Boxing: What now for Amir Khan after another shocking defeat?
AMIR KHAN must think long and hard about his next move after a shocking and brutal defeat by Danny Garcia even left him facing suggestions he should retire.
Talk of a rematch seemed fanciful after watching the Bolton fighter being destroyed by American Garcia at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
Khan was admittedly the better man in the WBA/WBC light-welterweight unification bout before being sent crashing to the canvas in round three. It all unravelled for him from there as Garcia capitalised by flooring him twice more before referee Kenny Bayless stopped it in the fourth.
Khan therefore suffered his second successive defeat following last December’s loss to Lamont Peterson and lost his WBA belt in the process.
Question marks over Khan’s punch resistance will return and it is doubtful whether it would be a good idea to fight Garcia again after the younger man took him apart so chillingly. Yet Khan’s team claim to want another chance, although Garcia’s firebrand father and trainer Angel rubbished such talk.
“Amir said he will be back and hopefully Danny Garcia will come to England and maybe fight us over there,” said trainer Freddie Roach on Khan’s behalf after the fighter was taken straight to hospital for precautionary scans.
“We were fighting a good fight and all of a sudden, one punch changed it and in boxing you never know. I guess I have to also congratulate Mr (Angel) Garcia.”
The new unified champion seemed open to the idea. He said: “It’s up to my team, but he gave me the opportunity (so) I’ll give him the opportunity.”
However, his outspoken father – who acted the clown at this week’s press conference and directed racial slurs at Khan – cut his son off, saying: “Why give him a rematch? For what? He disrespected Danny when he took him as an opponent. He thought he was a pushover. We’re not giving him a rematch.”
All Khan’s three defeats have come against rank underdogs. A red-hot prospect in 2008, he was blitzed by unfancied Breidis Prescott and, after rebuilding brilliantly, he was beaten by Peterson last year in a poor performance, regardless of the American’s win being tarnished by illegal testosterone use.
He admitted before being taken to hospital that he was guilty of taking his latest opponent lightly. “It wasn’t my night,” he admitted. “After watching the replays a little bit I thought I was coming in with my hands down and Danny took advantage. I respect Danny, he was countering very well against me.”
Khan, now 26-3 with 18 early wins and two stoppage defeats, tore at his opponent from the opening bell before becoming embroiled in a war which he lost spectacularly when he was sent to the floor three times before being stopped.
“We got a little complacent and he took advantage and he caught me,” he said of Garcia’s decisive left hook that sent him down for the first time.
“I was a little surprised the referee stopped it. I thought he was going to let us continue. My mind was clear and I thought my legs were okay, but I respect the referee, the judges and the commission. Maybe they made the right call.”
Khan’s fellow British superstar, Carl Froch, has suggested the Englishman should consider calling it quits despite being just 25 years old. “I would retire if that happened to me,” he told Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek programme. “Why? Because I am not in this sport to get beaten, knocked out or outclassed.”
The IBF super-middleweight champion added: “It’s a personal decision whether or not you retire, but to get stopped in the fourth round and to be previously knocked out, it’s just very, very damaging.”
Khan’s promoter. Richard Schaefer, was certainly not contemplating retirement, however. He said: “He’s a warrior and sometimes his balls are too big for his own good! He is an exciting fighter who every fan wants to see and I know that people want Amir Khan back because of that. Tonight it didn’t go his way, but it was a great fight. He just got caught and one punch changed everything. But for all of us, it doesn’t mean we have to write off Amir Khan. On the contrary, what we saw (last night) is another exciting Amir Khan. Who wouldn’t want to see Amir Khan again?”
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