By Frank Walsh: Amir Khan’s career hung in the balance as he made his way to trade leather with fellow pugilist Carlos Molina. In truth this was set up as a winnable fight for Khan, against an undefeated fighter with flaws that played to Khan’s strengths.
For his part Molina kept his end of the deal, that was to show up. That was the extent of his offerings. But what did Amir Khan offer?
For his part, Khan displayed his blistering hand speed that is his trademark. Blitzing Molina with combinations from the outset, Molina seemed stunned by Khan’s hand speed. Elements of an improved ring generalship emerged from Khan. More angles with less time on the ropes, and more thought in his work. Knowing when to engage and when to step off, and an improved defence at times.
These changes marked an improvement on flaws that at times, raised their head on occasion during the bout. In the midst of exchanges Khan’s chin remains exposed. Had Molina been armed with heavier artillery, Khan may have paid a heavy price as Molina tagged him with numerous counter left hooks. Molina didn’t have the power to test Khan’s response when hurt.
Despite the heavy criticism Khan receives regarding a “glass chin”, his displays of heart and courage against Garcia and Maidana proved his resolve when hurt is more than adequate. Unfortunately his response is not. Instead of grabbing, holding or anything he can to run down the clock, he instead chooses to stand and exchange when ring smarts should be obeyed. Time will tell if Virgil Hunter can adjust these chinks in Khan’s armour.
What next for Amir Khan?
Whilst his performance was dominant and impressive, Khan’s partnership with Virgil Hunter needs to be tested in the upper echelon of the division against a full blown Light Welterweight. A rematch with Danny Garcia is without a doubt on his radar, that stills seems a couple fights away. Change won’t occur overnight, and the Khan/Hunter combination will need time to grow and gel as a team. Hunter’s behind closed doors camp may benefit Khan more so than the Wildcard gym policy of an open house to the public. Sparring whilst the public surround the ring can turn a sparring session into a full blown tear up.
Technique flies out the window, and as seen in Khan’s sparring sessions from earlier this year, at times a fighter just survives instead of trying new techniques.
Amir Khan’s career has reached dizzying heights and career destroying lows, but above it has provided thrilling entertainment to fight fans whether he wins or loses. This coming year may dictate how long that shall continue.