LAS VEGAS: Britain boxer Amir Khan said he lost focus that cost him the fight against WBC champion Danny Garcia as the American added the WBA light welterweight belt to his collection with a stunning fourth-round upset in a unification title bout.
Garcia scored three knockdowns with the end coming with 32 seconds left in the fourth round when referee Kenny Bayless stopped the bout.
Khan, who suffered just the third loss of his career, had managed to get up from the third-round knockdown and barely finished the round but never fully recovered from that devastating left hook to the side of the head.
“He caught me with a shot,” Khan said. “It was more of a blind shot, but I have always said ‘one punch can change a fight.’”
Khan (26-3, 18 KOs) got knocked down twice more in the fourth round which had turned into a slugfest with both fighters trading heavy shots in the centre of the ring.
The second knockdown came when Garcia’s punch glanced off the top of Khan’s head, leading to an eight count.
“It just wasn’t my night. I made a few mistakes in there. I got caught with the left hook. I watched the replay and I must have gone in there with my hands low a little bit and I paid my price.”
On the other hand, Garcia was a pleased man.
“I have always been overlooked, maybe it is the green eyes and the light skin,” said Garcia. “I look like a pretty boy. But I am a chiller baby and I will fight anybody, anywhere, anyplace.”
Garcia, of Philadelphia, kept his perfect record intact by surviving the first two rounds before using a devastating left hook late in the third round that caught Khan flush on the right ear.
Garcia said he even surprised himself a little bit with the shot that changed the fight but it was one he worked on with his sparring partners during training camp.
“I knew he was coming in so I slipped down and set up my left hook and just fired it. That is the same hook I hit [Erik] Morales with. We practised that in the camp.
“I always knew I had it in me. I feel like the great fighters bring the best out of me and Khan is a great fighter.”
Froch tells Khan to quit
Meanwhile, Khan’s world champion compatriot Carl Froch said the boxer should think about retirement following the defeat.
Froch, the current IBF super-middleweight champion, said he would quit if he was in the same position as the fellow Englishman.
“I would retire if something like that happened to me,” Froch told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek programme. “I am not in this sport to get beaten, knocked out, or outclassed. It’s a personal decision but to get stopped in the fourth round and to be previously knocked out, it’s just very, very damaging.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2012.
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