Boxing: Khan dream of world dominance in tatters after 54-second defeat

It took two seconds for the first punch high on the head, the second on the cheek and the third on the chin to separate Amir Khan from his senses and ambitions in front of 8,000 open-mouthed fans in Manchester on Saturday night.

Khan's body collapsed heavy and still to the bright canvas after less than 30 seconds of round one in his WBO intercontinental lightweight title fight against Breidis Prescott of Colombia and it looked like the referee would reach 10 without interruption. However, Khan is an old-school fighter and he somehow regained his feet. It was a monumental display of courage from the 21-year-old kid, but then again he has never been short of bravery.

Many will argue that Khan needed rescuing as he teetered unsteadily in front of the referee and tried his best to stay upright. However, the referee, Terry O'Connor, decided to let the fight continue and then the really heavy punches landed and Khan went down again. His head whipped savagely to his left as he dropped for the second time after a left hook connected with an awful thwack.

Amazingly Khan, who was clearly out cold as he fell, managed to scramble up like a man fighting against glue but this time the referee had seen enough. He waved it off as Khan fell into his cornermen and the time of the stoppage was 54 seconds of round one at about 11.16pm on 6 September. It is not a set of numbers that Khan will ever forget or ever be allowed to forget.

The inquest into the shock outcome started long before the doctors had finished looking into Khan's eyes and declaring him fit to pursue his boxing dream at some point in the future. There were many men at ringside, and climbing in and out of the ring, with looks of thunder and total devastation on their faces.

Khan was not supposed to get knocked out by Prescott because that is not what is meant to happen to British boxing prospects on their way to world title glory or failure. It is certainly not the preferred method of Khan's promoter, Frank Warren. Anyway, we thought Prescott was another hand-picked opponent with an unbeaten record of 19, which included 17 stoppages, but almost all of the men he had beaten were sacrificial.

In the minutes and hours after the terrible ending another version of events slowly emerged when it was revealed that Prescott was the choice of Khan's new trainer, Jorge Rubio, who has been with Khan for just two months. Rubio, a Cuban based in Florida, had seen enough of Prescott in Miami's gym to believe that his new fighter would win. Prescott was not Warren's choice of opponent, but the promoter accepted responsibility for what is arguably the most disastrous piece of matchmaking ever to take place in British boxing.

"Rubio's a good coach, but he's a bad matchmaker," said Warren. "The buck stops with me. When he is winning I am the greatest promoter and matchmaker and when he loses I have to take responsibility."

Warren added there were "a lot of things to sort out behind the scenes" and it seems clear one or two members of Team Khan are likely to receive the facts of life from Warren in the next few days. Khan was quick to defend Rubio and also to insist the loss was just a glitch and that his chin was fine. Sadly, it is now time for a new honesty to surround his once-glittering career. I will start by not quoting Warren, Khan and Rubio on the boxer's chances of a world title. His defensive frailties are immense: he has no punch resistance when clipped anywhere above his neck. It has nothing to do with a "glass chin" because Khan's problems extend in all directions from the point of his chin. In old money, he simply can't take a punch.

Now, if indeed there is to be a now for Khan, he will need to find his discarded boxing brain – I have not seen much sign of it since the Athens Olympics – and see if it can help him. "It's all about using my brains now," he admitted on Sunday morning.

I hope it is not too late.

Boy blunders Great British prospects who fell short

*Audley Harrison

Won Commonwealth Games gold in 1998 and Olympic gold in 2000. Signed a million pound deal with the BBC and remained unbeaten, untested and disliked. He lost to Danny Williams in 2005 and was knocked out by Michael Sprott, who had been his sparring partner, last year. Still dreaming and fought on Saturday but was booed from round three of his 10-round points win over a fat Brazilian called George Arias.

*Terry Spinks

He was 18 when he won the Olympic gold in Melbourne in 1956 but he looked about 14. His marriage was reported by Pathe News and he turned pro with tremendous and justifiable ambitions. He did win the British featherweight title after 36 fights, including four losses, but never came close to emulating his Olympic glory ever again. The Kray twins took a shine to him, which was handy for dances on a Saturday night.

*Errol Christie

Britain's greatest ever amateur boxer. He remains the only man to have won all 10 British amateur titles and he also won the European Under-19 title in 1982. He turned professional and stopped or knocked out 12 of his first 13 victims before falling in one to Belgium's Jose Seys in 1984. It was a great, great shock. He fought until 1993 and was beaten seven more times, six by stoppage or knockout. After a brief career in stand-up he now trains City gents in the white-collar boxing industry.

Steve Bunce

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
News
Robyn Lawley
people
News
people
Life and Style
lifeDon't get caught up on climaxing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
people
News
A speech made by the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister urging women not to laugh in public in order to preserve morality has sparked a backlash on social media from women posting defiant selfies of themselves laughing at his remarks.
GALLERYWhy are Turkish women having a chuckle at the government's expense?
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SAP FICO SOLUTION ANALYST

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: SAP FICO SOLUTI...

Data Analyst

£30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable software house is looking ...

SAP PROJECT MANAGER

£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MAN...

Microsoft Dynamics AX Developer

£50000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: A unique and rare opport...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star