Referee Joe Cooper has come under fire, but the DC commission says he wasn't appointed by them, but rather the IBF. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Lem Satterfield of RingTV.com spoke with DC boxing commission chairman Scottie Irving about some of the controversy stemming from Saturday night's fight. Read the whole interview, because it's important stuff to read, but here are a couple of clipped quotes:
"I said that I wanted them to listen to the referee. I stressed that point a lot. I just think that maybe Khan didn't really pay attention to that point that we were trying to stress at the commission about that.
"I also had a conversation with Khan's trainer, Freddie Roach, about elbows and pushing. It was just a one-on-one conversation between us about that. ... I had that conversation after that workout because I had seen one or two things from Khan during that workout with some elbows from Khan."
Other fighters have expressed a belief that Khan was finally just called on something he does all the time. Paulie Malignaggi, who fought Khan in 2010, had this to say at the press conference:
"I don't have a problem with it. I fought Amir Khan. I think he gets away with pushing you down all the time, pushing you off. So I don't have a problem with it. I thought finally someone did something about it. He knocked out Zab Judah by holding him down with one hand and hitting him to the body with the other hand. So it's just a situation where I think (the ref) did his job."
In other words, did referee Joe Cooper make bad calls, or did he just make calls other referees won't make? Should we go along with the status quo of ignoring certain things that are against the rules, or applaud a referee who takes a stand against the practices?
As for referee Joe Cooper, Irving says it wasn't DC that appointed the Virginia-based official:
"Well, it was an IBF/WBA fight, so they picked the referee. Did they pick a local referee for their air-travel expenses because they evaluated it or assessed it, then that's what they did.
"We didn't pick the referee. They did. They picked the judges. They brought in judges that we have never seen before. So their guys judged the fight and refereed the fight. That wasn't of our doing."
I'm repeating myself here, and I apologize for that, but I truly believe two things:
- The deductions were such that they invite criticism, gnashing of teeth, and controversy, but they weren't totally unfair. If nothing else, Khan should have never put himself into position to get the second point taken.
- The referee was overmatched at this level in certain ways I do agree with that. He was consistently out of position and had trouble keeping up with the pace. This wasn't exactly a Jimmy Lange fight.
One doesn't cancel out the other.
But if the IBF appointed him, that's the IBF's doing, and Team Khan should speak with them rather than the DC commission.