16th April 2011

Khan retains his WBA lightwelterweight title
Amir Khan retained his WBA light-welterweight title against Paul McCloskey when in controversial circumstances the fight was stopped in the 6th round when an accidental clash of heads caused a cut above McCloskey’s left eye.

Under the rules of the governing body, if a cut is caused by an accident, after 4 rounds have been completed, the fight goes to the judges score cards and with Khan being ahead at that poin,  he took the verdict.

The Manchester arena was packed to the rafters and the atmosphere was fever pitch by the time the ring walks began. McCloskeys fans had arrived in there thousands to support there mans big title shot and he was intent on not disappointing them.

The clash of styles of the two boxers proved an interesting mix, although the fight did transcend into some untidy moments and both of them were guilty of missing the target a lot, but they were in front of each other and always willing to engage and figure out the sparse openings.

But it was the champion who was picking up the points and arguably won the first half of the fight up until the cut and stoppage. It wasn’t a vintage performance from Khan, but McCloskey is an awkward elusive operator, fighting out of a southpaw stance and at times was able to make his opponent miss the target, in fact you get the impression it would be hard to hit McCloskey with a box of confetti!

Khan did land some big shots though during the contest and the challenger sucked em up and kept coming, proving that his strong chin was up to the job when his whiskers were tested. Khan’s speed of punch was the key to controlling the fight.

The only real time in the fight that McCloskey looked hurt by Khans shots was in the 5th round when a straight right hand, left hook crashed off the challengers chin and stiffened his legs. McCloskey recovered his senses instantly to see out the remaining seconds of the round.

In the 6th and final session of the fight is when all the controversy began, both fighters heads accidentally came together, both pulled away in pain, but it was McCloskey who had come off worse and suffered a vertical cut to his left eyebrow.

McCloskey after the fight with c

In boxing cuts happen as part and parcel of the sport and part of why we call it the hurt game, and in the words of Ricky Hatton, who was commentating at ringside and who in the same arena over the years fighting there, almost had sections of his eyebrows falling off! ‘It isn’t a tickling contest.’

Hatton had one of the best cuts men in the game in his corner in Mick Williamson, who was able to go about his craft on many occasions in the one minute rest periods to work his magic and help Hatton come through fights that were on a knife edge.

Now don’t get me wrong our sport isn’t savagery, but cuts just go with the make-up of the game, and fighters employ the service of a cuts man, to use his expertise in the heat and intensity of a fight – to in between rounds try and stem the blood using various techniques.

If the wound is gaping and open and blood is running into the boxers eye, then the referee has no choice but to stop the fight and most experienced fight officials would know a bad cut when they saw it.

Referee Luis Pabon summoned the doctor into the ring! who then studied the wound before advising the official to call a halt to proceedings immediately. Which not only throws into doubt Pabons ability to make an executive decision, but also – was the doctor an experienced fight doctor? – one who would likely hold on his CV a stronger injury threshold limit than he would have in his everyday surgery perhaps!

I thought at the time it was strange that the doctor actually climbed through the ropes to examine the cut as appose to climbing on the ring apron as they usually do? The round was nearly over and although a bad cut, McCloskey’s cut man should have the chance to try and stem the blood and patch up the gash until it was beyond repair.

Paul Smith continued with this cut to retain his British title

‘Definition of a boxingcut man’ (or cutman) is the second who deals with cuts sustained by a boxer during a bout. His job is to stop any bleeding from the face or nose and also to reduce swelling around the eyes by applying cold pressure. The tools of a cut man’s trade are Vaseline (or some other acceptable lubricant) used to help keep facial skin elastic to avoid cuts. 

This method should be used judiciously, however, because if too much gets on the opponent’s gloves, it could get in the eyes of the cutman’s fighter. Another tool is called an “endswell.” It is a flat piece of steel, rounded at the edges, which is either kept on ice or filled with ice to keep it cold. Direct pressure with an endswell helps the cut man treat swelling which is commonly known as a “mouse.”

Several chemicals are used on cotton-tipped swabs to coagulate the blood and stop bleeding; epinephrine and avitine are used in conjunction with each other. Epinephrine is applied with a swab after a cool towel has cleaned the wound and slowed the bleeding. After the bleeding is controlled, the cut is filled with Avitine, a powder that forms a sort of instant scab.

