RingTV.com caught up to referee Kenny Bayless to discuss Saturday night’s HBO-televised fourth-round stoppage of former titleholder Amir Khan by Danny Garcia, whose victory added Khan’s WBA junior welterweight belt as well as the division’s RING championship to the WBC crown he already owned.
Bayless waved an end to the fight at 2 minutes, 28 seconds of the fourth, this after asking Khan (26-3, 18 knockouts) if he still could continue.
At the time of the stoppage, Khan had been dropped for the third time in the fight and the second time in the round by Garcia (24-0, 15 KOs) at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas.
RingTV.com: What was your assessment of Khan after the first knockdown?
His legs just were not the same. Although he appeared to do well after the knockdown, I could just tell that he was not all the way there.
RingTV.com: Did that carry over into the next round and the second knockdown?
RingTV.com: Is it fair to say that he may not have fully recovered from the first knockdown?
KB: Well, from the first knockdown to the point where I stopped it, he was really taking some shots. I mean, Danny Garcia could smell blood, and he was going after Amir.
RingTV.com: When you stopped it even after Khan appeared to respond affirmatively to your question of whether or not he was okay to continue, what did you see that prompted you to end the fight anyway?
When Amir finally went down for the last time, that punch he got hit with was a mere cry from the blows that he had been taking in comparison to the first round.
After I gave him the eight-count, and I asked him if he was okay, he just wasn’t showing me enough for me to allow the fight to continue.
RingTV.com: How do you mean?
KB: Well, it was because, first of all, his hands were down. He didn’t raise them up. That was the first thing. And beyond that, he just didn’t show me enough. So at that point, if I was going to allow the fight to continue, I needed to see more.
RingTV.com: By more, what do you mean?
I mean, Danny was coming at him very strongly, and, like I said, he smelled blood. Danny was just hitting him with too many clean and open shots.
RingTV.com: When you look back at this fight, is there a message that you hope that people understand about why the fight was stopped?
The only person that appeared to be sensitive about the stoppage was Amir Khan himself, but no one from his camp complained.
Like I said, no one in the stands booed. Even down to the fight doctor that came into the ring, everybody seemed to think that my stoppage was honorable.
I think that’s because Amir was simply taking too many shots. I mean, I always feel — and I tell people all of the time — that this is the way that boxers make their living.
This is a boxer’s career. In my opinion, Amir’s legs were shot, and his balance was off, and his punches were no longer having any effect on Danny.
So to me, there was no way that Amir had a realistic chance to win the fight any longer. So why allow him to continue to just take unnecessary punches?
When you’re in my position, I’ve got to do the right thing because this is Amir’s profession, and I have to protect him and save him so that he can come back and fight another day.
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org