Boxing: Hollow win for Khan in 75-second massacre

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The Independent Online

Two fighters from opposite ends of the boxing business won on Saturday night in two very different fights in front of over 8,000 people at the Nottingham Arena.

In the real feature attraction, the fight that millions watched live on ITV 1, Amir Khan stopped Vitali Martynov after just 75 seconds. In the nominal main event, Young Muttley beat Michael Jennings to win the British welterweight title.

Khan and Muttley have so little in common that it is a mystery that the pair earn a living in the same way. Boxing has always been an odd and unfair sport, but a look at the differences between Khan and Muttley is startling even for such a brutal business.

Khan's fifth professional fight was the first of his brief and entertaining career firmly to cross the boundary between competitive and massacre. His rapid lightweight win over Martynov was truly awful even in a business where mismatches are an essential part of building and padding a boxer's career.

The problem is finding somebody to blame for the disgrace because Martynov, who is from Minsk in Belarus, entered Britain having lost just once in 11 fights.

However, it was painfully obvious that he was hopeless, clueless and, more disturbingly, petrified long before the opening bell, when Khan's punches started to turn his face an ugly red. One right in particular sent Martynov to the canvas in a heap of defeat.

On the four previous occasions that Khan has fought professionally, all of the men in the opposite corner were British and had their pride at stake. All four had spoken about not being embarrassed on television and all of them had gone down fighting.

On Saturday night Martynov was clearly free of similar shackles and fought like a man who knew that he had absolutely no chance and was aware that at any second he would get knocked out and hurt.

Hopefully, one or two people will take a closer look at the selection process for future Khan sacrifices because all that the fans at the venue, where most spectators booed the shambles, and all that the people watching on television ask is for the "designated-loser" to look like a fighter and to go down trying. Martynov failed dismally on both fronts.

Khan is quite correctly seen as the future of British boxing and is already an idol to many. However, under no circumstances can he be let loose on such a raw novice again because nobody - fan, promoter, administrator or fighter - benefited from the slaughter.

If Khan is the "chosen one", so to speak, then Muttley has been the "neglected, the forgotten and the openly-avoided one" during his seven year career.

He was christened Lee Woodley but picked up his wonderful fighting name because his father was known as "Muttley". The 29-year-old arrived in Nottingham with five coach-loads of fans from West Bromwich, his home town.

The title fight was close, gripping to watch at times, and when it was over Jennings had lost his belt on a split decision to the man nobody wants to fight.

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