Amir Khan silenced his critics for a short while by stopping Carlos Molina in the tenth round in Los Angeles.
Khan was coming off the back of two straight defeats to Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia so it wasn’t a surprise that he was calling this his “make or break” match. To get his career back on track, he began working with new coach Virgil Hunter and he seems to have done a good job of sorting out his defence and making sure he isn’t so much of a cocky so-and-so.
Aside from his previous over-confidence, Khan’s major problem was his inability to take a good hit to the chin and so it almost proved again early on this morning. In front of his home crowd, Molina caught Khan in the first round and struck late in the second to gain an advantage. Unfortunately for him, a cut opened up above his eye and he never looked like getting back into a fight that Khan was beginning to ease his way into. As the wound worsened, Khan dropped some of his defence and went in for the kill.
Against the referee’s advice, Molina’s team sent his man back out for a tenth go at saving the match but Khan left him with nothing but a bloody face for his troubles. Finally, they agreed to pull Molina, granting Khan the vacant silver WBC Super Lightweight belt.
Having won most, if not all the rounds, Khan slipped back into his old ways after the fight. “I’m ready for Danny Garcia anywhere, any time, any place,” Khan said. “He was lucky. He caught me with a good shot.” A rematch with Garcia is possible, as is moving up to welterweight to fight Sheffield boxer Kell Brook in the future. Such is the draw between two top British fighters (as was evident with the Haye-Chisora bout) that it’s almost an inevitability.
The jury’s still out on whether or not Khan can build on this performance and stick to his new mantra without letting old false assurances gee him up too far. One assured victory won’t necessarily stop the rot.