Sunday 11 December 2016

Boxing: Khan dismisses rematch talk as McCloskey fumes

Bernard O'Neill

Published 18/04/2011 | 05:00

With a cut above Paul McCloskey's left eye, referee Luis Pabon stops the fight in the sixth round.
With a cut above Paul McCloskey's left eye, referee Luis Pabon stops the fight in the sixth round.
Amir Khan

Paul McCloskey's camp are demanding a rematch following his controversial loss to defending WBA World light-welterweight champ Amir Khan at the MEN Arena in Manchester on Saturday night.

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The 12-rounder was stopped in the sixth frame by Puerto Rican referee Luis Pabon on the advice of the ringside doctor after the Derry southpaw suffered a cut over his left eye following an accidental clash of heads.

The collision saw the fight decided by the three ringside judges, and Howard John Foster, Terry O'Connor and David Parris, handed Khan -- who was defending his title for the fourth time -- a unanimous points decision.

The scores read 60-54 on all cards -- meaning Khan won every round -- at the end of an untidy, scrappy affair that failed to sparkle.

McCloskey, speaking directly after the fight, said he was numbed, while his promoter Barry Hearn, describing the stoppage as shameful, didn't pull any punches.

Decent

"The cut is almost non-existent, when you look at it," said Hearn. "Amir Khan is a decent man and he would gain a lot of friends around the world if he did the right thing (grant a rematch).

"From what I saw of that referee he should never be allowed in a boxing ring again. You don't take away people's dreams like that. It was the most staggering decision I've ever seen at any ring at any time anywhere in the world.

"I don't think there's any doubt that there should be a rematch. This was McCloskey's dream chance, the referee and doctor should hang their heads in shame. We will make a complaint and we want a rematch."

"I've been waiting for this fight my whole life and it has been taken away from me by a doctor," said McCloskey.

"My corner were not even given a chance to work on it (the cut). I'm shocked and I am numb. It's ridiculous.

"The way the doctor put it to me, I thought I was badly cut. He told me it was really bad. How did I get the cut? I wouldn't say he did it intentionally, but it was a clash of heads.

"I'm really angry. The plan was to box him for five or six rounds and then step on the gas, and I thought it was going to plan up until that point.

"I thought the referee was going to cite Khan for the head butt, I thought there might be a disqualification.

"They didn't even give our cut man a chance to work on it. My vision was 100pc. I told the doctor it wasn't that bad.

"I came back to the corner and these boys couldn't believe it. Amir was knackered and I was getting stronger."

Khan's camp are unlikely to pay any heed to calls for a rematch, however, despite the eyebrow raising decision to award the Bolton fighter every round, particularly as McCloskey more than held his own in the third.

The Ulsterman, unbeaten in 22 fights going into Saturday's clash, commanded the centre of the ring in that round and found the target with a left to the head. Khan replied with a right, but was still struggling to find his range.

Khan claimed the opening two frames and appeared to hurt McCloskey with a combo near the end of the fifth.

The sixth was going his way also before the fight was stopped 30 seconds from the bell. Khan, who is looking towards a unification fight with WBC/WBO champ Timothy 'Desert Storm' Bradley, this summer, dismissed calls for a return fight.

"There's no point in giving him a rematch. I know if it had of been close, then it might be an issue, but it wasn't, so it doesn't matter," said the champion.

"I caught him with a clean shot in the fifth round and his legs went, so any minute he was going to go," said Khan.

On the undercard, Cavan lightweight Andy Murray stretched his unbeaten run to 24 with a points win over Blackburn's Graeme Higginson and Dublin lightweight Jamie Kavanagh beat Birmingham-born Sid Razak, also on points.

Irish Independent

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