Before a crowd over 6,000 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, former junior
welterweight titleholder Amir Khan successfully returned to the ring
following his shocking knockout loss this past summer to Danny Garcia,
stopping Carlos Molina on cuts following the tenth round. Golden Boy
Promotions staged a successful day with Oscar De La Hoya giving away
thousands of Christmas presents donated to homes in need and Golden
Boy’s galaxy of stars engaging in a fan fest in between the afternoon
CBS card featuring IBF bantamweight champ Leo Santa Cruz and pro
debuting Olympian Joseph Diaz, Jr and the night’s main.
Khan was working with trainer Virgil Hunter for the first time following
his split with Freddie Roach. The work was evident as Khan didn’t
foolishly rush in with his attack but instead used controlled bursts of
speedy violence to tear Carlos Molina’s face open. Speed kills but it
also cuts and in Molina, a lightweight moving up for this bout with a
history of cutting, Khan’s speed had a perfect target.
Molina is a fighter on the prospect/contender cusp. Tonight he was game
if a bit tentative but he was as brave as you’d want a fighter to be. He
can return to lightweight having learned a lot tonight and continue on.
In the first, Molina tried to stay low and work to the body while
staying inside his guard. Khan was patient. He exploded in small doses,
using his straight shots, keeping center ring and maintaining control.
By round’s end, Molina was already bleeding.
Khan stayed patient in the second. Molina had a few hooks inside in
between speed combination bursts from Khan but it was not enough. Molina
was trying to box with a boxer with superior speed. What he needed to
be was more of a brawler on this night.
Molina had some moments but mostly the third stanza was all Khan. He
dictated the pace, ate a right hand or left to the body here and there
but overall dominated simply by being the first fighter to throw. Molina
too often waited to get his shots in. Perhaps it was all the speed.
Earlier in the day, I spoke with Danny Garcia who told me it took two
rounds to get used to Khan’s unreal speed. Molina adjusted and landed
flush in this fight but never had enough pop to do anything about it.
Molina’s face showing clear signs of damage by the fourth but his body
language remained committed to winning in the fifth. Khan showed no
signs of slowing or damage.
In the fifth, Molina pressured Khan and ate his speed shots in order to
let his left hook go which he id da couple times early on. The length,
height and speed of Khan was too much to overcome, though as moved,
jabbed, let a combo go on Molina and re-set to do it again and again.
In between the eighth and ninth, the ref and ringside physician checked
out Molina’s cut left eye and decided to let him continue.
Curiously, Khan did little to capitalize on the cut except stay his
course of using the jab and engaging in bursts. He stayed away and
flurried in spots but didn’t jackhammer that cut in order to get a
stoppage. Molina was brave and game. Over matched, he kept coming at
Khan, winging shots and coming forward.
After the ninth, once again the ref and ringside doc checked out the cut
to no avail. Veteran cut man Miguel Diaz had it under control and the
fight was allowed to continue.
After the tenth, that was it. The corner stopped it due to cuts and Khan had successfully returned.
It will take time to work in everything Virgil Hunter has added to Khan’s game but the two seem confidently on their way.
In an exciting co-feature, Alfredo Angulo, 22-2, 18 KOs, continued his
recent campaign with a hard earned victory over Jorge Silva, who came to
fight. Angulo seemed a little sluggish early on as Silva danced and
shot off combinations to the head and body. As much as he threw, Angulo
afterward didn’t seem too beat up. He too is working with Virgil Hunter
these days. That stable is full of speedy boxers like Fernando Guerrero,
Andre Ward, Khan and Brandon Gonzalez.
While Silva, 18-3-2, 14 KOs, was game and troublesome with his movement,
hard punches and no quit, crafty attack, it’s what Angulo has been
staring at for two training camps.
The fight itself was at times a chess match and brawl. Angulo would walk
down Silva, get him to the ropes and unload. Silva would return and
many times rocked Angulo with a solid punch that went through the
target. Angulo took it like a champ and trudged forward to deliver his
slower but heavy blows. Helluva fight. The ebb and flow not just through
the fight but the rounds themselves was enough to keep it interesting
all the way down the stretch.
In the end, the judges had the much needed ten round bout 97-93 all in favor of Angulo.
Heavyweight Olympian Deontay Wilder, 26-0 with 26 knockouts, kept his
win/knockout streak alive with a scintillating right hand single punch
knockout of Kelvin Price, 13-1. 6 KOs. Wilder and Price didn’t exactly
get the crowd on its feet until that the third when Wilder, approaching
Price who was standing with his back to the ropes and unloaded a single
right hand that floored Price and put him out for the count. The time
was: 51 of the third.