WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford believes Amir Khan "took the easy way out" in the sixth round, when the British star was unable to continue because of an accidental low blow.
Crawford, who was making the second defense of his title, had little trouble controlling the fight and winning by a technical knockout against Khan, who was down in the first round and seemed to get wobbled several times in the fight.
Crawford has now won nine of his last 11 fights by stoppage and Saturday’s surprise ending happened after he hit Khan with a hard left to the groin 47 seconds into the sixth round at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Khan buckled and was in obvious pain as he went over to his corner. During the timeout, Khan’s trainer Virgil Hunter asked his boxer if he wanted to continue and Khan said no. Khan could have taken a five-minute break to regain his composure but chose not to.
"I believe he quit, but I can't say what went on in his mind and in his corner. I know him and his coach were having a conversation, at the time before the stoppage was happening, and I was looking over there in disbelief. And they called the fight," Crawford told TMZ.
"I felt like I was coming on stronger and I was touching him to the body, touching him to the head, and I was physically and mentally breaking him down. I honestly feel that Virgil stopped him before anything bad could happen to Amir. Amir knew that and felt that, and he looked for the easy way out.
"I don't know if it ruined his legacy, because he's accomplished a lot of things. But I think it will be something that people talk about for ages."
Three division world champion Crawford improved to 35 wins and no losses.
Khan defended his decision to not continue or take the full five minutes of the time out.
“I am a warrior,” he said. “I would never give up in a fight like this. I was in pain. I could feel it in my stomach. My legs seized. I couldn’t continue. You have to knock me out for me to give up.”