Amir Khan Dazzles L.A. with Masterpiece Theater

By David Matthew on December 15, 2012
Amir Khan Dazzles L.A. with Masterpiece Theater
"The speed is there," said Khan. "I picked my shots tonight.” (Tom Casino/Showtime)

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.

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Amir Khan vs Carlos Molina Full Fight TKO 10 Round 15-12-2012 Las Vegas

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  1. raxman 08:32pm, 12/19/2012

    darrell - garcia hasn’t done anywhere near enough to mark him a certainty against someone of rios’ skill. rios just needs to get his head right - which he hasn’t done for a long time. rios is one of those bangers with a good amateur pedigree - it makes him more than just a banger - which is, i’m afraid, all that garcia is.
    garcia was timing khan nicely i’ll give you that. but khan was fighting the wrong fight from the first bell - angel garcia did what he does and had khan totally out of his mind. khan can be a great fighter if he fights to his strengths. more to the point if he fights mindful of his limitations. khan should never throw more than 3 punches unless he’s rocked his opponent. and he must learn how to at least defend on the inside if not fight - i think its no accident that he has picked the trainer of the best inside fighter in the sport. khan’s chin is a worry but he can protect that by staying outside where he can avoid most attacks and those that do hit him he will most likely see. but its the inside attacks where khan is most vulnerable - and the peterson fight proved that khan’s defence against inside fighting is the double handed push to the chest.

  2. Darrell 07:39pm, 12/18/2012

    Khan always looks good…but Garcia was timing him nicely leading up to the big shot.  If you keep the volume up in those HBO commentaries you will tell who they favour….they ignore the work of one of the fighters, which is what they did in Khan vs Garcia.  Till Garcia knocked him on his arse that is.

    Garcia should beat Rios too, far too easy to hit.

  3. raxman 02:55pm, 12/17/2012

    joe - don’t be so sure of that. garcia is still basically untested - and picking opponents like zab judah isn’t about to change that.
    when garcia and khan fought, khan basically had his way until he did his usual crap and was hurt and then stopped. the best part of that fight for me, apart from the ko is that the oz books had garcia at 6-1 and i cleaned up.
    the best part about the rematch is the odds will be the other way and i’ll most likely clean up then too. garcia is a banger pure, no doubt; but if khan can learn to control his ego and protect his chin he can give garcia a boxing lesson. you don’t win an olympic silver medal at 17 without having mad boxing skills - khan needed a roach style coach to build his confidence after BP but he should’ve left roach after peterson where roach was clearly no longer up to cornering a fight - on every level he let khan down.
    roach needed/ needs the manny steward style of working behind the jab, balance and fighting tall. and from the looks and what he’s said he’s found the right guy in virgil hunter
    if khan can change he’ll be a magnificent fighter to follow - he has great hand speed and hits hard to the head (with his straight right) and the body (with his left rip) - add the fact that he is totally vulnerable chin wise and every one of his fights would have you on seats edge

  4. Joe 02:14pm, 12/17/2012

    My man Garcia will knock his ass every time they fight.

  5. raxman 06:37pm, 12/16/2012

    i dont rate garcia. If Khan can overcome his ego and just fight smart i have no doubt, with a trainer that concocts a game plan that plays to khan’s strength (rather than the universal roach style of attack-angles -punches in bunches), that he can take garcia the distance and win on points.
    lets be realistic here who has garcia beat aside from a careless, egomanical weak chinned khan? morales? come on. in the first fight he couldnt even put him away. remember garcia was a replacement fighter for peterson - he was on the fringe before that.
    khan needs to recognises his limitations - against a banger like Garcia he should be sitting on the outside and using the basics - the jab, the 1-2 and 12-LH. staying off the ropes and tying garcia up on the inside. if khan does that garcia would only have a punchers chance.
    garcia vs rios however - he wouldn’t even have that.

  6. NYIrish 06:25am, 12/16/2012

    Celebrate Amir, but don’t be delusional. Stay away from Danny Garcia. He’ll put you on TILT again.

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