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WBA Gives Khan Back Belt in Time For Fee; Declares Peterson “In Recess”

by Charles Jay

Amir “Cry Baby” Khan will get what he feels his little heart is entitled to after all prior to Saturday night’s fight against Danny Garcia, which is the right to be called a world champion in the pre-fight introductions and a nice, shiny belt to wear on his way to the ring.

Photo by Gene Blevins/Hogan Photos

The World Boxing Association has made the decision, just in time for the Khan-Garcia bout, to snag the junior welterweight title away from Lamont Peterson and give it back to Khan, based on a positive drug test by Peterson, as well as (we assume) his admission that he had taken the drug in question (synthetic testosterone) prior to meeting an beating Khan back in December.

The official statement on the WBA website reads like this (unedited version):

The World Championships Committee of the World Boxing Association officially announced today its decision to reinstate the British boxer Amir Khan as Super Champion who may be able to unify title with Danny Garcia on Saturday July 14.

This decision was taken after the positive doping result of the American Lamont Peterson, confirmed by the medical experts.

The WBA rules that states that no boxer has tested positively for prohibited substances can be rated retain a title, or be permitted to fight in a sanctioned bout for a period of no less than six (6) months from the date of the positive test has been enforced.

Given the circumstances, Peterson Status is champion in recess and it is subject to revision.

This means that in the rather cumbersome world of the sanctioning bodies, where meaningless title belts are a way of life, Khan once again is elevated to the status of “Super Champion” while Marcos Maidana is the actual “World” champion, having previously been the “Interim” champion. Since Khan scored a decision win over Maidana back in December 2010, maybe the Englishman has the right to call himself the “undisputed, retroactive” WBA champion and could carry a dubious belt over each shoulder.

Seven of the 17 weight divisions recognized by the WBA have both a Super Champion and a World Champion.

And all kidding aside, according to its rules, indeed the WBA was justified for giving the title back to Khan.

Most importantly, the reinstatement of Khan’s championship status allows the WBA to make this a unification fight and get another sanctioning fee, something Richard Schaefer, Oscar De La Hoya and the Golden Boy organization are only too happy to do.

Consider it a “gratuity.”

However, unlike a restaurant, where it is recommended to tip at least 15% for good service, Golden Boy gets away “easy.”

Here’s the “menu” as far as the fee the promoter must pay to have a world championship bout sanctioned, based on what the total purses of the fighters are:

From $500,001 to $1 million = $10,000
From $1,000,001 to $4,000,000 = $15,000
From $4,000,001 to $7,000,000 = $20,000
From $7,000,001 to $10,000,000 = $25,000
From $10,000,001 and up = $30,000

On top of that, there are sanctioning fees the fighters must pay,. In this case, where there is a unification fight, Khan will pay the champion’s percentage of 3% up to a maximum of $150,000.

As for Peterson, the designation as “champion in recess” as per the WBA statement is awkward, and perhaps not even accurate.

According to “Championships, Rule 22” in the official WBA Rules and Regulations:

When a World Champion is unable to defend his title within the prescribed time periods for debilitating medical reasons, legal reasons beyond his control, or any other justifiable reason the inactive champion may be named a Champion in Recess, and the Committee may select official contenders who will fight for an Interim Title under Rules C. 22-24.

Well, the “any other justifiable reason” part of the rule gives the WBA a wide berth, but there certainly isn’t a debilitating medical condition on the part of Peterson, nor are there legal circumstances that are beyond his control. He has been stripped, with the title handed back to the guy he won it from. And there is absolutely no “vacant title” or a procedure as might normally be prescribed by the WBA in this circumstance.

We know what you’re saying. “Whatever.”

And you’re probably right.

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