Amir Khan Dazzles L.A. with Masterpiece Theater
Khan is back, and he has added a new layer to his tapestry of boxing science which can only serve him well as his resurrection continues…
The questions will certainly remain as to whether Amir Khan’s (27-3, 19 KOs) chin will hold up in the elite fights, but Carlos Molina (17-1, 7 KOs) is not elite, and was severely outclassed as Khan cruised in the fast-lane all night at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, stopping Molina in 10 rounds of brilliant boxing.
Khan—who returned to 140 pounds for this bout—was simply too fast, too rangy, and too skilled for the brave Molina. While Molina was certainly game, he was unable to mount any meaningful offense against the torrential punch output of Khan, who dominated every moment of the fight.
“It’s a 12-round fight, not a one-round fight,” said Khan after the stoppage. “The speed is there, I picked my shots tonight. I’m too brave for my own good, but with Virgil I’m more composed now.”
Indeed he was. Much was made before the fight about Khan’s new trainer, Virgil Hunter, and the changes he’s implemented in Khan’s strategy. Eloquently likening Khan to a leopard in terms of physicality and athletic attributes, Hunter unleashed that leopard spirit in Khan, whose speed was magnificent against Molina.
Khan is one of those rare athletes possessing such dynamic speed that it almost feels like you’re watching a video game as he darts in with blinding rapid-fire assaults. Such speed was on full display Saturday night but it was tempered with a newfound cerebral maturity and disciplined approach that was remarkable to watch. Khan controlled the distance throughout, ensuring ideal punching range for his long, spearing combinations, which found their mark early and often as they systematically busted up Molina’s face until referee Jack Reiss, following the lead of Molina’s corner, stopped the action at the end of 10 rounds.
Round 1 featured an aggressive Khan, who made it clear from the start that he wasn’t going to take a step back. He blasted Molina with piercing jabs, blistering straight right hands, and uppercuts on the inside which opened up a cut early, and it would only get worse.
Khan continued mauling Molina in round 2, but was caught with a decent counter shot that enlivened the anxious crowd waiting to see how the Khan chin would hold up. Khan took it well and continued executing his game plan.
The middle rounds were so one-sided that it was rare to see Molina even throw a punch, let alone land one. Khan continued to fight at his ideal range, blasting Molina on the outside and then turning him beautifully, utilizing all corners of the ring. The few times Molina was able to pin Khan against the ropes, he was unsuccessful as Khan got the better of those exchanges as well. Clearly, the experience of Khan, who has been in absolute wars fighting on the inside against Maidana and Peterson, served him well in this fight as he made easy work of Molina regardless of where the fight was fought.
Round 8 was so one-sided that Molina’s corner seemed as if they were going to stop the fight between rounds—and they probably should have as Khan expanded upon his dominance for another six minutes.
Even when there were openings for Khan to flurry with reckless combinations—he never overstayed any combination—firing off four or five shots and then darting back out of range before Molina knew what hit him. This was a marked improvement from previous fights, where Khan was all too anxious to get into firefights, giving his opponents ample opportunities to counter him. Of course, one such counter by Danny Garcia badly hurt Khan and resulted in the disastrous outcome that he now finds himself digging out of.
Still, there is no retreat in Amir Khan. He wants to avenge his loss, and he wants to avenge it now. “If I was fighting Danny Garcia today, I would’ve knocked him out,” a supremely confident Khan said. “I’m ready for Danny Garcia, anytime, anywhere, anyplace. He was lucky.” Garcia was ringside at this fight and couldn’t help but flash a smile, saying, “I’m number one, baby!” For now, he certainly is—but will that remain the case should a rematch take place? Will Khan be able to implement this more measured approach against elite opposition? If Garcia can pass the litmus test that is Zab Judah, perhaps we shall see. For now, Khan is back, and he has added a new layer to his tapestry of boxing science which can only serve him well as his resurrection continues.