Amir Khan rejected Barry Hearn’s angry calls for a rematch against Paul McCloskey after the world title challenger complained bitterly about last night’s controversial cuts stoppage.
Khan, the WBA light welterweight champion, was winning widely in Manchester without looking particularly impressive before an accidental clash of heads in the sixth round left McCloskey with a cut over his left eye.
Referee Luis Pabon called in the doctor to examine the cut — which seemed to be bleeding along the nose rather than into the eye — and on his advice, called a halt to the contest with the outcome decided on the scorecards.
Khan was awarded every round by all three judges but McCloskey’s team were left fuming, claiming their plan had always been for the Ulsterman to win it late in the fight and questioning why they were given no opportunity at all to work on the injury in the corner.
The challenger’s promoter Hearn told Press Association Sport: “The cut is almost non-existent, when you look at it.
“It’s fanciful to think that was a dangerous cut.
“From what I saw of that referee he should never be allowed in a boxing ring again.
“You don’t take away people’s dreams like that and rob the paying public.
“Amir Khan is a decent man and he would gain a lot of friends around the world if he did the right thing (and grant a rematch).
“It’s an embarrassment for us all to be involved in a fight like this where we are so clearly robbing the public.”
Hearn added: “It was the most staggering decision I’ve ever seen at any ring at any time anywhere in the world.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that there should be a rematch.
“McCloskey’s been robbed.”
At a chaotic post-fight press conference Khan’s side rejected the prospect of a rematch, though McCloskey’s co-promoter Eddie Hearn — Barry’s son — claimed the British Boxing Board of Control have promised to open an investigation.
Khan, though, was bullish.
“He didn’t win one round,” he said. “I was hurting him, I wasn’t tired, and I promise you if it had gone two more rounds he would have been knocked out.
“There is no point in a rematch.”
McCloskey stopped short of accusing Khan of dirty tactics — indeed, the champion seemed blameless — but the Ulsterman was clearly unhappy.
“The way the doctor put it to me, I thought I was badly cut,” he said. “He told me it was really bad.”
Asked whether he thought Khan was being careless with his head, McCloskey said: “How did I get the cut? I wouldn’t say he did it intentionally but it was a clash of heads.”