Khan-Peterson Controversy: Does “Mystery Man” Wear Any Hat At All With the IBF?
by Charles Jay
At a teleconference shortly after he forwarded fees to the IBF and WBA to file a formal protest on behalf of Amir Khan, the loser in a December 10 fight against Lamont Peterson in Washington, DC, Richard Schaefer, the CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, said some bizarre things about the way the scorecards were handled. Here is a portion of those remarks, excerpted form the actual transcript:
“So the Commission keeps the master score sheet, so does the WBA, and so does the IBF.. Therefore the results would be the same, right, because they all use the same information. Well shockingly it was not, it was different. It was the same for the scorecard of Nelson Vasquez, who had it for Khan, and it was the same for Valerie Dorsett, who had it for Peterson, but somehow George Hill’s card had it a draw. Therefore the WBA showed on their card that the fight was a draw.
…….Now what happened with the IBF card, with the IBF master score card? It was gone after the fight. Funny enough, it disappeared. When I talked to Lindsey Tucker on Monday morning, Lindsey Tucker is the IBF official, I asked him what happened, he said that the IBF supervisor who was there for the fight told him that it disappeared, that it seems to him that the District of Columbia took it while he was in the ring presenting Peterson with the belt.
Then suddenly two days ago, an IBF scorecard appeared. It looks as it was made up after the fact, no question about it or was made about, yeah, two days. The printing was way too neat and consistent, not consistent with what usually a scorecard looks like.”
Later came the introduction of a so-called “mystery man” wearing a hat at ringside, who was, for some reason, talking to Michael Walsh, the WBA supervisor for the fight, with both men looking at something that could very well be the master score sheet Schaefer was referring to.
And so we now had the makings of a controversy-within-a-controversy.
Freddie Roach later identified the man as Mustafa Ameen, who had been credentialed for the fight through the IBF and is involved with the organization in a plan to provide financial assistance for fighters in need.
Barry Hunter, the trainer-manager of Lamont Peterson, has been up in arms over the idea that Ameen may have been acting on behalf of his camp, as has been suggested by Khan backers. He issued a statement on Wednesday that addressed several issues, among them that “Mustafa Ameen is in no way, nor has he ever been associated with anyone within Team Peterson. That includes myself, Lamont and Anthony Peterson.”
It should be added that no real evidence has surfaced that would connect Ameen to Peterson.
Ameen thought that it was highly unusual that Roach, who has seen him on a number of occasions, including in his gym, through his association with Olympic heavyweight prospect Michael Hunter, would finally recognize who he was in the pictures after days of silence.
However, that may be understandable, as Ameen, despite his new-found monicker, doesn’t wear hats all that often. At least that is the impression one would get from visiting his Facebook page, where, out of well over a hundred pictures, he is wearing a baseball cap in a couple of them, but generally appears with his head shaven. The hat he was wearing on the night of the Khan-Peterson fight is nowhere to be found.
Roach has told reporters that he has thrown Ameen out of his gym in the past for “talking to other fighters,” although he adds that Ameen exercised protocol in staying away from HIS fighters.
Ameen bristled at such a suggestion, and has threatened legal action on his Facebook page: “If Mr Roach retracts his recent, false statements I promise to forgive him and not file legal action.”
A relationship exists between Ameen and Hunter (son of former fringe heavyweight contender Mike “The Bounty” Hunter) that is very close, yet somewhat strange, insofar as it involves a boxer who is still in the amateur ranks. Ameen is referred to in some published reports as Hunter’s “business manager,” although the association, as far as Ameen details it, is that of a partnership, in something called “M2 Sports,” listed out of Las Vegas on the Facebook page of Hunter, who identifies himself as the CEO.
There is an M2 Sports Management and Promotions LLC, headquartered in Las Vegas, registered with the Nevada Department of Corporations, though it is in “Default” status and has no specific listing of officers.
Some have looked upon that relationship with a bit of skepticism. A story written in the Las Vegas Review-Journal last September 25 reported that Hunter had left the team “for unspecified reasons” and skipped his last chance to qualify for the Olympics, which was said to be the AIBA World Championships in Azerbaijan.