Adrenaline hydrochloride is used to stop nosebleeds by being inserted into the nostril/s on a cotton-tipped swab and pinching the nose shut on it, thus saturating the area with the medicine. All these things are considered basic first aid; for anything more serious, a ring doctor should be consulted.’ – courtesy of www.boxrec.com

This is a bad cut and worthy of stopping a fight

It happens to the Best! – A bad cut on Roy Jones Jnr’s Eyelid

The Ulsterman should have been given every chance in the biggest night of his life, in a world title fight! – McCloskeys promoter Barry Hearn was livid afterwards and was pouncing around the ring furious at the decision to stop his mans challenge on  what was merely in fight terms ‘not that bad a cut’..

‘That was a disgraceful call,’ fumed Hearn. ‘That was Paul’s dream. Of course it is a cut, but I have seen them 20 times worse, so I’ve no idea why it was stopped. It was shaping up to be a great fight and I can’t understand the decision.

‘If you accept it was an accidental clash of heads, which I do, then the fight should have continued. This is very hard to take. The referee is in charge, the sole arbiter, and he must understand he has discredited boxing. You get cut in boxing and that was not a serious one.

‘We will make a complaint to British Boxing Board of Control. There’s no way this fight should have been stopped. It’s not to say that Amir Khan would have gone on to win the fight? We’ll never know. We were robbed by ineptitude, by very sloppy refereeing.

‘If the doctor said it should be stopped then he shouldn’t be allowed to be a doctor at fights. This is a hard, physical game.’ – Hearn added.

McCloskey’s cut wasn’t a good one by any means and would certainly have got worse as the fight went on. But how many fights can we remember when a cut eye and a referees warning of – ‘Il give you one more round’ spur a fighter onto produce a last hooray and turn things around.

McCloskey, who afterwards said he was numb and wanted a rematch, believing he deserves that chance after the controversial ending and believes that he was ready to come into the fight and that Khan was getting tired.

“I’m Numb,” said McCloskey after the fight. “I’m angry and I want a rematch.” he added.

“Amir was completely knackered after the second round, we knew he had trouble making the weight.

“The plan was to box him for five or six rounds and then step on the gas and it was going to plan at that stage.

“Ive been away from my family for nine weeks training for this fight, this is what I do in my life and it has been taken away from me by a doctor and a referee, who for whatever reason thought this cut was too bad to go on with.

“They never even gave my cuts man a chance to work on it. There was no blood going in my eye so my vision was 100%.” added a devastated McCloskey.


Khan was winning the fight and was in control of things, he had shaken McCloskey in the penultimate round and in my opinion was on his way to a late stoppage or points win over the distance. But this is boxing and you never know and nobody in the game likes an ending to a fight like this, its like  a football team playing their heart out in the FA cup final and losing on penalties. In a world title fight, it is equally the same anti climax for a boxer.

This is by no means has any bearing on Khan! His own performance, although not polished and he was guilty of smothering his best work on occasions. The champion was missing with four punch combinations at times – lacking timing maybe – but probably due more to the fact that the Irishman was so tricky.

But Khan, with a big fight against Timothy Bradley in the summer already set and his hopes of challenging pound for pound king Floyd Mayweather Jnr. next year, he was finding a way to win, even though he was having an off night, and all champions have to do that along the way in there reign.

And Khan believes even if the fight was have to continue, he was on his way to his fourth successful defence of his belt. “I was peppering McCloskey and it was easy,’ he said after the fight .

“The decision was between the doctor and referee, not me. If the fight had carried on, McCloskey would’ve got badly hurt and no one wants to see that.” Khan added.

For McCloskey it was heartbreak though, he had been giving it his best shot and making the fight very interesting and at the halfway stage things were hotting up and looked like turning into a very good fight. A dramatic out-come? – we will never know –  Unless a rematch can be made for McCloskey? 

That though is highly unlikely anytime soon, but if McCloskey the European belt holder, comes back and wins a couple more fights and bides his time, then this is a fight that the boxing public will call for and Khan will be forced to put the case to bed and face McCloskey again.

Judges scorecards after 6 rounds: Howard Foster 60-54 – Terry O’Connor 60-54 – judge: Dave Parris 60-54


By Chris Maylett

undercard results will follow
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