JEFF POWELL: King Khan is back on track and showing the world his exciting natural talent… but he will have to wait for title shot
15:16 GMT, 16 December 2012
Next stop the world. So says Amir Khan after laying waste to a neighbourhood of east Los Angeles on Saturday night.
Maybe so, now that he has pulled back from the edge of the fiscal cliff which was threatening his future as much as the financial recession is jeopardising the American economy.
One false step here and he would have plunged into chaos.
Now he says: ‘I will be the champ again soon.’.
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Flush: Amir Khan was on top from the first bell as Carlos Molina found himself overwhelmed
KHAN IN 2013
Amir Khan’s three-fight calendar for 2013 is now shaping up like this:
March/April v Josesito Lopez to fine tune trainer Virgil Hunter’s game plan.
June/July v Danny Garcia in a world light-welterweight title re-match.
November/December v Lamont Peterson in re-match to become undisputed 10 stone champion, given Olympic standard drugs testing.
Maybe so since Danny Garcia, who knocked Khan off his perch with a left hook from hell earlier this year, appears willing to risk the lengthy odds against him landing that sucker punch again in a re-match.
Garcia and his mind-games father, Angel, were still in bullish mood after watching Khan beat Carlos Molina to pulp in the LA Sports Arena.
The Garcias had just seen the Bolton express land enough bolts of lightning to generate a year’s electricity for Molina’s impoverished home district not far from the LA Sports Arena but remained obdurately unimpressed.
‘We’ll fight Khan again and knock him out again,’ they said .’Even though we know that if he had beaten us he would never have given us a re-match.’
Price of success: Khan was reported to have fractured both hands during his victory over Molina
Through the gate: Molina did manage to land on Khan but the Bolton boxer withstood the punches
Sore one: A cut opened around Molina's left eye early in the fight which caused him problems throughout
Maybe not. Khan has battened down his defences and acquired self-restraint in his first camp with new trainer Virgil Hunter.
But he has done so without
sacrificing the blistering hand speed or dynamic intensity which
hallmark one of the most exciting talents in the prize-ring today.
And yes, we are talking here about
Khan, at just turned 26, despite the flaws he is grafting to eradicate
from his game and the detractors who are so quick to pounce on his
There is no more exciting natural
talent in boxing right now, even though Khan will be required to prove
as much against opponents more formidable than prize-fighting’s version
of the Hobbit who came shuffling out of the opposite corner this
Relentless: Khan used his jab effectively to keep Molina at bay and launch his combinations
Sore one: A cut opened beneath Molina's left eye early in the fight
They say punch-bags don’t hit back
but the diminutive Molina proved to be the exception, albeit not often
enough to prevent him losing all ten of the scheduled twelve rounds
before his corner men called a humane halt to the one-side proceedings.
This peon praise for Khan’s
renaissance after two successive but peculiar losses has to be qualified
by Molina’s limitations of size, ability, experience and hitting
Yet they also say that you can do no
more than obliterate whoever is put in front of you. Khan did that in
overwhelming style and Britain should not lose the faith with its most
prominent and courageous ambassador for Anglo-Islam relations.
Molina had been hand-picked as a
stepping-stone towards Khan’s rehabilitation but he still had to be
beaten and the pot-shots he fired in retaliation had to be weathered as
evidence that the chin in a question is not fatally Achillean after all.
Over and out: The fight was stopped when Molina's corner felt he had suffered enough
The new Khan we had been promised
boxed with enough self-control and adherence to a less hazardous game
plan to suggest that our former world light-welterweight champion can
reclaim his place among the elite, and he had two fractured hands to show for his night's work.
Although the world championship he wants back may not come quite as soon as he is predicting.
Khan said; ‘I will fight Garcia again whenever and wherever he wants.’
The feeling is mutual, even if the money is doing much of the talking
when Danny boy says: 'I’m open to a second fight.’
But Garcia is scheduled to defend his
unified title against Zab Judah in February so the re-match with Khan
will have to wait at least until June or July. Khan will plug the gap
with another confidence building bout in March or April, before marrying
his fiance in May.
Suddenly the mists of doubt have cleared and the sun is shining on Khan again.
New era: Khan will hope to fight for a world title next year after his win in Los Angeles
That warmth should help heal the
damage to the right hand, which he feared he had broken in hitting
Molina so often. The pain came as a reminder of his ex-trainer Freddie
Roach’s assertion that Khan has a recurrent problem there.
Not that Molina would have noticed.
So sharp and rapid were the multi-punch combinations with which Khan hit
him repeatedly that as early as the second round Molina’s face looked
as if a saucepan of boiling water had been thrown over it.
/12/16/article-0-16897E64000005DC-805_634x337.jpg” width=”634″ height=”337″ alt=”Looking to the future: Amir Khan and his trainer Virgil Hunter are looking at a world title shot in 2013″ class=”blkBorder” />
Looking to the future: Amir Khan and his trainer Virgil Hunter are looking at a world title shot in 2013
Khan had boxed with smarter attention
to trainer’s orders but for we who delight in watching him it was
reassuring to see that his warrior instincts will never be tamed
He said: ‘I expect to become an even more complete boxer after more fights under Virgil.’
Hunter said: ‘He is on his way again to becoming a truly great boxer.’
Golden Boy promoter Richard Schaefer,
whose belief and investment in Khan had been redeemed, went further: ‘I
have always been convinced that Amir will be the best pound-for-pound
boxer in the world.’
First things first.
Our boy is back. Well, back on track if not all the way back to the top quite yet.
King Khan, as he is called, is
looking like a Prince of the ring again, which is no small achievement
for one who was sliding towards that precipice prior to this Saturday
night in the City of the Angels.
VIDEO: Amir Khan: 'trainer changed me…'
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