"My legs kind of seized. I could not continue."
Amir Khan and his bid for another world title ended in controversy as a low blow from his opponent prevented him from being able to continue.
It resulted in boos from the crowd and many have said that he was looking for a way out of the fight.
The 32-year-old made his way towards the ring before coming face-to-face with pound for pound star Terence Crawford at Madison Square Garden, New York.
Crawford, who is known for switching stances throughout, started in the orthodox stance but Khan was the busier fighter. The chants of “USA” did not affect the Bolton-born boxer.
However, moments later Khan was dropped by a right hand and two left hooks. It left him on wobbly legs.
Khan quickly stood back up and shook his head but he knew he had to survive the remainder of the first round.
Khan managed to regain his composure in the second and escaped any danger. He took no risks and stayed out of Crawford’s range.
In the third, Khan showed encouraging signs when he landed a lead left hook and Crawford switched to southpaw to see out the round.
The start of the fourth began to chants of “Amir, Amir” and Khan threw a quick combination.
However, Crawford started to take it up a gear and panicked Khan when he went to attack. Crawford started showing why he is considered one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world.
His punches were incredibly accurate but were not enough to put Khan on the canvas.
Khan was behind on all scorecards going into the sixth when Crawford accidentally landed a left hook into Khan’s groin.
The referee waved the fight off, leaving the crowd clueless as to what happened. Replays earned boos around the arena before it was announced that Khan could not continue.
Crawford was given the TKO win and successfully defended his belt. Many, included British rival Kell Brook, stated that Khan had “quit”.
Following the fight, Khan explained his actions:
“I took a shot below the belt and I could feel it in my stomach and in the legs. I’m normally a warrior – I would never give up in a fight like this.
“My legs kind of seized. I could not continue. I’m not one to give up in any fight, he would have had to knock me out.
“He hit me with a hard shot below the belt.”
Khan’s trainer Virgil Hunter backed him and said:
“He indicated to me that he was hit in the test and it took the life out of him – I have to take his word for it.
“I don’t think he was looking for a way out of the fight.
“He started picking up on Crawford’s rhythm and we don’t know how it would have played out.
“He indicated he was hit with a bad shot.”
However, Khan has since claimed that his corner is to blame for pulling him out of the fight.
Khan was allowed five minutes to recover but the bell sounded after a minute to say the fight was over. He took to Twitter and wrote:
“I have never quit a fight in my life, my understanding was that Virgil asked if the low blow still hurt and I said yes.”
“My intention was to wait it out and continue like always.”
Amir Khan took home £3.9 million for the showdown with Terence Crawford and his overall wealth is estimated to be £23 million.
The loss, however, takes his record to 33 wins and five losses.