'What a debacle': Crawford retains title in bizarre fashion

It was hardly a surprise that Terence Crawford knocked out Amir Khan in their WBO welterweight title fight Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York.

What was surprising was the way it occurred.

Crawford was dominating Khan, dropping him in the first round and pummeling him throughout. But early in the sixth, Crawford hit Khan with a very low blow. After a delay, Khan told his trainer, Virgil Hunter, he could not continue, and referee David Fields stopped it.

It was ruled a TKO at 47 seconds of the sixth round for Crawford, who is now 35-0 and did nothing to diminish his argument that he is boxing’s best pound-for-pound fighter.

Khan couldn’t continue after Crawford caught him with a low blow. Pic: Getty

Crawford concentrated his attack to the head out of a right-handed stance early. In the fourth, he switched to southpaw, as he is wont to do, and began to tear Khan’ body apart.

Khan was billed as Crawford’s toughest opponent, but he didn’t do anything to make the bout memorable.

Viewers were furious about the sudden end to the fight, with many accusing Khan of throwing in the towel because he knew he couldn’t win.

There was not much controversy about the ending, though the night was not without it. Crawford promoter Bob Arum put Al Haymon of the Premier Boxing Champions on blast.

Crawford, who took Jeff Horn’s belt after outclassing the Aussie in their 2018 title fight, said afterwards that he wanted to fight IBF champion Errol Spence Jr.

That fight would be a bout between two men regarded as the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport.

Arum let Haymon have it only seconds after the fight.

“Listen, we want to fight Errol Spence,” Arum said. “Terence wants it. I think Errol wants the fight. There’s one guy that’s stopping it. That’s Al Haymon. Every boxing fan should refuse to patronize Haymons’ fights until he agrees that Spence fights Crawford.”

That kind of tactic is unlikely to work, though the public pressure could do it. If the public demands it and demands it next, it could happen.

Crawford was dominating Khan before the sudden stoppage. Pic: Getty

It would be a far more competitive and memorable fight than what the public got against Khan, who was nowhere near in Crawford’s class.

He went down hard with a crunching right in the first and was saved from a first-round finish by the bell. There were no other knockdowns, but Crawford was in command and seemed on the verge of finishing him at the time of the low blow.

Hunter asked Fields to stop the fight after consulting with Khan.

“It took the legs from him, so what else can you do?” Hunter said. “I asked him if he could continue and he said no.”

Kevin Iole – Yahoo Sports combat columnist