The author of the piece, Steve Carp, wrote that he had tried to reach Hunter and his mother, as well as Ameen, listed as Hunter’s “business manager,” but those attempts were unsuccessful.
Roach, who is acting as an “advisor” to the U.S. national team, was available, and told the reporter, “(Hunter) stopped showing up to the gym the last couple of days, and I said to the coaches, ‘We need to address this.’ Next thing I know, he’s left the team.”
That raised questions, but there was also inaccuracy there as well; the fact is that Hunter is back in action and ready to compete at the USA Boxing national championships starting February 27. A win there would send Hunter to a final Olympic qualifier in Brazil in May.
There is really nothing, in and of itself, that is improper about an amateur boxer being “in business” as it relates to his athletic career. Without getting too clinical about it, USA Boxing, the governing body for the sport here in the United States, makes provisions for boxers to get “training support” while they are still amateurs, or even certain compensation in the way of sponsorships, and the advent of the World Series of Boxing, a hybrid of amateur and pro boxing that is sanctioned by the AIBA (the governing body for world amateur boxing) have pretty much blown the lid off the whole “simon-pure” concept of amateur boxing.
The IBF just released a statement regarding Ameen, because of the confusion; here are parts of it
“Mr. Mustafa Ameen does outreach work for the IBF’s SARB/Education Fund…….Mr. Ameen’s role with the organization is limited to just this. He is not an employee or an official of the organization, nor does he receive any monetary compensation from the organization for his efforts……..Mr. Ameen was not assigned by the IBF to officiate this bout.”
The IBF arranged for a credential with the local commission so that Ameen could attend the fight and watch it from ringside. There’s nothing incredibly unusual about that.
What’s unusual may be the pictures that show Ameen interacting with Walsh, a WBA official, no less, in such a way to suggest it had something to do with the scorecards.
If he is doing do as an official with the IBF, that is, well, strange. If he is doing so as a “civilian,” that’s a no-no. Inasmuch as the IBF has established his quasi-civilian status, at the very least it deserves an explanation, and Ameen pledges he will do just that at the hearing the IBF has assembled for January 18 regarding the final disposition of the Khan-Peterson matter.
He’s just not letting on exactly what he’ll tell them.
“I never sought publicity for the IBF allowing me to assist fighters who are no longer able to financially take care of themselves,” Ameen states. “I have never sought any compensation, not even for my expenses.”
From a legal standpoint, it may be important for Ameen to establish that fact, because it may otherwise put him into a situation of conflict of interest, at least down the road.
Section 6308 of the Professional Boxing Safety Act states, in part, with regarding to sanctioning organizations:
(c) Sanctioning organizations
(1) Prohibition on receipts
Except as provided in paragraph (2), no officer or employee of a sanctioning organization may receive any compensation, gift, or benefit, directly or indirectly, from a promoter, boxer, or manager.
It is important for the IBF to stake its own ground in this matter as well, because violations could put it in hot water, if anybody wanted to enforce them. Certainly the organization had that in mind with this part of its statement:
“He is not an employee or an official of the organization, nor does he receive any monetary compensation from the organization for his efforts.”
You see, once Hunter made the decision to turn pro, Ameen would find himself in violation IF, and only if, he was an officer or an employee. At that point, one supposes, he’d have to give up being part of the IBF or being the de facto manager of Hunter.
But if he is not an official or an employee, he would be, as some might say, “in the clear.”
But why is he carrying on conversations with officials, particularly those who handle the scorecards, during the fight? This is a question for everybody to address; not just the IBF and WBA, but commissions and the public.
Those scorecards are not supposed to be made public. They are certainly not intended to be inspected by anybody who does not have a regulatory interest in the fight itself. A “layman” is in the position to pass information about scores to one side or the other during the fight, and that has the potential to create an unfair advantage.
So although Khan and Richard Schaefer (CEO of Golden Boy) have withstood some justifiable criticism for being “crybabies,” maybe they aren’t so batshit crazy after all. They may not have any hard evidence of wrongdoing, but perhaps the have some semblance of the appearance of a reasonable suspicion.