Amir gets history lesson from fighter with a past

On the ropes: Amir Khan struggles against Lamont Peterson
On the ropes: Amir Khan struggles against Lamont Peterson
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AMIR Khan found out in Washington on Saturday what boxers have known since Bob Fitzsimmons first bruised a knuckle in a scrap.

Fight on someone else’s patch and you’ll have to knock them out to get a draw.

Like being awarded a penalty at Anfield in the old days or Greece getting douze-points from Turkey in the Eurovision Song Contest, getting justice in your opponents’ backyard is rare.

And with a back story like Lamont Peterson’s you can forget any favours.

Khan will have known he’d be in for a tough time against a man who suffered Dickensian hardships as a kid.

Abandoned by his drug-dealing father and with a mother who couldn’t cope with he and his 11 siblings, he lived on the streets of Washington with his brother, sleeping in abandoned cars and bus shelters from the age of six. Hungry fighter or what?

Though undoubtedly talented Khan has occasionally got a bit ahead of himself in his confidence.

Like his hero, Naseem Hamed, self-belief has rarely been a problem but over-confidence may in the end be his undoing.

“I’ll have the fight with Lamont, beat him and go on to bigger and better ones with men like Floyd Mayweather,” said Khan before Saturday’s fight.

Khan modelled himself on Sheffield’s former world champion but he should be wary of reproducing the brilliant Naseem’s flaws rather than his towering ability.

On the subject of rough justice football makes more melodramatic mayhem than all the nation’s pantomimes put together.

Spurs were on the wrong end of a couple of bad decisions on Sunday but it would have been almost impossible to get them right as they happened.

A blindingly obvious offside which actually wasn’t and a header off the line that turned out to be an elbow changed the game at Stoke and ended Tottenham’s unbeaten run.

But it took slow-motion video analysis to spot the offences and a referee only gets one, often partially sighted, high-speed view before he makes the decision.

We can’t go referring every penalty area incident to a fifth official sitting in front of a television. Or can we?

How about two referees (one in each half) and four linesmen? Or would that just make things worse?

While ever we have pundits poring over every TV-replayed decision we will have injustice to argue and complain about after games.

We either accept it or do something about it. With the game meaning as much as it does to so many people, we have to do something about it.

Somebody might have to do something about that Robin Van Persie too. Fast becoming the complete player, his winning goal against Everton at the weekend was Bergkamp-esque in its perfection.

His recent goal-a-game performances have lifted Arsenal back up the table.

But unlike the other top sides you can’t see who Arsene Wenger might turn to for an 89th-minute winner if VP were to pick up another in his long series of injuries.

Good to see Martin O’Neill back on the touchline at Sunderland. He hasn’t changed a bit. He still has the weapons-grade intensity and strength of character that had him linked to every top job in Britain in the last 10 years. Now he’s at the club he chose to support as a boy. Good luck to him, we need more like Martin O’Neill.