Khan will not retire on Crawford loss

By Dom Farrell 22 April 2019 4
Khan will not retire on Crawford loss

Amir Khan is not ready to walk away from boxing after Saturday's painful and controversial defeat to WBO welterweight king Terence Crawford.

Former unified light-welterweight champion Khan was a heavy underdog heading into the New York showdown with the pound-for-pound ranked Crawford in New York.

After being sent to the canvas in the first round, Khan was comfortably behind on all three judges' scorecards when the undefeated champion caught him with a low blow.

Despite being given time to recover, following discussions with trainer Virgil Hunter, it was decided Khan could not continue and Crawford was awarded a TKO victory amid boos from the Madison Square Garden crowd.

The 32-year-old emphatically told Crawford he had hit him "in the balls" when his heart was called into question at a post-fight news conference and Khan insists his fighting spirit means he cannot go out on such a disappointing note.

"I don't want to end my career like that," said the 2004 Olympic silver medallist, as quoted by the Independent. "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."

Khan suggested blows such as the decisive one below the belt, ruled accidental, might have been a deliberate ploy from Crawford.

"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," he said.

"I've seen that in fights, plus he has his cup very high."

Khan's professional record now stands at 33 wins and five defeats, with three of the other losses coming by way of devastating knockouts against Breidis Prescott, Danny Garcia and Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez.

The all-or-nothing nature of those losses means the Crawford reverse was not in keeping with Khan's rollercoaster career – one that a number of observers feels might now be out of road.

"It does upset me that people will call me a quitter because I know deep, deep down I've never been a quitter," he said.

"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."

A domestic showdown with British rival Kell Brook, who was at ringside in New York at the weekend, remains an option, although the passage of time and their respective recent setbacks means that fight has lost plenty of the lustre it once had.

The unsatisfactory conclusion against Crawford might also have damaged Khan's long-established lofty standing with the American television networks, but the Bolton fighter has no doubt he remains a box-office draw.

"I will always have opportunities to fight for world titles," he added.

"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 Garcia, people will still want to see me fight people like [Keith] Thurman and [Manny] Pacquiao."

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Dom Farrell