talk to Peterson and Barry Hunter, who is Peterson's trainer, manager and father figure.

"I told Barry that we will be receiving an offer for the rematch and that it would split all worldwide revenue on a 50-50 basis," Fried said. "We both agreed that if that is the direction Lamont takes that Washington, D.C. would be the perfect place for the rematch, with neutral officials."

The WBA, which also sanctioned Peterson-Khan, ordered an immediate rematch on Jan. 12 without a hearing. However, Peterson is not bound to fight Khan again. Even if the WBA stripped Peterson for not facing Khan in a rematch, he would still have the IBF belt and could move forward with some other defense, now that the IBF is not ordering a direct rematch.

Also, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum has named Peterson -- who is a promotional free agent -- as one of the possible opponents to face welterweight titlist Manny Pacquiao in June, meaning Peterson could move up in weight for a title opportunity and that would produce a far bigger payday than he could make to fight Khan again.

Fried said Peterson and Hunter are open to the rematch, but did not want to be forced into it.

"Barry has always said was that all he wanted after the fight was a chance for Lamont to enjoy the holidays with his family, reflect on winning the title and to evaluate what makes the most sense moving forward," Fried said. "We're now at that stage in evaluating what's best for Lamont in the ring. Barry genuinely did not want to be forced to do anything. The rematch may make the most sense, but there's a big difference between being forced to do it and sitting down and working out a reasonable deal."

When they met in Peterson's hometown of Washington, D.C., last month in one of 2011's best and most controversial bouts, Peterson (30-1-1, 15 KOs) won a split decision against Khan (26-2, 18 KOs) to claim two 140-pound belts.

However, Khan had two points deducted for pushing -- an almost unheard-of foul call -- in the seventh and 12th rounds by Washington-area referee Joe Cooper. Without the deductions, Khan would have retained the belts via unanimous decision.

In its appeal letters, Golden Boy pointed out several reasons it believed Khan deserved an immediate rematch. It said that Cooper missed a first-round knockdown for Khan, which he ruled a slip. It also claimed that judge George Hill's scoring of the seventh round was originally 10-10 but changed to read 10-8 in Peterson's favor. Another issue Golden Boy raised was that Cooper, while docking Khan points for pushing, never addressed Peterson's constant leading with his head.

Then there was the much-publicized issue of the so-called ringside "mystery man," who turned out to be Mustafa Ameen. He is affiliated with the IBF and had a credential arranged by the IBF as a courtesy, but was not at the fight in an official capacity. However, he was seen on video at ringside apparently touching the scoring slips, which is against the rules, and distracting a judge. He was later seen in the ring apparently celebrating with the Peterson team after the fight.

"Hopefully, we can get a 50-50 deal done," Schaefer said. "If not, the world goes on and Amir Khan is still one of the most exciting fighters in the world and has a tremendous future in front of him. But agreeing to a 50-50 split shows you how much he wants it."

Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter.