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Business of Boxing: Golden Boy’s Withdraws Appeal: Is Mayweather-Khan the End Game?

by Charles Jay

Today was the day when the IBF was supposed to hear the appeal from those associated with Amir Khan regarding their protests over the way the December 10 Lamont Peterson fight was handled, along the ruling on whether they would either (a) have the verdict on the fight vacated, or (b) be granted a mandate for an immediate rematch with Peterson.

But it isn’t going to happen that way.

On Tuesday, “Team Khan,” which includes Khan, his management team, and Golden Boy Promotions, which filed the appeals on behalf of Khan, withdrew, which means that Peterson remains the IBF champion, with the option to pretty much do whatever he wishes from this point forward.

The reason which was given in a press release from Golden Boy was that “there was only to be partial representation of fight officials who were involved” in the Peterson fight. That’s cryptic.

People who analyze this rather dubious episode might conclude that this involved a major miscalculation on the part of Golden Boy, and in particular their mercurial head of operations, Richard Schaefer. In a teleconference, during which he announced that the appeals were filed, Schaefer implied all kinds of dirty dealing on the part of the IBF, and later uncovered a “mystery man” named Mustafa Ameen who was muddling the handling of score sheets.

It was speculated right here at Boxing Insider that the IBF would probably not take kindly to such a thing, and they probably didn’t. The idea about “partial representation of fight officials” might mean that the people they were hoping to show up weren’t going to, or that they knew in advance that they were going to lose.

That would have screwed them with Peterson, who has options. As has been mentioned, Top Rank would like to sign this free agent, and they have people available for him to fight. So the leverage Schaefer thought he had in that situation was going to fall by the wayside, thus changing the spirit of the negotiations entirely. This wasn’t the way to play this chess match.

It should be noted that the other reason Golden Boy said it dropped the action was to “focus their full attention on Amir’s next fight.”

And this is where it gets a bit more interesting.

They are posturing as if they hope the next fight is going to be against Peterson. This comes directly from their release:

“Golden Boy Promotions and Team Khan would agree to a 50/50 split of worldwide revenues derived from a rematch (including those derived from the United Kingdom) should Mr. Peterson agree to participate and hope that this will be both financially and professionally satisfying to Mr. Peterson and his team.”

That represents a change in their tune, at least to some extent.

But we shouldn’t be under the impression that Khan doesn’t have options either.

There is a fair amount of speculation as to whether that “next fight” for Khan might be against none other than Floyd Mayweather. This isn’t ridiculous to ponder, since Golden Boy will likely be participating in that Mayweather promotion and has put forth a couple of the possible opponents – Robert Guerrero (who was nixed by HBO) and Canelo Alvarez (who would be a good pay-per-view draw). So far no agreement to fight Alvarez has been reached, although he wouldn’t be a bad style matchup for “Floyd Joy.”

We’re getting to the point where an opponent needs to be announced, for purposes of lead time on the May 5 promotion, but it certainly wouldn’t be outside the realm of possibility that this could be considered by Golden Boy to be proper “justice” for their fighter (vis-a-vis the Peterson situation), since a Mayweather fight is where they wanted to wind up anyway.

So then, imagine a situation where both the WBA AND the IBF were to mandate an “immediate rematch” of Khan-Peterson. The Khan people would look pretty foolish, and maybe even a little disingenuous, to fight that one through all the way to the end when they had started pushing the Mayweather fight.

So perhaps taking the WBA verdict and putting it in their pocket becomes an option, and a fight with Mayweather, as it turns out, becomes the entree before the appetizer.

And maybe Richard Schaefer was seeing a couple of moves ahead after all.

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