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  HBO Commentators Up In Arms
Over Khan Point Deductions

By Bret "The Threat" Newton

HBO's Max Kellerman & Harold Lederman kept bringing up the term "Hard Warning" during the Lamont Peterson vs. Amir Khan last night in Washington, DC. They made it clear that they were almost baffled by referee Joe Cooper's choice to deduct two points from Khan in rounds 7 and 12, without a "hard warning". Golden Boy's Oscar DeLaHoya & Eric Gomez also appeared shocked, but Khan is their fighter, so their feelings go without saying.

However, the points were rightly justified. The fact one point was taken in round 7 and another had to be taken in the final round, all with spoken warnings from the referee before and in between, proves more points should have been taken. Khan was clearly not following the rules throughout the entire fight. It was obvious he got in trouble in rounds 3 and 4 and his Plan B was to survive, which included holding, head-locking, holding Peterson's head down and pushing.

When a point is taken from one fighter that's a way of reprimanding him to not continue doing whatever it is he was doing wrong. There are times when a referee will wrongly deduct a point without prior warnings, but in this case, Cooper had given Khan numerous warnings leading up to each point deduction and many in between. In round 6 alone (the round prior to the first deduction), Cooper had told Khan to "stop holding", to "get off [Peterson's] head", and to "stop pushing". Those are three separate illegal tactics for starters. Secondly, Cooper can be clearly heard telling Khan these three warnings over and over, multiple times, throughout the entire fight. Khan was incompliant with those warnings, as well as after the first deduction.

Kellerman & Lederman must not have been able to hear the referee, but if they had and were expecting yet a separate "hard warning", meaning an additional final warning, then they were asking for too much. How many out-loud warnings does it take to receive a deduction? By their rules it doesn't matter how many times you say it, it's when you actually pause the action to tell the fighter "Hey, look, the next time is going to cost you a point". That may work in the kindergarten classroom, but inside the ring between two professional fighters, one should expect they both know the rules, and that both follow instructions. Khan was clearly not following the instructions by the referee because he had to keep repeating to Khan to "NOT" do the illegal tactics he was doing. Had it been only a few spoken warnings then there could be a case for complaint, but the number of warnings in each round alone could very well have issued a point deduction nearly every other round from Khan.

But, when all that's said and done, Cooper did in fact tell Khan "This is your last one", more than once. If that isn't a "hard warning" I don't know what is. Why do Kellerman & Lederman expect the referee to call time, grab Khan's hand like he's a child, and give him a firm warning? What Cooper did was fair, and he even gave Khan many advantages in allowing the dirty tactics to continue without further taking more points than he did. Hell, the second deduction came at the very final round. If that wasn't accommodating, waiting that long to take action after so many issued warnings, then everyone who disagrees was clearly expecting (or hoping for) Khan to get away with it. How much longer was the referee supposed to wait for? Until the REMATCH?

After the fight Khan complained about having to fight two people in the ring, yet he seemed to miss the fact that the first round knockdown which Cooper ruled in his favor was in fact a push down. The two people Khan were fighting was Peterson and himself.


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