One of Britain's most highly valued exports, Pakistani-Brit boxer Amir Khan, ended a two-fight losing streak with a decisive win over the undefeated Carlos Molina on December 15 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.
The result was made official when referee Jack Reiss stopped the fight after the tenth round.
Khan cut his opponent above the eye early on and Molina never recovered. Khan was quicker but also more patient than his usual self. By the end, "the King" had remarkably landed 56% of his power shots, handing Molina his first career loss in 19 matches.
Previously criticized for lack of stamina, Khan patiently lasted ten rounds without looking even momentarily flustered. The improved temperament also owes itself to Khan’s new trainer, Virgil Hunter. Despite only working with him for eight weeks, Hunter described Khan as "very coachable" and their training showed off in the boxer's markedly improved approach.
Khan abandoned the recklessness he showed against Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia, instead focusing on striking cleanly and manuevering around the ring. Molina never quite looked aggressive enough, even wasting a fantastic opportunity when he had his opponent against the ropes but allowed Khan to escape.
Ultimately, Amir looked like a champ again, possibly feeding off Danny Garcia’s presence in the audience. This was the biggest match of Molina's career, he's had some issues with weight in the past and lacks Khan's experience with major fights, so this loss shouldn't feel embarrassing at all.
If there's one thing marring this great fight, though, it was an awkward moment of impropriety by a match official. During one mid-round break, the models displaying the card for the next round were seemingly shoved off by one of the officials. It certainly wasn’t a violent push, looking more like the kind of shove used to usher someone off, but it was still awkward. What's even more disturbing is that the commentators simply laughed, jokingly asking if the official was "allowed" to do that.
Hopefully, no one thought it was okay or funny to shove someone aside simply because she was a model (or "card girl," as they are belittlingly referred to). With any luck, this whole event wasn't sexual harassment, but it still wasn't appropriate. Ironically, this happens right after Nicola Adams becomes the first female boxer to take gold at the Olympics; hopefully her gender has nothing to worry about in this sport.
Either way, the fight really was great, except for that one awkward moment that seemingly went under the radar. Khan's career looks to be back on track and he made sure to point out how "lucky" Danny Garcia was when he beat him earlier in the year.
Amir is the kind of boxer that can manage to acquire a major pay fight even after two consecutive losses; that he is now maturing as a fighter should bring sweat to any champion's forehead.