Amir Khan vs Terence Crawford result: Fight ends in controversial sixth round knockout after Khan suffers low blow

The Nebraskan moved to 35-0 but the manner of his victory saw both fighters come under question

Amir Khan v Terence Crawford: Amir Khan protests accusations he quit

Terence Crawford retained his WBO world welterweight title under controversial circumstances as he stopped Amir Khan in the sixth round of their fight via an accidental low blow.

If this was to be Khan’s last outing in a boxing ring, it was an undignified ending for the Brit who has always been guilty of displaying too much heart, yet instead left Madison Square Garden with that very facet being questioned after telling his trainer he was unable to continue following the illegal punch that offered him a way out of the gruelling mismatch.

Those who doubted Khan’s intelligence in taking on the fearsome undefeated American were utterly vindicated - no matter how anti-climactic the finale – as Khan’s attempts to rekindle the devastating speed that took him to the pinnacle of boxing were derailed after all of two minutes as he was turned upside-down by a stiff right hand, and then shattered over the punishing five rounds which followed.

“I could tell I was breaking him down,” Crawford said. “It was just a matter of time. I was disappointed the corner stopped the fight in that manner, but Virgil [Hunter] is a great coach, and he was looking out for his fighter.

“I seen Amir Khan’s face and he was shaking his head and I was disappointed because I knew that he was looking for a way out. It’s not the way that I would have liked to finish the fight.”

Crawford timed the Brit’s frantic blur of hand speed, landed counters to the head and body, chased him along the ropes and left a stumbling Khan to survive the first round only by the graces of the bell.

But Khan did at least call on a degree of his old gusto to respond in a valiant second round, steadying himself to evade Crawford’s heavier punches and even nick the point on one of the judge’s scorecards courtesy of the frequency of his pitter-patter punches.

The glimmer of hope, though, proved to be shortlived. Every time Khan attempted to fizz a flurry of punches, he was met with decisive timing as Crawford anticipated his every move as though played in slow motion. The American switched to southpaw and began to land thudding left-hooks to the body and right hands over the top of Khan’s failing jab that left his face reddened and scuffed.

Crawford floors Khan in the first round

The fourth and fifth rounds took on a metronomic pattern as Crawford stalked, poised to counter and landed spiteful shots that left Khan wincing as he returned to his corner.

The knockout felt imminent, a looming reality that had heads already half reeling away in expectancy. Yet, it was as Khan lunged in and Crawford landed a fierce left-hook counter, clearly below the belt line, that the fight came to a premature, prideless, but ultimately a less cruel end.

The off-script stoppage stirred a controversy that served to overshadow a brutal pattern and inevitable ending and in truth came as somewhat of a blessing for Khan, even if many will accuse him of taking the easy way out.

The referee waves off the contest

After being given time to recover by the referee, Khan told his trainer Virgil Hunter that he no longer wanted to continue. The crowd in New York were split, sympathising in oohs as the low blow replayed on the big screen hanging above the ring, before then breaking into jeers at Khan’s underwhelming withdrawal.

“First of all I want to apologise to all of the fans,” Khan said afterwards. “The fight was just getting interesting. Terence is a great fighter, you know I’m not taking anything away from him. I now realise why he’s one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.

“I’m a good boxer but he was showcasing great skill, great movement. I was caught with a shot right below the belt and I could feel it. I was in pain.”

And so for one of British boxing’s most-decorated champions - an Olympic silver medalist in Athens all those years ago, the world titles, heroic performances, shocking losses and harrowing knockouts which have all followed – it was an end that brought embarrassment but also a shade of relief. Many will say he quit, others will claim he escaped. But perhaps, after such dizzying highs and unforgiving lows, this is to be the final day we ever saw Amir Khan in a boxing ring.

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