Pakistani-Brit boxer Amir Khan broke his losing streak and defeated previously unbeaten Carlos Molina this past weekend. In the process, Khan forced Molinaâ€™s corner to stop the bout after 10 rounds, blood streaming from near their fighterâ€™s left eye. Molina was fighting in front of his hometown Los Angeles fans.
Khan (27-3, 19 knockouts) gained a measure of redemption after firing famed trainer Freddie Roach after two consecutive losses. He had replaced him with Virgil Hunter and trained in Hunterâ€™s native San Francisco Bay Area.
Hunter instilled an increased reliance on Khanâ€™s boxing skill, with an additional emphasis on defensive withdrawals when necessary as well as speedy punches. It was a strategy that worked, as Khan out-punched Molina 312-87, and won all 10 rounds on each of the three judgesâ€™ scorecards.
â€œI stuck to my game plan and that meant I stuck to my jab,â€ Khan said. â€œIâ€™m getting better at boxing, being a complete fighter.â€ Punch statistics showed he landed 156 jabs to Molinaâ€™s 19, and Khan relied on that punch to continually frustrate Molina (17-1-1) in the junior-welterweight bout. â€œI wanted to pull the trigger, but for some reason I couldnâ€™t let my hands go,â€ Molina said. â€œHe was fast with his jab. I was hesitant because of his long reach.â€
Khan entered the arena desperate for a win. On the heels of consecutive losses â€” a controversial split-decision to hometown fighter Lamont Peterson in Washington, D.C., last December, and a stunning fourth-round technical knockout defeat against Danny Garcia in July â€” he was eager to adhere to a strategy of avoiding unwise engagement, retreating from trouble and hitting with quick combinations.
Khanâ€™s performance leaves him positioned for a rematch with Garcia, although he might fight again before that, perhaps against Riversideâ€™s Josesito Lopez in April at Staples Center. â€œIâ€™m my own biggest critic, I looked at the things I did wrong in my losses,â€ Khan said. There were rumors after the fight that Khan had broken his hand during the bout, but Khan dispelled all such rumors as false.