Amir Khan Revisionist History from ESPN UK

James FoleyCorrespondent IApril 21, 2011

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 16:  Amir Khan celebrates after with Oscar de la Hoya after victory over Paul McCloskey in 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

Interesting article a couple of days ago on the British edition of ESPN.COM:

The author, Steve Bunce, is the host of the British version of Pardon the Interruption and a "popular boxing columnist"...I think that's from his Wikipedia page.

His basic thesis seems to be that Paul McCloskey was hanging in there with Amir Khan and deserved to continue fighting and now probably deserves a rematch since the controversial stoppage robbed him of that opportunity. He admits that McCloskey's prospects for a rematch are slim. They are actually less than slim. How about zero percent? Amir Khan himself said so in the post-fight interview.

He makes the point that McCloskey hung tough for six rounds and was never really hurt. Well, that's true. The disparity in size, speed, skills and every imaginable category was  clear.

Khan needed do nothing more than throw flurries and box; it didn't even matter if they connected. It was an amateur fight, because all Khan needed to do was score points. McCloskey never even remotely threatened Khan or showed any capability to do so. He had his chance.

It's tough, but boxing is a cruel sport and opportunities are elusive and brief. We'll most likely never see Paul McCloskey on a world-class stage again, and honestly, that's probably not a bad thing.

I feel far worse for Juan Manuel Lopez, a true champion prior to Saturday, who did come to fight and was stopped seconds after connecting on a punch while still on his feet and seemingly still defending himself. If anyone has a beef, it's JuanMa. And strictly from the television broadcast, McCloskey didn't seem too devastated about the stoppage until minutes after it occurred. But I wasn't there live—and neither were the broadcasters—so we may not have had a great vantage point on that.

The other semi-troubling thing about Bunce's essay is his seeming unawareness of certain news and events. He proposes Timothy Bradley as Amir Khan's next opponent...gee, that's a great idea. Maybe that's why a month ago they reportedly (reported in fact by Bunce's colleague across the pond Dan Rafael and everyone else) agreed in principle to a July 23 meeting to unify the belts. HBO already has the date set aside for that fight. Khan should fight Bradley, eh? Gee, Bunce, ya think?

But apparently either oblivious or disbelieving of the reported Bradley encounter, he also throws out the names of Marcos Maidana, Erik Morales and down-the-road Victor Ortiz in a "grudge clash". How is that a "grudge clash", Steve?

Ortiz and Khan are very friendly. Ortiz sent him a huge, congratulatory shout-out tweet:

"Congrats to my mate Amir Khan :) well done bro :)"

Can you feel the animosity?! The hatred?! What's Amir Khan have to say about his arch-enemy Victor Ortiz?

"Ortiz had a great win over Berto. I spoke to him few months back and knew he could beat him. He's the new welterweight champ. Well done."

Now that is a grudge match.

Bunce closes by becoming the 1000th person to dismiss Manny Pacquiao as a Khan opponent anytime soon. 

The man may indeed be a gifted scribe. He's been covering the fight game for decades. But his work here came up a bit short in my opinion. I completely agree Khan was not sharp and never really damaged McCloskey in the way a bloodthirsty fan (all of us!) might hope for. He also completely dominated the six rounds, and at no point did McCloskey look like he was anywhere close to Khan's level. He didn't violently protest right away when the stoppage was declared.

It is absurd to suggest that he deserves a rematch or had any hope of winning the first fight (and even Bunce admits this), so what is the point on harping over the stoppage? It was merciful, if anything, as I was beginning to fall asleep and might have missed Berto-Ortiz.

This was billed as the "first edition of a weekly boxing column" by Steve Bunce. With insights like these, I'm not sure I'll be tuning in for the second installment. Combined with Dan Rafael's astronomically horrendous scoring of Berto-Ortiz (I don't care how he came up with it, Berto did NOT win that fight), it's been a rough week for the ESPN Boxing crew. Brian Kenny, of course, is still a shining supernova.