Disqualification or TKO?

SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson - The Philippine Star

In a bizarre ending, former Manny Pacquiao sparmate Amir Khan surrendered after taking a low blow from defending WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford at 0:47 of the sixth round in Madison Square Garden, New York City, last Saturday. Khan claimed he was incapacitated and couldn’t continue.

Under boxing rules, a fighter is given five minutes to recover from an accidental low blow. If he or she is unable to continue, the referee rules a win by technical knockout. If the foul blow is called deliberate, the referee may rule a disqualification. Maybe, Khan quit, thinking he would win by disqualification. But referee David Shields knew better than to raise Khan’s arm. Crawford’s punch below the belt was clearly accidental — there was no reason for him to intentionally resort to a foul blow because Khan was nowhere close to being competitive.

A replay of the low blow showed it landed high on Khan’s right thigh. Khan insisted he was hit in the groin, specifically his crown jewels. He should take a biology class to learn his groin is nowhere near his upper thigh. Khan didn’t seem badly hurt. In fact, he never went down after taking the shot. Khan grimaced and winced in what seemed like a comical acting job. He had five minutes to recover but within 60 seconds, his trainer Virgil Hunter raised the white flag.

Khan said he didn’t quit but just couldn’t go on because of the pain. He took an eight-count in the first round and at the time of the stoppage, was behind on the three judges’ scorecards, 50-44, 49-45, 49-45. It looked like Khan avoided a humiliating one-sided defeat by conceding.

Khan has been known more for his glass jaw than his heart. In 2008, he was knocked out in a single round by Breidis Prescott in Manchester. In 2012, he was floored once in the third round and twice in the fourth before capitulating to Danny Garcia. In 2016, he was knocked out cold by Canelo Alvarez. Khan probably figured he would end up on his back if he soldiered on against Crawford so when there was a convenient excuse to back out, he surrendered. Although Khan said he’ll continue fighting, what’s the point? Khan earned over $5 million for disgracing himself against Crawford — he should be banned from boxing ever again.

Veteran international referee Bruce McTavish said it wasn’t a ploy by Khan to win by disqualification. “It was an accidental low blow,” said McTavish. “He had five minutes to recover or he loses by TKO. Hunter actually stopped the fight.”

Another veteran international referee Silvestre Abainza said if the referee ruled the low blow was intentional, Crawford could’ve lost by disqualification. “That’s the referee’s discretion,” explained Abainza. “It was ruled accidental so Khan was given five minutes to recover. Since Khan couldn’t continue, he was declared the loser by TKO.”

Abainza said it was a different situation when Filipino Bernabe Concepcion was disqualified in his fight against WBO featherweight champion Steve Luevano in Las Vegas in 2009. Concepcion couldn’t stop his momentum and struck Luevano after the bell sounded to end the seventh round. Luevano went down and stayed down on his trainer’s advice. Because he couldn’t or wouldn’t continue, referee Jay Nady declared Luevano the winner by disqualification. Concepcion’s punch wasn’t deliberate but since it came after the bell and Luevano couldn’t continue, Nady ruled a disqualification.

“It’s natural for a boxer to go 1-2-3 with a follow-up,” said Abainza in Pilipino. “Concepcion hit Luevano after the bell. I think Luevano could’ve gotten up but his trainer told him to stay down. They didn’t want to risk continuing to fight Concepcion and possibly losing.” At that point, Concepcion was ahead on one of the three judges’ scorecards in a close contest. Concepcion was on top 67-66 which was Luevano’s score on the two other tallysheets.

Abainza said a punch landed after the bell is of a different nature from an accidental low blow. “Concepcion’s team should’ve protested because it looked like Luevano could’ve continued but just stayed down,” he said. “The WBO could’ve ordered an immediate rematch if a protest was filed and upheld.” As it turned out, Concepcion bounced back to win a fight in Las Vegas and faced new WBO featherweight titlist Juan Manuel Lopez in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 2010. Concepcion and Lopez were both decked in the first round then Concepcion was floored twice in the second and lost by knockout. Concepcion returned to San Juan in 2012 and was stopped by Mikey Garcia in the seventh. Concepcion, 31, hasn’t fought since losing a split 12-round decision to countryman Jimmy Paypa in Pasig three years ago but is considering to make a ring comeback.

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