Sunday, December 11, 2011

My Night at Khan-Peterson

The wait for the announcement of the scores was excruciating. It felt very long. The crowd was quiet and filled with consternation until they showed Amir Khan and Lamont Peterson a third or fourth time and we all cheered for our man. After Michael Buffer announced the scores, one for Khan, one for Peterson, and the final one 113-112, the crowd- myself included- shouted "And new! And new!" as if willing Buffer to say those words.

When he did, everyone went crazy. I can't remember the last time I literally jumped for joy. People were running around. We were all screaming and pumping our fists. Chants of DC filled the hall. The last time I experienced that kind of collective feeling was five years ago on George Mason's campus when we had just made the Final Four. The Inauguration didn't compare to last night.

Earlier in the night, I walked into the hall, which had a barn-like feel. I found my seat far back and realized quickly, because most seats were flat on the ground, that I couldn't see. So I moved over one section in the hopes that no one would ask my to move. Thankfully, they didn't.

I came at the end of a Joshua Davis decision victory. Both Terron Grant and fan favorite Dusty Harrison won by first round KOs against over-matched opponents. I saw Dusty's father Buddy walking around later.

Fernando Guerrero earned a beautiful KO in a fight that didn't get the crowd going like the others because Guerrero reps Salisbury. I thought Jamie Kavanagh lost 4-2 to Ramesis Gil, though it was ruled a draw. Kavanagh has the hand speed, but didn't have the coordination to use his speed effectively. His defense is also poor; Gil hit him with many wide punches.

Theron Williams Jr. almost stole the show with an outstanding performance in earning a second round TKO. I saw him and his father walk by later. The steam was taken out of the crowd during the Anthony Peterson fight because the boxers didn't enter to music. It didn't help that Peterson faced another DC fighter in Daniel Attah.

The best part of the Seth Mitchell fight was hearing the crowd Ooh and Ah while they were showing the slow-motion replays of Mitchell landing right hand after right hand on the face of a stunned Timur Ibragimov.

I was one section over from the Pakistani fans, who made a lot of noise, mostly with air horns and drums. They were louder per person than the Peterson fans, but drastically outnumbered. The vast majority of the crowd were black people from DC. The fans backed Peterson and booed Khan, but it wasn't until the third round, that the crowd threw itself into Lamont's corner.

A "USA" chant was started earlier, but quickly fizzled. A "DC" chant caught on and that seemed to spark Peterson. It also negatively affected Khan. In the third, the crowd hollered with ever punch Peterson landed. That would be the norm throughout the fight.

I stood during the entire fight because many people in front of me were doing the same. Even when they weren't I stood. Khan lost a point for pushing, and the pushing was noticeable. But he should've been deducted a point for constantly pushing Peterson's head down and putting him in a headlock. Lamont kept coming forward and Khan couldn't deal with the pressure. There were whole rounds that Khan was forced to run from the pressure.

In the twelfth, Khan was deducted another point for pushing (and hitting on the break). It made up for the bullshit knockdown call the ref made in the first. Even when Khan kept putting Peterson in a headlock, the ref would warn Peterson for lowering his head! So, the ref was even, if not fair.

When that second point was taken away from Khan int he final round, I screamed. I knew it would be big. In my mind, I knew it would end up being either 6-6 or 7-5 for Khan. That meant that either man would win by a point.

Peterson did. I am so happy for him. He has been through so much in his life, abandoned by his parents, left homeless to raise his younger brother when he was seven years old. Do you think if Lamont had told someone at that time, "I will be a world champion," anybody would've believed him? It shows that anything is possible. You can achieve your dreams, no matter how unlikely. Lamont Peterson is an inspiration.

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