Nobody was more devastated by the manner of Paul McCloskey’s defeat at the hands of World champion Amir Khan on Saturday night than coach John Breen who walked away from the MEN Arena believing he was cheated out of another world champion.
While McCloskey had probably lost every round up to the point of the sixth round stoppage — though the fifth was debatable — Breen believed the decision by referee Luis Pabon denied the challenger the opportunity to show his best work.
“Paul McCloskey hadn’t started to work hard, the second half of the fight was the point when it was going to be his fight and he was denied the chance to win the world title by the doctor.
“The doctor beat Paul, not Khan,” said Breen, whose tactics clearly had the edge on whatever game plan his counterpart Freddie Roach had as Khan missed repeatedly throughout the six rounds.
“Paul made Amir Khan look stupid, where did all the speed go?
“He was exhausted. Paul boxed beautifully. I’m very proud of him.
“In the fourth round Khan was very tired, he wasn’t throwing the punches he normally does.
“We were getting to the stage were Paul was starting to move forward more.
“We knew Paul had to move and stay away for the first four to five rounds.
“I’m convinced that Paul would have taken control of the fight because Khan was frustrated and he was tiring.
“Khan’s meant to be the number one light-welterweight in the world and Paul made him look very amateurish.”
As for the decision to stop the fight on a cut that was stopped by Eamonn Magee within moments, Breen added: “Khan hit Paul with the head, the referee said to him ‘watch your head’ and the cut was nothing.
“It’s a world title fight, you can’t stop a world title fight for that.
“Ricky Hatton had blood streaming down his face against Jonathan Thaxton and he got to the end of the fight, Marvin Hagler had blood streaming into his eyes and he fought on and stopped Thomas Hearns in one of the greatest fights of all time.
“You have to give the corner a chance to work on the cut and they didn’t and you have to ask why?
“Even the English supporters were saying to me it was a disgrace the way it was stopped.”