McCloskey v Khan ‘cut’ short

17 April 2011 – Jonny Stapleton

A cruel and premature stoppage ruined Paul McCloskeys world title winning dream in the MEN Arena last Saturday night.

The farcical nature of the pre fight build up spilt into the bout itself, as referee Lois Pabon literally cut short the WBA light welterweight world title fight after an accidental clash of heads inflicted a cut over Dudeys eye in round six. As a result Amir King Khan continues his reign as WBA champion of the world. The Bolton native eventually winning via a technical unanimous 60-54 points decision, as the Derry stylist was denied the chance to register one of the greatest Irish sporting victories of all time.

Team McCloskey were incensed with the manner of the stoppage and just fell short of suggesting some form of conspiracy was the catalyst behind doctor Phil Sahus decision to advise referee to call a halt to proceedings. The Dungiven man, whose supports volume in both numbers and noise made it seem like he was fighting in his own back yard, felt aggrieved his corner never got a chance to look at the cut, which was nowhere near as bad as the one Marco Antonio Barrera sported for five rounds in the same venue against the same opponent in 2009.

McCloskey was understandably hurt and angry in an extremely volatile and tense post fight press conference. He couldnt understand why the doctor made the unprecedented move of getting into the ring and advising the referee to stop the mega clash just 30 seconds shy of the rounds end.

The John Breen trained stylist also labelled Khan, who struggled to live up to his own billing as a pay per view star, a liar after hearing the Bolton native say the Derry man wanted to quit. The former amateur champ suggested that if the roles would have been reversed and King Khan would have been the victim of a cut he wouldnt have been victim to the same decision. The former undefeated European champion, whose emotional scars were as visible as the stitched up cut over his eye, called for a rematch he knows he won’t get.

It is a Life time of work ruined. I have trained all my life for this one moment. I would have preferred to get knocked out than stopped like this. I am just gutted and shocked. I dont know what to say, he said.

I want a rematch but I dont think there is any chance of that. Everyone knows that he wont want to get in with me again. If like Eddie Hearn suggests the broad of control investigate it and find something wrong maybe, but I wouldnt bank on it, McCloskey said.

I dont know why the doctor was in the ring in the first place. I thought the cut must have been bad. Then when the cut man wiped it there was no blood. There was no blood in my eye at any stage. This is the fight I have trained for all my life and they wouldnt wait 30 seconds and let me get back to the corner.

I am upset with Khan. He is full of hype and hot air. Saying I quit is just a lie. I was behind I admit that, but it was the first time I ever boxed to instructions. I was following the game plan. John told me to make him miss in the early rounds and that was working. After the second round I could see he was tired and we were going to push on in the later rounds. They thought it was going to be an easy fight. Ok I was behind on the score cards but I was making him look silly and amateurish, the Derry man added before stressing he will still pursue fights at the highest level.

I have the tools to be world champion and the dream is still alive. The atmosphere was amazing. It put hairs on the back of my neck that reception and following. That and the sense of injustice will inspire me to go on.

Meanwhile the other Irish interest on the card enjoyed a less dramatic and more successful night. Cavan man Andy Murray served up win number 24 with a 78-74 points win over Graeme Higginson.

Irish Prospect of the Year Jamie Kavanagh, who brought over a substantial Dublin contingent to Manchester, registered victory on his European debut. Khans Wild Card stable mate recorded a shut out 60-54 reverse over journey man Sid Razak.

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