Amir Khan Retains WBA Light-Welterweight Title in Disappointing Fight

Martin SaltCorrespondent IApril 17, 2011

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 16:  Amir Khan hits Paul McCloskey during the WBA Light-Welterweight Championship fight between Amir Khan and Paul McCloskey at MEN Arena on April 16, 2011 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

As was widely predicted, Amir Khan easily overcame the challenge of Paul McCloskey at the Manchester MEN Arena in the United Kingdom with a points victory after a stoppage in the sixth round.

From the first round Khan was hardly troubled, producing a laboured and cautious performance. McCloskey, an awkward southpaw, was able to land several punches but provided little evidence that he had the skill to be fighting at world championship level.

Throughout the fight, the movement and speed of Khan helped keep McCloskey at distance whilst he was able to land punches at will. Khan was unable produce the exciting and flamboyant display that he promised and the fight itself became little more than target practice. 

McCloskey gave it his best shot, backed by his noisy fans, but Khan was clearly on top by the end of the fifth round. Going into the sixth round the pair clashed heads, resulting in a large cut appearing over the eye of McCloskey. Although the cut did not seem serious the ringside doctor was quick to intervene and made a decision to stop the fight. Khan won the fight 60 to 54 on all three of the judges' scorecards.

Chaos erupted in the ring soon after, with McCloskey's camp clearly upset by the decision to end the fight. McCloskey's promoter Barry Hearn angrily confronted the referee and doctor, calling the decision a "complete disgrace." To be fair, the cut did not seem as bad as the many cuts Khan sustained during his previous fight with Marcos Maidana and was highly questionable.

The boos from the crowd echoed for the next 10 minutes with Khan increasingly looking embarrassed at the way the event had descended into complete shambles. McCloskey immediately called for a rematch but Khan quickly announced that he would be moving on. And so he should. This week has been difficult for Khan and has been a PR disaster with his dispute with the television networks in the UK.

The scene is now set for the big unification clash with WBC/WBO light-welterweight champ Timothy Bradley in the summer. On this display, Bradley will be encouraged and fancy his chances. It's likely that Khan won't take him as lightly as it seems he did McCloskey and with any luck Khan will produce a much better performance than the one he failed to produce last night.

On the undercard, Rendall Munroe won the vacant WBA international super-bantamweight title with a unanimous points decision over Andrei Isaeu. The fight was Munroe's comeback after losing to WBC super-bantamweight champion Toshiaki Nishioka in October 2010.