How low can you go? For Terence Crawford, pretty low as it turns out. After all the talk of Amir Khan’s success against southpaws over the years, Crawford came out orthodox. Regardless of the stance Khan got caught flat-footed, turned at an inopportune moment and got dropped in the first session. Talk about a terrible opener. The Bolton man got hurt right away. The champion picked and poked through rounds two and three as Khan tried his best not to rush in and overextend his lean frame.
Flirting with the southpaw stance finally, Crawford invested heavily in the body over rounds four and five, which would be a precursor to the finish. Khan had occasionally found a home for his nippy right cross, but overall was being pulled apart by the superior WBO king. Then Crawford smashed Khan with a legitimately low blow. Shaking his head and visibly in pain, Khan refused referee David Fields’ offer of a five-minute respite and instead negotiated his way out of the fight. The low blow was egregious and cynical, yet not enough to end a bout indefinitely. Khan’s rejection of a rest and recuperation period meant trainer Virgil Hunter had to climb the ropes and help his man withdraw.
Crawford’s finishing blow was bang out of order, but the consensus opinion was that Khan effectively and uncharacteristically, quit. The crowd booed in the arena, and probably at home as well. All on a pay-per-view platform.
After the fight, Khan denied he had quit, telling the BBC: ”I have a lot left in me. I will always get opportunities.” Amir is now likely to seek a fight with Kell Brook, who has been busy treading water himself of late.
Meanwhile, over in the UK, it was the night of the heavyweights. The fan favourite, David Allen, dramatically disposed of Aussie slugger Lucas Browne by way of a third-round body shot finish. The heavily-tattooed visitor had never managed to replicate his career-best 2016 win over Ruslan Chagaev and was last seen on British shores getting dropped and looking poor against ubiquitous journeyman Kamil Sokolowski. Before that, Dillian Whyte battered him in six rounds.
Allen was a couple of steps down from Whyte but still had enough in the tank to tuck away Browne. Lucas had got off to a reasonable start, bagging the first couple with better boxing, punctuated by some solid uppercuts. Waiting for his opportunity, Allen slipped in a well-placed left hook to the ribs as Browne threw a right hand. Browne was counted out as the “Doncaster De La Hoya” marches on to more significant challenges.
Two-time Dillian Whyte victim Dereck Chisora grabbed a lacklustre win on the same card. Now trained by Dave Coldwell in Rotherham, Chisora started off a little sluggish against flexible Kosovan Senad Gashi. As the rounds progressed, Chisora started to find his range. Gashi reverted to a defensive posture, neglecting any notion of coming forward. Chisora’s main objective was to get the win by any means necessary and keep his name in the mix as a future Oleksandr Usyk opponent, should the Ukrainian get past Carlos Takam on his heavyweight debut, as expected.
Josh Kelly and Joe Cordina continued their respective professional developments with a couple of solid wins. Switch-hitting Kelly put all the usual moves on display as he coasted home on points over 10 against Przemyslaw Runowski. Cordina added the vacant British lightweight title to his Commonwealth crown with a sixth-round stoppage of game domestic operator Andy Townend.
In a tasty Stateside rumble, Danny Garcia pummelled Adrian Granados to a seventh-round stoppage loss. Through smart investments and solid matchmaking Garcia has made a fantastic living off boxing. It helps that he can pack in a crowd and fight a bit too.
Granados is a rugged competitor, not quite good enough to aspire to championship level but good enough to compete with others in that class. Garcia’s honey punch has always been the left hook. Knowing all about that has not made it any easier to defend against for some fighters. “Swift” detonated one in round two that caught Granados flush and eased his path to the canvas. Towards the end of the same round, Danny showed that the right hand is pretty dangerous too. As Granados struggled to gain a foothold, Garcia dropped him for a second time.
Floored again in the fifth, getting tagged repeatedly, Granados was starting to look like a tatty rag doll, withered from years of child’s play. Granados -already with six losses on his slate- would’ve taken blows all night. Compassionate referee Thomas Taylor waved it off in the seventh as the Illinois man shipped repeated punches on the ropes. Garcia’s fan base went into raptures at ringside; the Philadelphian can grab himself a couple more big nights before he calls it quits. Filipino media outlets are already mumbling about a Garcia fight against Manny Pacquiao.