“The guy … told Mr. Welsh that he was an IBF official,” said Mendoza. “But we have consulted several persons at the IBF and they’ve also said they don’t know who this person is.”
Schaefer said he does know the man’s identity, even though he would not reveal it.
“We know who the man is, but we won’t disclose his name until we’ve spoken to our attornies. But we do know that he is involved with the IBF, and that he does some work with the IBF,” said Schaefer.
“We know that the D.C. Commission extended this guy a credential, but that he was not assigned by the IBF in any official capacity. But he was identifying himself in the arena, including to members of our staff, as an official with the IBF.”
IBF public relations director Jeanette Salazar told the Associated Press that the governing body wouldn’t be putting out a statement in order to “preserve the integrity” of the Jan. 18 hearing into Khan’s appeal against his loss. The WBA’s hearing is slated for Jan. 19.
“We are not addressing it at all at this point,” Salazar told the AP.
Scottie Irving, chairman of the Washington, D.C., Boxing and Wrestling Commission, did not return phone calls by RingTV.com, and Mendoza still is waiting to hear from his organization regarding who the man is.
But during an interview with RingTV.com within a few days of the fight, Irving addressed the notion of a scoring descrepancy on one of the official scorecards.
Irving also discussed the five-or-so minutes of time it took for the cards to be delivered to the ring for the verdict to be announced by Michael Buffer, as well as referee Joe Cooper’s fouling calls against Khan.
Peterson edged Khan, 113-112, on the cards of judges George Hill of New Jersey and Valerie Dorsett of North Carolina, and lost,115-110, on that of Nelson Vazquez of Puerto Rico.
Welsh was not an official judge but was instead assigned, according to common practice, by the WBA to score the bout as a backup reference. He scored it a draw.
On Thursday, Khan kicked off the controversy by posting a series of pictures on Twitter showing the mystery man at ringside leaning over Welsh several times, even appearing to pick up a scorecard on at least two occasions.
“From Round 6 all the way through to round 12, this guy starts to interfere with what Michael is doing,” tweeted Khan, indicating that the man’s behavior is “strictly against the rules.”
“This man basically pulled out a chair and sat at the front table. It was rather surprising that he was not asked by the commission or by the IBF, with it being an IBF mandatory fight, to be removed,” said Schaefer.
“What is even further astonishing that he was seen handling the card of the WBC supervisor’s individual per round scorecards. So, it is absolutely shocking that a guy who has nothing to do with the IBF was at ringside handling the individual scorecards.”
Peterson has been offered a career-high $1 million by Schaefer for a rematch with Khan.
“I really think the whole world thinks I deserve this rematch,” Khan told the AP, “because I know I was treated unfairly.”
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org