Amir Khan: Former world champion vows to fight again because ‘I don’t want to end my career like that’

Saturday night’s confusing defeat against Terence Crawford has seen Khan labelled a ‘quitter’ and will ensure he steps into the ring at least one more time in order to restore his reputation

Declan Taylor
New York
Monday 22 April 2019 07:11
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Amir Khan v Terence Crawford: Amir Khan protests accusations he quit

Amir Khan insists he will fight again because he does not want a career defined by bravery to end with accusations of being a quitter.

The 32-year-old had been dropped and outboxed by the dazzling Terence Crawford at Madison Square Garden before the WBO welterweight champion caught Khan with a low blow in the sixth round.

There is some confusion as to what happened next with some accusing Khan of deciding against carrying on but others insisting it was his trainer, Virgil Hunter, who made the final call.

Either way, Khan was quickly labelled a quitter, a dark word in the boxing trade, and even Crawford described him as such in their post-fight press conference.

“You quit from a shot to the leg,” said the world champion from Nebraska.

But, in the early hours of Easter Sunday, in a quiet corner of MSG away from all the cameras, Khan declared that he will continue to fight.

"I don't want to end my career like that,” said Khan, who is now 33-5. “I definitely don't.

“I'm one of those fighters, I'd rather get knocked out. I couldn't think straight when I was hit with a shot like that.

"I'd been hit with a blow, but this one f***** me up.”

This was the fourth inside-distance defeat of Khan's career but the previous three all came via brutal, crushing knockouts, most recently against Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez, who laid him out cold with a clinical right hand in the sixth round of their 2016 Las Vegas showdown.

Khan was stopped in the sixth round in bizarre circumstances (Getty)

That night Khan jumped up two weight divisions to face the Mexican idol in an example of the 2004 Olympic silver medallist being perhaps too brave for his own good.

It is why the conclusion of Saturday's fight was puzzling and seemingly at odds with what Khan has come to represent.

When asked whether he is upset by people now calling him a quitter, he said: "Yeah, it does upset me that people will call me a quitter because I know deep, deep down I've never been a quitter.

“I just have to sit back, watch the video and think about what I'm going to do.

“I still have a love for the sport. I was up against one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. I want to come home and then decide what I do next.

“But definitely, man, you'll definitely see me again.”

It has been suggested that the nature of the ending will damage his reputation in America so badly that the former unified light-welterweight champion will no longer get the high-profile opportunities that have defined his career so far.

Khan has vowed to fight again so he doesn't end his career with the Crawford defeat

But he said: “I will always have world title fights. I will always have opportunities to fight for world titles, so yeah, I think that will always be there.

"One thing about America, I'll always get opportunities here because I train here and there are many fights out there for me. There are rematches with [Danny] Garcia, people will still want to see me fight people like [Keith] Thurman and [Manny] Pacquiao.

“Apart from the one knock-down, I thought I was in the fight. It wasn't really a brutal fight. I didn't take that much punishment.

The was confusion about who stopped the fight (Reuters)

"There were other low blows in the fight. I don't know if it was a strategy. I remember telling the referee before the fight in the changing rooms that he is going to throw low blows. I've seen that in fights, plus he has his cup very high.

"But look, at the end of the day, it's made me realise that normally I am the main man, the main attraction, this time I wasn't and sometimes things then work against you."

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